Last week on the border of Armenia and Azerbaijan was the most serious in recent years, the escalation of the military conflict. Still side daily register the cases of violation of ceasefire regime. The correspondent of “Kommersant” Kirill Krivosheev, who arrived in Baku from the conflict zone, asked the assistant to the President of Azerbaijan on foreign Affairs Hikmet Hajiyev, how he sees the situation and when the parties can return to negotiations. A similar request sent to the foreign Ministry of Armenia, who gave their assessment of what happened.”Deliberate provocation and military-political gamble”— What conclusions do the authorities of Azerbaijan of the recent escalation?— The aggravation was deliberate provocation and military-political gamble by the armed forces of Armenia. We regard it as an act of aggression, an act of terror, and including the act of unlawful use of armed forces against Azerbaijan and attempted violations of the state border. Despite all this, the Armenian side failed to achieve their goals.— What you can do to prevent a similar occurrence in the future?— This again emphasizes the need to strengthen actions on the part of the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk group (Russia, USA and France.— “B”), the entire international community to resolve the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict. The main source of threats to regional peace and security is the unresolved status of the conflict. And last aggravation demonstrated once again that the Armenian side always uses a similar military adventures for increasing tensions in the region create tension and escalation along the line of contact and the state border between the two countries.— People in Tovuz district told me that I have never seen such aggravation that is the legal boundary between the States. This may indicate that the zone of the conflict extends beyond the borders of Karabakh?— This was one of the intentions of the Armenian side, which seeks to create on the border of the two countries a new source of conflict. They also have the strategic intent to threaten transport, including energy, communications line East—West. In addition, the internal situation in Armenia is deteriorating. In this way the Armenian authorities want to distract people’s attention from internal problems in the country, especially as a result of their inaction in the fight against COVID-19. Along with this, the Armenian side tries to engage in a conflict by third parties, including military-political alliances (referring to the Organization of the collective security Treaty, the CSTO.— “B”), a permanent member to which it is. But the countries—members of the organization, fully realizing the intentions of the Armenian side expressed your opinion on different levels. Azerbaijan established friendly relations with all countries—members of the organization, except for Armenia. The insidious attempts of the Armenian side were not crowned with success.— How do you assess Russia’s position in the course of this aggravation? Have you been waiting for something else?— We had an intensive dialogue through diplomatic channels with the Russian side, including with the co-chair of the OSCE Minsk group from Russia, Igor Popov. Through military channels, we have a mechanism of communication and dialogue, he was also involved. At the moment, the Russian side has done everything possible to deescalate the situation. In particular, Russia and all other countries—CSTO members again expressed his opinion that this situation is not a matter for the organization, despite the intentions and provocations of the Armenian side. And most importantly, very recently, during these events in the Russian Federation was a military exercise. The Armenian side wanted to use this fact to create a propaganda background.But we received assurances from the Russian defense Ministry that in any case they are not associated with the aggravation of the situation on the border of Armenia and Azerbaijan.”Even in humanitarian issues Armenia has a destructive line”— That during a flare-up in Azerbaijan, he replaced the Minister of foreign Affairs. On the eve of this President Ilham Aliyev attended a meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers and criticized the work of Elmar Mammadyarov. Said that being pointless negotiations is without merit. How can you explain this phrase? The last time talks were held about the program for the preparation of the peoples for peace. Therefore, humanitarian exchanges, exchanges of journalists, the President called meaningless?— No, I would say that it is about the whole negotiation process. Since 1994 there is a ceasefire. Since then the Armenian side has always covered them to Annex the sovereign territory of Azerbaijan. And the mandate of the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk group openly and clearly States that it is based on the resolutions of the Security Council of the UN, the Helsinki final act and international law. The meaning negotiation process is to provide the de-occupation of Azerbaijani territories and return of Azerbaijani refugees, the restoration of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan within its internationally recognized borders. As co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk group have repeatedly stated at the highest level, the status quo is unacceptable and must be changed. And Armenia is abusing the negotiation process to continue military occupation and annexation of the territories of Azerbaijan. Armenia is trying to divert attention from the discussion of important topics and focuses on symptomatic issues. For example, after the deterioration in the APrelay 2016, they proposed to investigate incidents on the contact line, the increase in the number of employees of the group Kasprzyk (special representative of the OSCE Chairman on Nagorno-Karabakh conflict Andrzej Kasprzyk.