The precedent set for clearing Azerbaijani villages in Gazakh district - for the first time without 'mediators' and 'peacekeepers'

23.04.24 8:00

For the first time in the history of the countries of the South Caucasus, there is a precedent for the de-occupation of territories and the return to internationally recognized borders without war and even without mediators and "peacekeepers.". We are talking about the de-occupation of 4 non-annexed villages in the Gazakh district, previously occupied by Armenia.


On April 19, the eighth meeting of the State Commission on the Demarcation of the State Border between Azerbaijan and Armenia and the Commission on the Demarcation of the State Border and Border Security between the Republic of Armenia (RA) and the Republic of Azerbaijan (AR) was held at the conditional border under the chairmanship of the Azerbaijani and Armenian Deputy Prime Ministers Shahin Mustafayev and Mher Grigoryan.


During the meeting, the parties provisionally agreed on the passage of certain sections of the border line directly between the settlements of Baganis (RA) and Baganis Ayrym (AR), Voskepar (RA), and Ashagi Askipara (AR) at the initial stage of the delimitation process, Voskepar (RA) and Ashagi Askipara (AR), Kirants (RA) and Kheyrymli (AR), and Berkaber (RA) and Gizilgadzhili (AR), to bring them into line with the legally established inter-republican border that existed within the Soviet Union at the time of its dissolution.


The parties decided that the description of these segments of the borderline will be worked out taking into account the specification of coordinates based on geodetic measurements on the ground, which will be formalized by an appropriate protocol description, which should be agreed and signed by the parties by 15 May 2024.


It has become known that Russian border guards will leave the Tavush region of the Republic of Armenia after the delimitation and demarcation of the borders with Azerbaijan. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan officially announced this.


"Russian bases appeared there because of the situation. What is happening now is a significant change in the situation, and it should have repercussions in all directions. It means that we don't have a front line, we have a border. The border serves as a sign of peace," Pashinyan explained.


Nikol Pashinyan added that the Armenian and Azerbaijani border guards will be able to protect the border independently and in cooperation with each other.


Meanwhile, when the tripartite agreement on the results of the 44-day war was being prepared, there was a proposal to station Russian peacekeepers in the villages of the Armenian-occupied region of Nagorno-Karabakh, as well as in Karabakh, so that the de-occupation could be carried out under their control. However, in the final version of the trilateral agreement, it was decided not to complicate the situation and to leave its settlement for the time when the Karabakh issue would be resolved. And now it has recently become known that Russian peacekeepers are leaving the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan ahead of schedule. And it is very symbolic that immediately after that, the clearing of villages in the Gazakh region began without any peacekeepers.


What do the agreements of April 19, 2024, between the parties mean today?


Without firing a single shot, the non-annexed villages of the Nagorno-Karabakh region, which had been under Armenian occupation for more than 30 years, were returned to Azerbaijani control.


Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev initiated the important issue of the return of Azerbaijani border villages in 2020. Since then, active work has been carried out in this direction. Today, this large-scale process, which reflects the national interests of Azerbaijan, has reached its logical conclusion.


This step was the beginning of the process of border demarcation, and the first steps were taken precisely in the Gazakh region. Azerbaijan insisted on starting the demarcation process from this very section, stressing its strategic importance.


-The European Union, the United States and a number of Western countries tried to influence the delimitation process, but Azerbaijan managed to prevent their interference. As a result, Azerbaijan and Armenia found a common language and proved that they are capable of solving problems independently. Therefore, the less the so-called Western "peacemakers" interfere in the Azerbaijani-Armenian dialogue, the sooner peace and prosperity will come to the South Caucasus.


The propaganda spread by France and several other Western countries that Azerbaijan is allegedly preparing to attack Armenia has been definitively refuted. Azerbaijan is against a new war; it is in favor of a peaceful settlement of territorial issues based on international law.


In fact, after the beginning of the de-occupation of the villages in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, the Western countries had to switch to a more constructive rhetoric. The EU's special representative for the South Caucasus, Toivo Klaar, issued a statement saying that European countries supported the delimitation work of Azerbaijan and Armenia. The US also welcomed the Azerbaijani-Armenian delimitation decision, with the US State Department noting that it was an important step towards lasting peace in the South Caucasus.


At the same time, pro-Kremlin revanchists, who are the main initiators of "protest actions" against the return to Azerbaijan of occupied villages near the border in the north-east of the Republic of Armenia, have become very active. And these actions are supported by some of the Armenian propagandists in the Russian Federation.


Obviously, the peace agreement between Azerbaijan and Armenia on the beginning of border demarcation and the fact that it was reached without "mediators" and "peacekeepers" does not please everyone. Some people want to stir up a geopolitical confrontation in the South Caucasus over the issue of the border in the Nagorno-Karabakh region.



Grigol Giorgadze

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