Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov made a speech at the 77th session of the UN General Assembly in New York and made a number of untrue statements.
Fact Investigation Platform presents the false claims of the Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan.
In 2020, Azerbaijan was the first to attack Artsakh
Jeyhun Bayramov considered the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict resolved and claimed that Azerbaijan “responded” to another large-scale military provocation by Armenia in 2020.
“In response to yet another large-scale military provocation, Azerbaijan launched a counter-offensive in 2020, liberating its territories and resolving the 3-decade-long conflict through military and political means guided by the inherent rights granted to member states by the UN Charter,” he noted.
On September 27, 2020, the press service of the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Artsakh released a message informing that the armed forces of the Republic of Azerbaijan launched an aggression against the Republic of Artsakh around 07:15 in the morning of September 27.
The 44-day war ended օn November 10, 2020, by a statement on ceasefire signed by Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azeri President Ilham Aliyev with the mediation of Russian President Vladimir Puti, which also included conditions for territorial transfers, the return of displaced persons, and the deployment of Russian peacekeeping troops.
Bayramov’s claim that the 3-decade-long conflict was resolved by military and political means is incorrect, as the status of Nagorno-Karabakh remains unresolved. Both the RA government and the Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and its individual members consider the conflict unresolved after the war.
“The issue of the status of Nagorno-Karabakh has not been resolved and it remains on the agenda of the Minsk Group,” US Ambassador to Armenia Lynn Tracy also stated in response to the claims of the Azerbaijani side that the Minsk Group has nothing more to do after the war. Most recently, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken appointed Ambassador Philip Ricker as a senior adviser on Caucasus negotiations and co-chairman of the OSCE Minsk Group.
Contrary to Bayramov’s claim that the Armenian side was the first to attack, the evidence shows otherwise. since September 21, 2020, the Azerbaijani authorities had been confiscating and placing cars belonging to the civilian population, mostly pick-up trucks, in traffic police parks. According to the official interpretation, pick-up vehicles and other special-purpose vehicles can be submitted for the needs of the armed forces and special-purpose forces in accordance with the “Regulations of Military Vehicle Registration” and are subject to technical inspection.
In addition, on September 24, the Russian service of the BBC reported that a sudden mobilization of reserve forces began in Azerbaijan. The demobilized were called to military commissariats and immediately sent to military exercises. As of that moment, martial law or general conscription had not been declared.
Moreover, before the war, the Fact Investigation Platform had noticed an unusual increase in flights between Turkey, Azerbaijan and Israel, the main supplier of military equipment to these countries, in the last few days. Most likely, these movements of the Air Force had one main goal: to supply military equipment to Azerbaijan. Materials were being circulated on the Internet indicating that Syrian mercenaries were also moving to Azerbaijan.
Thus, several facts at once prove that the war was not a response to the provocation of the Armenian side, but a long-designed plan by Azerbaijan. It was that country that initiated the attack against Artsakh.
Not 20, but only 13.3 percent
During his speech at the UN, Bayramov noted that Armenia had occupied 20 percent of the territory of Azerbaijan. This statement has been speculated by the Azerbaijani side many times in the past, which has FIP.am addressed presenting that only 13.3 percent of Azerbaijan’s territory was under Armenian control, not 20 percent.
The myth of guaranteeing the rights and freedoms of the people of Artsakh
Bayramov also stated that Azerbaijan is determined to “integrate citizens of Armenian origin” who “live in conflict-affected areas… guaranteeing the same rights and freedoms as other citizens, regardless of their ethnic, religious or other affiliation.”
Despite Bayramov’s assurances, Baku’s policy in recent years indicates something different. After the ceasefire of 1994, the Baku authorities consistently instilled Armenian hatred in the Azerbaijani society, which is confirmed by many recorded cases. FIP.am covered some of them in a separate article.
Despite the promise of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan to guarantee the rights and freedoms of the people of Artsakh, it should be noted that the same Azerbaijan physically and culturally “cleansed” 48 Armenian settlements of the occupied Shushi and Hadrut regions from the Armenian presence. During the 44-day war, Azerbaijanis shared videos where they brutally killed civilians, including elderly and disabled people. In addition, Azerbaijan conducts state policy of destroying Armenian churches and appropriating them by force.
In 2022, during the large-scale aggression unleashed against Armenia on September 13 also, the Azerbaijani side continued to dehumanize Armenians. On those days, photographs and videos of tortured and dismembered bodies of Armenian servicemen and civilians were created and circulated in the Azerbaijani domain of the “Telegram” social network.
The number of Azerbaijanis displaced in the 1990s
According to Bayramov, 20 thousand Azerbaijanis were killed in the first Artsakh war, more than 1 million people became refugees.
Bayramov’s figure that more than 1 million people became refugees is highly exaggerated. FIP.am had previously written that only in the seven regions adjacent to the Nagorno Karabakh Autonomous Region (NKR), according to the censuses conducted by the Soviet Union in 1989, the population was 421,726. The number of Azerbaijanis living in Armenia in 1989 was 84,860. According to the 1989 census, the total population of the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region amounted to 187,769, of which about 80 percent were Armenians. Accordingly, in general, the number of displaced people cannot exceed 544,140.