— “Kommersant”). In the substantive negotiation process, these technical issues can be considered including in the context of withdrawal of Armenian troops.Azerbaijan is not against training people for peace, not against a humanitarian exchange. But first and foremost we must address the question of military occupation. The updated Madrid principles envisage the settlement of the conflict and the gradual withdrawal of Armenian occupying forces. Recently Sergey Lavrov (foreign Minister of the Russian Federation.— “B”) also stressed this fact. The Minsk group should have its own action plan with a time frame, i.e. indicating when the Armenian troops will come from one or other of the occupied district of Azerbaijan. When the Chairman of the Minsk group was Mario Rafaelli (1992-1993), he had a specific plan on the basis of resolutions of the UN Security Council on the withdrawal of military forces of Armenia from occupied territories of Azerbaijan. It’s been 30 years. Why is this plan not being implemented? In the Minsk process involved 11 countries. They should all be active. We offer to convene all participants of the Minsk process and to focus on the substantive part of the negotiation process.And the exchange of journalists or any other humanitarian projects cannot be an end in itself — all auxiliary elements.— That is, if you go back to the negotiating table and the Armenian side will again offer humanitarian exchange, you say that you will discuss it then?— We need to evaluate the overall situation. The Armenian side must prove that it is committed to the negotiation process. Because so far we have seen that at the highest levels of the Armenian side, one side says one thing, then another. All efforts they want to destroy the format and subject of the negotiation process. Even in humanitarian issues Armenia has a destructive line. For example, Azerbaijan has always offers to exchange on the principle “all for all” prisoners of war and hostages contained, the Armenian side (one of them a Russian citizen). And during a pandemic COVID-19 Azerbaijan once again made this proposal. But the Armenian side refused again. And what about the preparation of the peoples for peace, we believe that first and foremost military-political leadership of Armenia is in need of preparation for the world. Pashinyan (Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.— “B”) States that “Karabakh is Armenia”. Does it serve the world? Or the Minister of defense of Armenia (Davit Tonoyan.— “B”) speaks of “a new war for new territories.” It is preparation for peace or a new war, which we recently saw��?— But the Armenian side does not conceal that it expects to add to the table of negotiations of the representatives of Stepanakert.— At the moment the format of the negotiations has already been determined. The parties to the conflict are Armenia and Azerbaijan. Under international law the presence of armed forces of Armenia in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan defines the responsibilities of Armenia as a party to the conflict. And the fact that in the occupied territory of Azerbaijan by the illegal regime, not give him the right to be a participant in the negotiation process. Nobody has the right to change the format of conflict settlement.— The Minsk group is not doing its job?— I would say that we are not satisfied. I am frankly told that their mechanism of work, consisting only of message delivery, ineffective. They get some information from the Armenian side, bring this information to us and then back. And there should be a clear plan for the withdrawal of Armenian troops from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan and return of refugees to their native lands. The co-chairs say, even if Armenia and Azerbaijan agree among themselves, and we will support their decision. And what is then their role of a moderator? And don’t forget the three co-chairs of the group — the permanent members of the UN Security Council. And I repeat that there is a fact of military occupation. The co-chairs must give political and legal assessment to this fact, and based on this, we need to move forward.The illegal actions of Armenia in the occupied Azerbaijani territories, including illegal settlement, completely destroying the sense of the negotiation process. The assessment mission of the OSCE in 2005 and 2010 revealed a lot of facts of illegal actions in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan. Regarding these matters, we do not see a specific position by the co-chairs. Four resolutions of the UN Security Council constitute the mandate of the co-chairs. In other words, their primary objective must be the implementation of the requirements of these resolutions. These resolutions are passport and birth certificate of the Institute of the Minsk group. Here only, unfortunately, they very often forget.”The Armenian Minister perceives the negotiation process as a computer game”— meanwhile, the Armenian side said that over the past two years progress has been made in the negotiation process. You do not agree with this interpretation?— Absolutely not. Say, for example, what is promotion? One thing is clear that for Armenia’s progress is a continuation of imitation of negotiations without any results.— Dushanbe (there in September 2018, was found Nikol Pashinian and President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev.