Another step towards peaceful coexistence of Armenians and Azerbaijanis in Karabakh - humanitarian aid via Aghdam

31.08.23 16:09

The main task of the revanchists and "Artsakh" separatists today is to prove to the whole world that Armenians and Azerbaijanis cannot physically live side by side in one state, and even more so that Armenians cannot live in Azerbaijan. That this is a blatant lie is clear to all reasonable people. Including many Armenians. For example, the well-known Yerevan blogger Roman Baghdasaryan reminded his fellow Armenians that Karabakh Armenians lived in Azerbaijan until 1988, when they were seduced by "miacum":

"We lived like this with the Azerbaijanis until 1988! And now Bako Sahakyan, Arkady Ghukasyan have made people like this. We sit around all day waiting for money to be sent to us, for the diaspora to give us a handout".
Until 1988, Armenians living in Khankendi (then Stepanakert) and its environs were quietly supplied by road through Aghdam, and the railway also passed through Aghdam at that time. All this will be restored. And the first steps towards restoring normalcy have already begun.

The first consignments of humanitarian aid organised by the Azerbaijan Red Crescent Society went through Aghdam to Khankendi. As expected, the vehicles were immediately blocked by Artsakh separatists and extremists. In their view, the "starving" Armenians of Karabakh should only receive food via the Lachin road.
Representatives of the Azerbaijani Red Crescent began negotiations with the Russian peacekeeping contingent to transfer some 40 tonnes of flour to the Karabakh Armenians through its mediation. The plan was to transfer the flour from Red Crescent trucks to trucks from Khankendi at the temporary contact point.

However, the extremists began blocking the Russian peacekeepers' vehicles on the Aghdam road from Khankendi in order to prevent such a transfer. At the same time, Ruben Vardanyan, a Russian billionaire of Armenian descent, spoke enthusiastically about the Karabakh extremists' blocking of humanitarian aid from the direction of Aghdam. Apparently, he himself is not starving and looks quite well fed, but he is ready to starve the hostage-takers for the sake of his political ambitions.

In addition to blocking the humanitarian aid from the Aghdam side, the "Artsakh" extremists expected a real "storm" of the Azerbaijani checkpoint on the Lachin road from the Armenian side, where the "humanitarian aid" was supposed to personally accompany the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, with a crowd of French regional politicians. But here the separatists and revanchists were disappointed.

On 30 August 2023, Anne Hidalgo did not "break the border", but simply "did her duty" by escorting the humanitarian aid convoy, quickly turned around and went to Goris, where she held a press conference with other French people. At the press conference, everything became clear to the reasonable people, which led to an indignant post by Armenian nationalist Hayk Ayvazyan:

Today in Goris, during the press conference of the delegation of representatives of the French regions, led by the Mayor of Paris, an interesting incident took place.
During the press conference, a British journalist asked the members of the French delegation a question that put them in a rather awkward position.
Because of the poor sound, I was unable to understand the British journalist's question. But as I understood it, his point was that of all the EU countries, France plays the most active role on Nagorno-Karabakh and why the head of EU diplomacy, Josep Borrell, and the EU are not as active as France.
The leader of the "Republicans" group in the French National Assembly, Bruno Retaillot, answered this question first. He said that the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, should not have signed a gas agreement with Baku.
After this answer, I immediately had a question. How can France influence the EU so that its cooperation with Azerbaijan does not untie the hands of the same Azerbaijan, so that it does not put Nagorno-Karabakh in mortal danger?
Xavier Bertrand, President of the Hauts-de-France Regional Council, answered this question. He said: "The EU and other partners are needed to implement France's initiatives. "WE CANNOT ACT WITHOUT THE EU.
The French representative even acknowledged that official France cannot act without the approval of the EU. And Azerbaijan is a strategically important partner for the EU, which means that official France cannot disagree with it.
Here we remember the statement of the French Foreign Ministry in December 2022, when it stated that the resolution of the French Parliament on sanctions against Azerbaijan does not reflect the official position of Paris.
Therefore, we can conclude that official France is not only not against the EU gas agreements with Azerbaijan, but is very interested in them.
In this case, what should we call today's French talk show in Kornidzor? HYPOCRISY OR AN ATTEMPT TO HIDE THE POLITICAL IMPOTENCE OF OFFICIAL FRANCE?

Even Armenian nationalists should not insult France. We are not talking about "impotence", but simple pragmatism. Today, the EU is objectively interested in energy from the Caspian Sea basin, which can only reach Europe via Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey. That is why French politicians can demonstratively accompany "humanitarian convoys", but they do not want to go against the EU's economic interests. France itself would probably like to receive gas from Azerbaijan in the same way as Italy, for example.

Azerbaijan's current goal is to ensure the integration of Karabakh's population into its economic system. Humanitarian aid through Agdam is only the first step. It will certainly be followed by the first shipments of goods, and then the supply of utilities. It is abnormal that so far the gas to Khankendi comes from Armenia and not from Azerbaijan. Therefore, sooner or later, gas will be supplied to the Armenian-populated areas of Karabakh through the unified gas distribution network of Azerbaijan. The next step will almost certainly be the supply of electricity. Azerbaijan will gradually take over the life-support system of the Karabakh Armenians. And of course, if Karabakh Armenians want to live on Azerbaijani territory, they will have to obtain Azerbaijani citizenship, which they have every right to do.

The integration of Karabakh Armenians into Azerbaijan is irreversible, Farhad Mammadov, director of the Baku-based South Caucasus Research Centre, said in a recent interview:

"Azerbaijan understands the current situation, and there were even agreements, and the authorities offered the possibility of using the Lachin road for two years - there were even verbal agreements in this regard. But all these agreements have been violated by the Armenian side. In the last two and a half years, the Armenian foreign minister, defence minister and labour minister have visited this region. Therefore, the Azerbaijani side is left only with the human factor. If Karabakh Armenians do not want to go to Azerbaijani doctors, they can be treated in Armenia - we understand that. On the other hand, all other activities of a socio-economic nature should be transferred to the infrastructure of Azerbaijan. It is shorter, it is cheaper and it is the only option that is possible on the territory of our country.
Anyone who is there can leave, but only Karabakh Armenians can enter. We have enough data to prove this. As for the Armenian citizens... Why, can Azerbaijani citizens simply enter the territory of Armenia? Of course not, that's why Armenian citizens cannot cross the Lachin road for no reason. Karabakh Armenians should also understand that within a year and a half it will be impossible to leave and enter the territory of Azerbaijan without obtaining Azerbaijani citizenship".

Undoubtedly, after decades of separatism and war, it will be difficult to restore the good neighbourly relations that existed between Karabakh Armenians and Azerbaijanis before 1988. But Azerbaijan is ready to make efforts in this direction and to take steps towards reconciliation. Karabakh Armenians should also take steps towards reconciliation, or at least not obstruct these gestures of goodwill on the part of Azerbaijan.

Grigol Giorgadze

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