In his video-format speech at the UN General Assembly session on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the establishment of the United Nations, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev made a number of manipulative and false statements about Armenia and the Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) conflict.
However, before referring to Aliyev’s statements, it should be noted that some of them are regularly used by the Azerbaijani authorities and contain the main provisions through which official Baku is trying to present the Artsakh conflict to the international community.
One such provision is the four resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council in 1993 during the active hostilities in Karabakh, the content of which is regularly manipulated. This time, during his speech at the General Assembly meeting, Ilham Aliyev noted that the four resolutions of the Security Council demand “immediate, complete, and unconditional withdrawal of the Armenian armed forces from Azerbaijan’s occupied territories.”
It should be noted that there is no mention of the Armenian Armed Forces in those four resolutions.
As we have already mentioned, the UN Security Council resolutions were adopted during the phase of active hostilities in Karabakh in 1993, and were generally aimed at the cessation of hostilities in the conflict zone and the establishment of a ceasefire. Resolution 822 states that the Security Council is concerned about the “invasion of the Kelbadjar district of the Republic of Azerbaijan by local Armenian forces.” There is no word in the resolution about the RA Armed Forces. Instead, “responsibility” is laid on “local Armenian forces.”
The picture becomes clearer in other UN resolutions. Thus, for instance, already in Resolution 853, the UN Security Council “urges the Government of the Republic of Armenia to continue to exert its influence to achieve compliance by the Armenians of the Nagorny-Karabakh region of the Azerbaijani Republic with its Resolution 822 and the present resolution, and the acceptance by this party of the proposals of the Minsk Group of the OSCE.” In other words, the Security Council is not referring to the RA Armed Forces, but only to the influence of the Armenian government on the people of Artsakh.
The same is true for the other two resolutions. Resolution 874 speaks about “withdrawal of forces from recently occupied territories and the removal of all obstacles to communications and transportation” again without referring to Armenia. Resolution 884 calls on the Government of Armenia “to use its influence to achieve compliance by the Armenians of the Nagorny Karabakh region of the Azerbaijani Republic with resolutions 822 (1993), 853 (1993) and 874 (1993), and to ensure that the forces involved are not provided with the means to extend their military campaign further.”
The captured officer
In his speech, Ilham Aliyev also referred to the hostilities that took place in the bordering Tavush Province of Armenia in July of this year, and to the Armenian officer Gurgen Alaverdyan, who was captured on August 22. According to Aliyev, Alaverdyan allegedly was the head of the sabotage group. “The sabotage group attempted to penetrate through the Line of Contact. The head of this group was detained by Azerbaijani military servicemen on 23 August 2020. He confessed that the group was planning to commit terror acts against Azerbaijani military servicemen and civilians.”
As regards this statement, it should be noted in the first place that the Armenian side has denied the allegations of the Azerbaijani side that Gurgen Alaverdyan was a saboteur. According to the statement of the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Armenia, Gurgen Alaverdyan appeared on the Azerbaijani side as a result of getting confused and lost due to very unfavorable weather conditions.
A few days later, the Azerbaijanis released a video in which Gurgen Alaverdyan allegedly confesses that he penetrated Azerbaijan to carry out sabotage actions. However, one can clearly see in the video that the Armenian officer reads his words from the text, keeping his eyes on the lines, without the appropriate accentuation. But even in that case, the statement of the President of Azerbaijan does not correspond to the text read by Alaverdyan, as the latter does not say a word about terrorist acts.
The Armenian militia
In his speech, the President of Azerbaijan shows some knowledge of the events in Armenia, for example, that the issue of creating a civilian militia is being discussed in Armenia.
“The Armenian Prime Minister announced the establishment of civilian militia consisting of tens of thousands of civilians who will be forced to undertake military actions against Azerbaijan,” Ilham Aliyev said.
To begin with, we should note that the Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan did not announce the creation of a civilian militia. The Ministry of Defense was the first to announce about holding public discussions on the issue of creating a civilian militia. The issue is currently in the stage of public discussion.
As for the claim that “civilians will be forced to undertake military actions against Azerbaijan”, it is an entirely false statement, since membership in the militia will be exclusively on a voluntary basis,” Deputy Defense Minister Gabriel Balayan said. According to the draft submitted by the Ministry of Defense, the militia is a system of voluntary participation of citizens in the armed defense of Armenia in the conditions of an armed attack on Armenia, in the presence of its imminent danger or military operations. In other words, there is no question of mandatory or forced participation.
Pashinyan’s seven conditions
Referring to the negotiation process on the Artsakh conflict, Aliyev said in his speech that the Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan puts groundless conditions to the negotiation process. “His unacceptable so-called seven conditions to Azerbaijan have been rejected by us,” Aliyev said.
One can only make guesses on what conditions Aliyev meant. Perhaps he means the position of Armenia presented by Nikol Pashinyan after the July hostilities, which he formulated in seven points. It is difficult to consider these points as a condition for starting, resuming or continuing the negotiation process. Some of them, for example, the first point, “…the general security system of Armenia and of Artsakh should be further strengthened…”, generally refers only to Armenia or Artsakh and are not addressed to Azerbaijan or the mediators.
In his speech, Ilham Aliyev made other manipulative and false statements about, for example, the glorification of Garegin Nzhdeh, an alleged fascist figure in Armenia, alleged anti-Azerbaijani statements in Armenia’s national security strategy, and sowing hatred towards Azerbaijan in Armenia.
In general, Aliyev’s statements reflect the Azerbaijani official position, which is largely based on misinformation and manipulation, and is aimed at presenting Baku to the international community in a beneficial way, and distorting the essence of the Artsakh conflict.