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Azerbaijan Officials, Karabakh Armenians Hold Reintegration Talks

By Yaver Kazimbeyli September 21, 2023

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Azerbaijani president's special representative and representatives of Karabakh region's Armenian residents meet in the Yevlakh district of Azerbaijan, September 21, 2023 / Courtesy

Azerbaijani officials hosted on Thursday the representatives of the Karabakh (Garabagh) region’s Armenian residents to discuss reintegration efforts.

Representing Azerbaijani authorities, Ramin Mammadov held discussions with Sergey Martirosyan and David Melkumyan.

The negotiations focused on the reintegration of Karabakh’s Armenian residents, in line with the Constitution of Azerbaijan.

Mammadov submitted Azerbaijan’s reintegration plans to Martirosyan and Melkumyan, while also emphasizing the need for complete adherence to the terms of the agreement reached at the end of Azerbaijan’s anti-terror measures in the Karabakh region on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, representatives of Armenians in the Karabakh region asked for fuel and food supplies.

Baku plans to provide heating to kindergartens and schools, as well as address the need for emergency medical aid and firefighting services with speedy fuel supplies.

The sides agreed to sit for the next round of talks in the near future.

Azerbaijan Armed Forces launched on Tuesday local anti-terrorist measures to neutralize illegal Armenian armed formations and their military infrastructure in the Karabakh region.

The operation came on the heels of the intensifying attacks on the Azerbaijani positions and the recent deadly mine incidents in the Khojavand district killing four Azerbaijani police officers and two road construction workers. Earlier on Tuesday, two servicemen of the Azerbaijani army stationed in the Aghdam district were wounded by the Armenian armed formations illegally deployed in the Azerbaijani territories temporarily monitored by the Russian peacekeeping contingent.

By the time of the cessation of hostilities, the Azerbaijani military disabled artillery systems, radio-electronic warfare, military equipment, ammunition depots, military strongholds, and shelters of the Armenian army formations stationed in the Karabakh region.

The Defense Ministry of Azerbaijan announced on Wednesday the end of the local counter-terrorism measures in the Karabakh region.

According to the ministry, the appeal by the representatives of the Armenian residents living in the Karabakh region, conveyed by the Russian peacekeeping command, was considered to cease the local anti-terror activities at 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday.

The agreement was reached under the following terms:

  • The formations of Armenia’s armed forces stationed in the Karabakh region of the Republic of Azerbaijan and illegal armed groups lay down their arms, withdraw from their battle positions and military outposts and are subjected to complete disarmament. The formations of Armenia’s armed forces leave the territory of Azerbaijan and illegal Armenian groups are disbanded.
  • Simultaneously, all the ammunition and heavy military equipment is handed over.
  • Conducting the abovementioned process in coordination with the Russian peacekeeping contingent is ensured.

In a televised address to the nation on Wednesday, President Ilham Aliyev said the process of withdrawal of Armenia's illegal armed units from their positions had already begun.

“I am sure that the Armenian population living in Karabakh will soon see a change for the better. We intend to build a life together based on peace, mutual understanding, and mutual respect. We have no problems with the Armenian people. We have no enmity,” Aliyev said.

Approximately 25,000 Armenians reside in certain parts of the Karabakh region, monitored by a temporary Russian peacekeeping mission. Following the war, the Azerbaijani government expressed its willingness to reintegrate these individuals into Azerbaijani society in accordance with the Constitution and laws of Azerbaijan.

On March 1, Azerbaijani officials met with representatives of Armenians residing in the Karabakh region to initiate discussions on their reintegration into Azerbaijani society. In late March, Azerbaijani authorities extended an invitation to the representatives of Karabakh Armenians to visit Baku for a second meeting.

However, a group of separatists in the Karabakh region and certain political groups in Armenia sought to disrupt the process. They advocated for a "status" for the region's Armenian residents and demanded "independence" from Azerbaijan.