Armenia became a self-isolated country in the region as a result of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Hikmet Hajiyev, Head of the Department of Foreign Policy Affairs of the Azerbaijani Presidential Administration, said during an event dedicated to Azerbaijan's foreign policy held at the Atlantic Council in Washington, DC, USA.
According to him, the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict undermines regional peace and security. “It also fragments the region, as a result of which we do not have a full-fledged regional cooperation,” he said.
Hajiyev noted that people in both countries have been suffering because of this conflict for more than 25 years and that the lack of cooperation with Azerbaijan and Turkey, coupled with demographic issues Armenia has to face, has negatively affected Armenia’s economy.
“When Prime Minister Pashinyan talks about the economic agenda of Armenia and says that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the economic prosperity and development of Armenia are interlinked, I agree with him,” he said.
Touching on the disagreements between the two sides during the negotiation process, Hajiyev stated that human rights are universal, and that while the Armenian community of Nagorno-Karabakh also has the right to live there, the rights of its Azerbaijani community which was forcefully expelled from the region cannot be violated.
Hajiyev went on to say that a research conducted recently by a German NGO concluded that the resolution of the conflict will have huge economic benefits for both Armenia and Azerbaijan. With the normalization of the relations between the two countries, Armenia will be able to benefit from the transportation potential and the regional projects, in which Azerbaijan has been involved.
“During the Soviet times, 80 percent of Armenia’s external transport routes ran through the territory of Azerbaijan, and we can play this role again,” he said.
Hajiyev noted that Georgian-Azerbaijani cooperation is a fitting role model in this regard. He pointed out that Azerbaijani companies such as SOCAR are the largest investors and taxpayers in Georgia, and that many Azerbaijani tourists visit Georgia every year.
“Can we do the same with Armenia? Of course we can. I say that the best prosperity is a shared prosperity. But why we cannot do it is a fair question to answer,” he said.
In conclusion, Hajiyev stated that he does believe in the establishment of an “eternal peace” between Armenian and Azerbaijani people as being possible.
The Atlantic Council, an influential think tank operating in Washington, DC, USA, hosted an event dedicated to Azerbaijan's foreign policy on June 11.
During the event, a conversation was held with Hikmet Hajiyev, moderated by former US Ambassador to Azerbaijan Richard Morningstar.