On January 30, during the hearing of the “Armenia vs. Azerbaijan” claim at the UN International Court of Justice, the representative of Azerbaijan, Elnur Mammаdov, stated that the representatives of Armenia distorted the words of the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, about the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh.
A group of Azerbaijanis presenting themselves as eco-activists and affiliated with the authorities of Azerbaijan have blocked the Lachin corridor since December 12, 2022 by placing tents there. With that action, Azerbaijan violated the clause 6 of the tripartite statement of November 9, 2020, according to which “the Republic of Azerbaijan shall guarantee the safe movement of citizens, vehicles and cargo in both directions along the Lachin Corridor.“
The closure of the road has caused a humanitarian crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh, there is a shortage of food and medicine. Armenia demands from the court reparations and recognition of discriminatory attitude towards Armenia and the Armenian people by Azerbaijan.
The representative of Armenia, Yeghishe Kirakosyan, specifically noted in his speech at the Hague court that if the court does not take immediate measures, the Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians will face an impossible choice: leave their ancestral homes or stay there and starve. “The President of Azerbaijan demanded that the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh leave. The road is open to all those who don’t want to become their citizens,” emphasized Yeghishe Kirakosyan.
In his speech, Mammаdov denied that Aliyev had said such a thing. “You heard that Armenia said this morning that the President of Azerbaijan called for the expulsion of ethnic Armenians from Karabakh. His words were quoted several times as a threat. “The road is open for Armenians to leave.” But this is a distortion, pure and simple. … Our President makes clear in the very same statement cited by Armenia this morning that ethnic Armenians are welcome citizens of Azerbaijan. “Necessary conditions will be created for those who want to live there. …Like all other citizens of Azerbaijan, their rights and security will be ensured.”
In fact, however, Mammаdov himself manipulates and distorts Aliyev’s words.
In an interview given to Azerbaijani TV channels on January 10, Aliyev stated that the road of Lachin is open for those who do not want to become citizens of Azerbaijan.
“…If someone does not want to become our citizen, the road is not closed, but open. They may leave, or they may leave on their own, no one will stop them, or else they may leave in the peacekeepers’ trucks, or maybe by bus. The road is open,” said Aliyev, presenting a de facto ultimatum to the people of Nagorno-Karabakh.
By the way, it is not the first time that Aliyev makes such a demand to the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh. On October 7, 2022, Aliyev stated in an interview to Azerbaijani TV channels: “Whoever considers that they should live as a citizen of Azerbaijan, I think they will not regret it. And if for some reason this does not suit someone, they can choose another place to live.”
Thus, the representative of Azerbaijan manipulates the words of the President of Azerbaijan at the UN International Court of Justice. Aliyev, indeed, called on the Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians to leave if they don’t want to become citizens of Azerbaijan.