— “B”), the emergence of rapid communication…— In Dushanbe thanks to the political will and constructive��mu Azerbaijani side has created a positive background for progress in negotiations. Pashinyan then only recently came to power, and the Azerbaijani side expected that the new leadership of Armenia will pursue a different policy than their predecessors and thus it will be possible to achieve progress in the negotiation process. They requested time to review the negotiation process. And what happened next? His controversial statements military-political leadership of Armenia has caused great damage to the negotiation process. It was then that Nikol Pashinyan said that Karabakh is Armenia, David Tonoyan, with which we are familiar to work in the headquarters of NATO in Brussels, expressed the formula “New war — new territory.” By the way, I remember that David Tonoyan loves to play computer games. Apparently, the Armenian Minister perceives the negotiation process as a computer game, but it’s very sad.— I spoke with the Minister Tonoyan, and a representative of the defense Ministry of Azerbaijan Vagif Dargyakhli. And no one in Armenia or in Azerbaijan I couldn’t explain how operational communications. Why it didn’t work now? In principle, it is not working and ineffective.— So to me these people say, you know, these are not the military, is doing by another Agency, but does not say. Who can call Azerbaijan the Armenian military and ask, “What are you doing?” Between authorized representatives of the two countries there is a certain communication channel. But as a result of factors related to Armenia, particularly the permanent personnel leapfrog in Yerevan, the link does not work and is ineffective. In fact, there is no one with whom to liaise. They (the Armenian authorities.— “B”) asked about the establishment of such a mechanism, and then, they once again showed that he is not interested in it. This fact again confirms the insincerity of Armenia.— But, it may be worthwhile still to do to able to phone directly military? Maybe it is better that the commanders of outposts communicated directly?— At the local level, especially at the contact line (in Nagorno Karabakh, and not on the internationally recognized border of Armenia and Azerbaijan.— “Y”) this line in some form exists. But again, we’re back to the meaning negotiation process. Why is this happening? Because there is a fact of military occupation. If the Armenian armed forces will withdraw from our occupied territories, the need for such technical mechanisms will disappear. But, of course, they can be claimed in the framework of the withdrawal of Armenian forces c of the occupied territories.— President Aliyev said that Azerbaijani diplomacy needs to be more offensive, and appointed a new Minister of foreign��cases of the former Minister of education. Why this choice, why not a career diplomat?— This decision of Mr. President. Presidential decisions are not discussed and commented upon, they are executed. I wish good luck to the new Minister of foreign Affairs. Ceyhun Bayramov I know very well. With him we have friendly ties and working relationship. He proved to be a very good Manager in the Ministry of education. Mr. Bayramov — a man of great experience with a strategic vision. Therefore, I believe that he will justify high confidence of the President.”What was the point then to use heavy artillery?”— In the media there were reports that a few days Baku received the Turkish Bayraktar UAVs. However, Azerbaijani media reported in June, and even in February. Has there been any new purchases?— First, between Azerbaijan and Turkey have a strategic relationship. Turkey is connected with the South Caucasus region, has borders with Azerbaijan and Armenia. Turkey is also a party to the Minsk group. Information about the transfer to Azerbaijan of militants from Syria through Turkey — this is absolute nonsense, misinformation and fake news.This message was spread to some minor media.Military cooperation between Azerbaijan and Turkey is not a secret, we have good military-technical contacts with Turkey and with Russia. We see that at the moment the strategic interests of Russia and Turkey agree that the need to ensure peace, security and cooperation in the South Caucasus, in the basins of the Black and Caspian sea. It is in the interests of Russia and Turkey at the same time. In the end it would be in Armenia’s interests, too. But the involvement of any third parties (in conflict with Armenia.— “B”) is not in the interests of Azerbaijan. The Azerbaijani army is well equipped and has high morale and to ensure the protection of the state border and including the liberation of their occupied territories.— That is, you exclude that it may happen some incident and you ask Turkey to intervene on the level of its troops?— It is not in the interests of Azerbaijan. We are all open and transparent. We do not hide our very close military-technical cooperation both with Russia and with Turkey and with Israel, with other countries.— However, Azerbaijan has bought or purchased drones Bayraktar?— I do not have full information on this issue. I can only add that Azerbaijan has a very good fleet of drones, one of the best in our region. Including attack drones, reconnaissance drones. During the fighting, they once again demonstrated the strategic advantage of Azerbaijan over Armenia.— Armenians several times demhave onliroul in the photos the drones allegedly shot down. The press Secretary of the defense Ministry of Azerbaijan earlier I said that UAZ (according to the Armenian side, the escalation began with the arrival of the UAZ with the Azerbaijani military controlled the Armenian territory.— “B”) is on both sides, and remove the staged video with it easily. But Israeli drones, which uses Azerbaijan armed Armenia has no. How do you explain the pictures of the Armenian soldiers with these drones?