“We strongly reject the Statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia dated April 23, 2023, on the measures taken by Azerbaijan to establish a border checkpoint at the starting point of the Lachin-Khankandi road on the Azerbaijan-Armenia border,” said Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs as it commented on the statement of Armenian Foreign Ministry dated April 23 on the establishment of the border checkpoint by Azerbaijan at the starting point of the Lachin-Khankendi road.
“The statement of the Foreign Ministry of Armenia is another attempt to intervene in the internal affairs of Azerbaijan and is unacceptable. Besides not contributing to peace and stability in the region, such statements by the Armenian side, interfering in the internal affairs of Azerbaijan, lead to increase of tension.
The legitimate decision and step by Azerbaijan to establish a border checkpoint in its sovereign territory is in line with all principles and norms of international law. It is known that as a result of the meetings in Prague and Sochi, to which the Armenian side often refers, Armenia declared its recognition of sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. Deriving from this, Armenia must accept and respect the right of Azerbaijan to ensure control over the entry to and exit from its territory.
The establishment of this checkpoint is a legitimate and national security decision adopted in the situation when following the 44-day Patriotic War of 2020 and contrary to the provisions of the Trilateral Statement, the Armenian side still continues military provocations against Azerbaijan, the road is used for illegal activities, transportation of weapons, ammunition and landmines, as well as the rotation of Armenia’s servicemen. At the same time, on April 22, the transfer of two military-purpose container houses and convoy of military vehicles of Armenia to the territory of Azerbaijan and the activities of Armenia to build a military infrastructure at the nearest point to the territory of Azerbaijan at the starting point of the Lachin-Khankandi road, were the factors that led to moving forward with this decision.
Regarding the unfounded claim that Azerbaijan violated the obligations under the Trilateral Statement, we would like to remind the Armenian side that the Armenian leadership, at the highest level, confirmed that this country was not given any function by the Trilateral Statement on the regulation of the traffic on the Lachin road. Against this background, it is illogical and contrary to the stated position that the Foreign Ministry of Armenia, as a party to the Trilateral Statement, calls the step taken by Azerbaijan unacceptable. According to the Trilateral Statement, Azerbaijan has the obligation to guarantee the security of the movement of citizens, vehicles and cargo through the Lachin-Khankandi road. This obligation also includes the prevention of misuse of the Lachin road. Also, the establishment of a border checkpoint at the starting point of the road does not create changes in the traffic regime on the road.
Ensuring the border security, which is beyond the scope of the Trilateral Statement, is a prerogative of the Government of Azerbaijan, and a necessary condition for national security, state sovereignty, and the rule of law.
The absurd claim that the establishment of the border checkpoint is aimed at “ethnic cleansing” is unfounded and unacceptable. We reiterate that there are appropriate conditions for transparent, safe and orderly passage of local Armenian residents of the Karabakh region of the Republic of Azerbaijan in both directions.
This statement by the Foreign Ministry of Armenia, which has boycotted the peace talks, testifies to its intention to use this event as a pretext to undermine efforts to resume negotiations.
We recommend the Armenian side to abandon such provocations, to take a responsible approach to the efforts establishing relations with Azerbaijan on the basis of the principles such as territorial integrity and sovereignty of both countries, and to take a constructive position instead of hindering peace negotiations under various pretexts. At the same time, we call on Armenia to put an end to its attempts to make the international community an instrument for its smear campaign, as well as to distort the well-known decision of the International Court of Justice for this purpose,” the ministry added.