Azerbaijan has never set itself the goal of forcing the Armenian population of Karabakh to leave. The goal was to suppress separatism and eliminate the illegal separatist regime, which, in essence, held this entire population hostage. Now new opportunities are opening up for them, Ambassador Elchin Amirbayov, Representative of the President of Azerbaijan on Special Assignments, said in an interview with BBC News radio, Report informs.
As an example, Amirbayov cited recent events when Baku sent flour and other products to Karabakh, and it was this military junta that refused to accept them solely for political reasons.
“So now that earlier today, this separatist regime has officially announced its self-dissolution and that there is no longer this fake state entity called “Nagorno Karabakh Republic,” I think that now the people of the Armenian population of the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan will have a completely different future. They can integrate with the Azerbaijani society. They can improve their living conditions. They have a chance of enjoying all the rights and security provided by us,” he noted.
“In this regard, the current departure of Armenian residents of the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan is their personal, voluntary and individual decision. It has nothing to do with forced relocation or with the desire of Azerbaijan to force them to leave,” he added.
“I think that they do have a choice and that’s what I was trying to say. Because if you look at what the Azerbaijani authorities have been doing in the last 4-5 days without any interruption to deliver all sorts of humanitarian assistance, essential staples, medicaments, ambulances, fire fighting vehicles. We have already established electricity 24 hours a day. In a couple of days, gas will be delivered. Also, I think it is important to emphasize that this afternoon the Azerbaijani Foreign Affairs Ministry called Armenians not to leave their places of residence and to remain in Azerbaijan and to be part of multi-ethnic Azerbaijan. This is a very important element of public messaging in order to reassure them. It is true that while we do all those steps it is very hard for us to prevent them from leaving. Because if we tried to do that, we would be accused of holding them hostage. If we would encourage them to leave, of course, the Armenian side will immediately engage in the rhetoric of ethnic cleansing. That’s why we step back. We are trying to do our best in order to reassure them not with words but rather with actions. Also, they [Karabakh Armenians] keep the right to get back to Azerbaijan if they wish so in the future. Because since it was their own decision to leave, they can still change their mind and return.”