— The defense Ministry of Azerbaijan made a statement on the matter. Of course, the Armenian side there is more involved in photoshop (on the eve of the publication of an interview in Yerevan opened an exhibition of drones, shot down, according to the Armenian side in the course of hostilities. But Baku did not recognize their authenticity.— “Kommersant”). In the case of the car I want to emphasize that Azerbaijan has no military plans or purposes on the state border with Armenia. Accordingly, the protection of a certain part of the border with Armenia is the border troops. Escalation on Azerbaijani-Armenian state border is not in the interests of Azerbaijan. On the contrary, the occurrence of tensions in this area in the interests of Armenia.It is foolish to think that any modern army would attack military positions of the enemy in unarmored vehicles. If Azerbaijan decided to attack, it would have done it along the line of contact with the aim of liberating the occupied territories.— That is, the car still was and where it was moved?— The car was moved between the posts of Azerbaijan. It is their routine work.— You will not admit that he could be out on the road, to get lost? Or the Armenians could put some kind of new strengthening and Azerbaijani soldiers knew nothing about it and stumbled on a post?— Yes, these skirmishes, minor incidents may occur, is not excluded. And what was the point then to use heavy artillery and attack positions of the Azerbaijani armed forces? This resulted in three killed and five wounded from the Azerbaijani side. The Armenian side must answer this question. They initiated the escalation, and started to use artillery. It was a clear provocation on their part. Why does the Armenian side used artillery?— Azerbaijan claims that the fighting killed at least hundreds of Armenian soldiers. That’s considerably more than says Armenia itself, she claims that the dead only four. The bodies of these people have somewhere to be. Whether Azerbaijan to show them, to return to their homeland?— Mainly the loss of the Armenian armed forces took place on the territory of Armenia. The Armenian side is very, I would say, “professionally” hide his military losses. Have ��them has its own algorithm. First, on the front lines have largely deployed mercenaries Armenians from Syria and other countries. Secondly, experience shows that after 10-15 days the Armenian side makes some statements, for example, that were accidents, car crashes and killing soldiers. Therefore, we expect that very soon the Armenian side will be such information. This is a question for the Armenian public, the Armenian journalists in General to the Armenian people. Let’s see the result of this military adventure, this policy killing your children. For this military adventure responsible military-political leadership of Armenia. And we always provide full information to the Azerbaijani society.”Azerbaijan is committed to substantive negotiations”— When do you expect new negotiations with Armenia may be Moscow’s mediation in the mediation of the OSCE?— Let’s wait for the co-chairs. They should also make a General analysis of the situation, and in particular look at the effectiveness of its work and to submit specific action plans. Including concrete proposals on further steps to resolve the conflict. I would like to reiterate that Azerbaijan is committed to substantive negotiations in the framework of the OSCE Minsk group.— If you are dissatisfied with the work of the Minsk group, if there are strong and weak players? Still, co-chairs several. How do you assess the work of Russia, France, USA extra? I don’t want to give individual grades. That would be unethical and unprofessional. The co-chair countries together took this responsibility based on the mandate of the UN Security Council. Therefore, it is possible to assess this process as a whole. We hope that the co-chairs also agree with us in the matter of fact that no concrete progress in the negotiation process yet.The occupied territory of Azerbaijan still remains under occupation, and the return of the refugees to their homes.Simultaneously, the continued illegal migration (of Armenians.— “B”) in the occupied territory of Azerbaijan, and also implemented other illegal activities.— The debate on the TV channel “al Jazeera” with the Minister Mnatsakanyan (head of foreign Affairs of Armenia Zohrab Mnatsakanyan.— “Kommersant”) were you and not Mammadyarov. Then it was sort of timelessness — That was quite random. I didn’t even know that there will be Mnatsakanyan. As you already know, I am by nature a very open person in relation to journalists and appreciate their work. Addressed to me from “al Jazeera” said that he would like to arrange an interview with me. I agreed. During the transfer they said that someone will be by Armenia. I said, let it be. They even noted that it would be a woman. I said, well, for me it does not matter. But during the program I saw that there is armanshell the parties involved namely, the Minister of foreign Affairs of Armenia Mnatsakanyan.— I need it. Would it not be a period, when, perhaps, the new Minister will be aware of the case and the negotiations will drive you, and not the Minister?— At the moment I can not comment. Because there is a foreign Minister. He has his responsibilities, his powers. Of course, Mr. President gave the corresponding instructions.— So you are now waiting for proposals from the co-chairs for the resumption of negotiations?— Azerbaijan is committed to the negotiation process. You are right. We look forward to concrete plans, concrete proposals from the co-chairs regarding the continuation of the subject of the negotiation process to ensure the liberation of Azerbaijani lands from occupation and the return of Azerbaijani refugees to their homes.