Azerbaijan Unveils Details of Reintegration Plans for Karabakh Armenians

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The administration of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has released details of plans for the reintegration of the Armenian population of Karabakh, which were presented to their delegation at three meetings held earlier. In general, the plans cover several areas, including governance, security, economic and social aspects, in addition to culture and education. “Regardless of ethnic, religious or linguistic affiliation, the equality of rights and freedoms of everyone, including the security of everyone, are guaranteed,” the statement says. The Armenian population of Karabakh is guaranteed the right to preserve and develop culture, freedom of religion and the ability to use the Armenian language. It is envisaged that the administration in the territories of the Armenian population will be carried out through special representative offices of the Azerbaijani President. It is stipulated that the residents may be involved in the work of the special representations. According to the reintegration plans, municipalities will be formed through elections. “Citizenship issues of the residents shall be resolved on the basis of appropriate procedures in accordance with the Constitution and legislation of the Republic of Azerbaijan,” the statement outlines. According to the administration, the disarmament and demobilization process in Karabakh is almost completed and all weapons are withdrawn from the residents. “The internal affairs bodies of the Republic of Azerbaijan ensure the protection of public order in the territory and the safety of the residents. Residents may be involved in the bodies of internal affairs,” the document says. The reintegration plans in the economic sphere stipulate that the special economic regime and tax incentives for businesses introduced in the territories that came under Baku’s control in November 2020 will be extended to Karabakh entrepreneurs as well. “The package of incentive measures, including tax and customs benefits related to the special economic regime introduced to accelerate economic development in the Karabakh and East Zangezur economic regions shall be extended to the territories where the residents live,” the text of the statement reads. Azerbaijani authorities promise to provide subsidies to farmers, they will also be exempted from all taxes, except for land taxes. In addition, the national currency of Azerbaijan will be put into circulation on the territory of Karabakh. It is planned that the provision of physical and social infrastructure in the territories where Karabakh Armenians live will be brought “within a certain period of time to the level of the national average”. The residents of Karabakh will be implicated by the system of wages and social payments applied throughout the country, as well as benefits, social services and employment programmes implemented in the territories that came under Baku’s control in November 2020. They will also receive the opportunity to use mobile services, including in the pension sphere. The Azerbaijani Presidential Administration stressed that contacts with representatives of the Armenian residents of Karabakh on the practical implementation of reintegration will be continued. On 21 September, the first meeting of the Azerbaijani central government’s representatives and Karabakh Armenians was held in the Azerbaijani town of Yevlakh, where reintegration plans were presented. The second and third meetings were held on 25 and 29 September in Khojaly and Yevlakh respectively.