Although almost a year has passed since the end of the war, some countries and organizations are still discussing the processes that happened during the conflict, instead of the restoration of Karabakh and surrounding areas, which have been destroyed for 30 years.
Over the past 30 years, Armenia has been looting these territories under the nose of the entire world community, including the ones who still want to discuss what happened in 2020. Azerbaijan has repeatedly made statements in all tribunes about the Armenian atrocities, presented evidence, invited international organizations to Karabakh, but many of these people did not want to see or hear about it. In order not to witness the destruction of Karabakh as a result of their negligence, the countries and organizations responsible for the settlement of the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia refused to visit the territories liberated from the occupation. That was a clearer example of being ‘dumb, deaf, and blind’ to what happened in Karabakh.
If the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs and UN Security Council member states had complied with UN resolutions on Armenia's withdrawal from the occupied Azerbaijani lands, there would have been no loss of tens of thousands of lives, no destruction of Azerbaijani territories, and no disgrace to Armenia.
In recent years, Armenia has taken courage because of the failure of the OSCE Minsk Group and the UN Security Council to take real measures against it. For some reason, the countries and organizations responsible for the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict did not get what President Ilham Aliyev meant by stating that Azerbaijan will never reconcile with the occupation and will resolve the conflict by any means. The Azerbaijani flag was already waving in Shusha when those who tried to prolong the conflict as much as possible by freezing the process without distinguishing between the occupant and the occupied side opened their eyes. Therefore, the responsibility for both the prolongation of the conflict for 30 years and the start of the 44-day war lies not only with Armenia but also with the international community, which has turned a blind eye to its policy of aggression for 30 years.
Interestingly enough, when the UNSC adopted resolutions against Libya and Yugoslavia, they were immediately implemented. But the establishment of the OSCE Minsk Group in which all three members were UN member states, was suggested when it came to the liberation of Azerbaijani territories under the UNSC resolutions.
The OSCE MG made several visits to the Karabakh region, but they never made a statement that "Armenia is an occupant" or stated that “the 4 UNSC resolutions must be implemented” which was signed by them. They did not even feel sorry for our destroyed territories. Thus, the MG is responsible for the destruction of Karabakh and the surrounding territories, the continuation of the occupation for 30 years, and the fact that Armenia sees itself as powerful than it is.
Interestingly, the co-chairing countries of the OSCE MG, which always had conflicting views on all other conflicts, were completely united in the 28-year-old Karabakh issue. At the root of their negligence lies their goal of "freezing the conflict for a longer period of time." If these countries had implemented the sanctions against the occupant, economically weak Armenia would have withdrawn from at least 5 surrounding regions without hesitation. This could have prevented war and loss of life. Therefore, international organizations should inform the public about the causes of the conflict, rather than talking about the conflict which was a mere result of their negligence and ended a year ago.
Armenia surrendered and signed an act of capitulation. In order to save the rest of its army under the threat of siege, the occupying country was forced to evacuate Kalbajar, Lachin and Aghdam, as well as about 100 villages of Gubadli and Zangilan. However, the enemy, who did not give up its barbarism, left our territories, burning houses and forests, even at the last minute. Despite all this, the conflict is over. Dozens of countries congratulated the President and the people of Azerbaijan on this occasion.
If Azerbaijan intended to continue the war and cleanse Karabakh from Armenian soldiers, it would not have given 20 days to the Armenian army to retreat. Azerbaijan only fought to liberate its territories. The liberation of Khankendi, Khojaly and Khojavend could take a maximum of 3-5 days. It was as easy as drinking water to destroy the 3 km of caravans of the enemy fleeing the battlefield through the narrow mountain road. We did not do it as the conflict was over, we had a signature on the document. If we, like Armenia, did not respect our signature, no armed Armenian in Karabakh would be able to survive from November 10 to 30. If anyone survived, it was due to the high respect of Azerbaijan for its signature and promise. In fact, the bodies responsible for the settlement of the conflict and Armenia should have expressed their deep gratitude to Azerbaijan.
The fact that the countries with the largest nuclear potential on the planet and the largest arms sellers are members of the UN Security Council will still lead our world to numerous disasters. The Azerbaijani soldier fulfilled the duties of those who did not respect their signatures with dignity, albeit at the cost of their lives. Azerbaijan restored historical and divine justice in full compliance with the norms of international law and the terms of UN Security Council resolutions. It did it alone, not with the help of those who signed the four resolutions, but sometimes even under pressure. Therefore, it was the natural right of our President, our people and our Army to accept congratulations from the UN, but, unfortunately, they did not have the courage to state that "the Azerbaijani soldier did what we had to do, so we are grateful to him."
UNESCO, which was repeatedly invited to the region to get familiar with the damage caused to our historical monuments in the territories of Azerbaijan during the 30-year occupation, has always refused these proposals. After the end of the war, the organization's desire to come to the region is unequivocally a double standard. Following the end of the conflict, the immediate priorities for Azerbaijan are to ensure the security of the territories, demine the lands, restore the infrastructure and provide the return of citizens to their native lands. President Ilham Aliyev, who constantly monitors these activities, has visited the liberated areas more than 10 times in the nine months since the end of the conflict. The construction of three airports and a 700-km highway iıs underway in these areas. Along with roads and railways, the construction of airports will play a significant role in ensuring both security and economic development. The opening of the Zangazur corridor will turn these areas into an international logistics hub. Therefore, instead of looking back, the international organizations should be closely involved in the restoration of Azerbaijani territories destroyed due to their faults. It can also be seen as a historic opportunity for them to ease their consciences. Probably, the Azerbaijani side will not oppose the involvement of the UN and other organizations in the reconstruction of Karabakh. Cooperation in this regard can create favourable conditions for the restoration of spoiled relations.
Adalat Verdiyev is a military expert.