Azerbaijan Is Ready to Share Experience in Reintegration of De-Occupied Territories

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Azerbaijan is ready to share with other post-Soviet countries its experience in reintegration of settlements and improvement of everyday life of the local residents living in the territories returned to the country after de-occupation. Farid Shafiyev, head of the board of the Center of Analysis of International Relations, reported this to IPN. He made this comment in the context of the August UN Security Council meeting, where Russia and satellites hindered Azerbaijan’s return of control over settlements in the Karabakh region. “Azerbaijan does not prevent the movement of civilians living in Karabakh, and as for the delivery of goods through the Lachin corridor, Baku proposes to use alternative roads in order to supply the region in full,” Shafiyev said. According to the expert, the Republic of Azerbaijan is not just actively implementing the “Great Return” program on the territory of Karabakh, but seeks to make the region the most advanced part of the country, in the infrastructure of which government plans to invest billions of dollars. Earlier, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev stated that “by the end of 2023, we will ensure that nearly 12 billion manats [about $7 billion] will be spent on Karabakh and Eastern Zangezur.” According to the Azerbaijani leader, work on Karabakh’s reconstruction is progressing faster than planned, and IDPs will be able to return to 5 settlements - one town and four villages - by the end of the year. “We plan to renovate 100 settlements within the first phase of the Great Return Program,” the Azerbaijani president added. According to Ukrainian political scientist Igor Chalenko, “Baku has every reason not to trust Armenia in the issue of using the Lachin corridor. We are talking not only about 30 years of occupation of Karabakh and adjacent regions by Armenia, but also documented cases of smuggling of mines, ammunition, rotation of Armenian Armed Forces personnel in Karabakh after the 44-day war in 2020, as after the end of the war Armenian-made mines were found on the territory of Karabakh in 2021”. One of Israel’s leading think tanks, the Begin-Sadat Center, noted earlier that Iran and Russia see the separatist enclave of Karabakh as an “emergency switch” for Azerbaijani energy supplies to the EU. “Putin is using Karabakh Armenians as pawns, much like the South Ossetians and Abkhazians in Georgia or the Russian communes in Ukraine,” the US-based Wall Street Journal wrote. “It is obvious that Azerbaijan is an indispensable strategic partner of the European Union in the Caucasus. That is why the participation of its representatives in the Chisinau summit of the European Political Community is particularly symbolic. It is all the more important that the possible conclusion of an Azerbaijani-Armenian peace agreement in Chisinau promises the European community new economic and geopolitical dividends,” Chalenko explains. Despite attempts by Moscow and Tehran to derail the negotiation process between Azerbaijan and Moscow, as noted by the Wall Street Journal, Baku, with the active participation of Brussels and Washington, is making efforts to normalize relations with its neighbor and open regional transport routes. It primarily concerns the Zangezur Corridor project. With its opening, the EU will get a direct transport route to China bypassing Russia, via Turkey, Azerbaijan, the Caspian and Central Asia. “Meanwhile, Azerbaijan’s restoration of the de-occupied territories of Karabakh will become an example for other countries that seek to restore territorial integrity. An example that even a protracted territorial dispute is better to end with creation and return of people to the lands that belong to them under international law,” Farid Shafiyev said. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that the victory of Ukrainians in the war against the aggressor, Russian Federation, will affect the situation in Moldova and Georgia. “I think that the victory of Ukraine will put an end to the existing situation. It is about the reunification of Moldova. It will be good for Georgia as well. I am confident that Ukraine’s victory will make it possible to achieve a political solution for these democratic countries, to restore the integrity of these states,” the Ukrainian leader claimed.