First of all I would like to condemn the terrorist attack on the Azerbaijani embassy in Tehran. Attack on diplomatic missions is unacceptable and the Iranian regime bears a responsibility for this.
Secondly, I also condemn the terror attack on civilians in Jerusalem which happened near a synagogue on Shabbat last week and convey my condolences to families of terror victims.
Almost 2 months passed since the Azerbaijani eco-activists started to hold a protest on the Lachin-Khankendi road against the Armenian eco-terror in Azerbaijan. The failure of the Russian peacekeeping contingent to prevent the illegal exploitation of natural resources in Karabakh has resulted in the ongoing protest on the major road that passes by Shusha. As a result of the negotiations with the Russian peacekeeping command, the delegation consisting of specialists from the ministries of Economy, Ecology and Natural Resources, the State Property Service under the Ministry of Economy, and “AzerGold” company was to conduct a preliminary monitoring of the illicit exploitation of mineral deposits in Karabakh, where peacekeepers are temporarily deployed, as well as related environmental and other problems. However, due to the inaction of the peacekeepers, the monitoring did not take place and resulted in the continuous protest of the Azerbaijani eco-activists which continues to this day.
After the victory of Azerbaijan in the Second Karabakh war that resulted in liberation of the internationally recognized territories of Azerbaijan from the Armenian occupation, which lasted for about three decades, Azerbaijani government launched an assessment of losses Armenia had caused to Azerbaijan over the years of occupation in various aspects, including devastating environmental damage.
Armenia committed unprecedented destruction in Karabakh and surrounding regions, which were kept under occupation for about 30 years by it, razed historical-religious monuments to ground, carried out vandalism acts against cemeteries, thus, tried to remove signs of Azerbaijanis in these areas completely, besides purposeful destruction of historical, cultural, religious heritage belonging to Azerbaijanis, who settled in its territory historically. Moreover, Armenian aggression resulted in significant disruption of the environment of the whole region of the South Caucasus. In fact, deliberate clearance and burning of forests, pollution of waters, destruction of flora and fauna, and ruthless squandering of natural resources have disorganized the environmental balance. Furthermore, illegal business and exploitation of natural resources during the years of occupation made a huge economic damage with subversive environmental divarication.
Protesters from all walks of life have been vigorously rallying against the illegal exploitation of Azerbaijan’s mineral resources in the Karabakh economic region by ethnic Armenian separatists in collaboration with Armenia’s various governments for over 30 years.
At a conservative estimate, Armenians, hand in hand with offshore and European companies, have illegally pocketed billions of dollars from plundering Azerbaijan’s mineral resources both in Karabakh and around during the 30-year-long occupation and continued the same scheme of theft of gold, molybdenum, copper, and other mineral resources after the war under the supervision and in collaboration with the Russian peacekeepers.
The Azerbaijani public has finally decided to say enough is enough and halt the continuous plunder, and thus on December 12, 2022, a group of eco-activists took to the streets to say this is the last straw. And they succeeded in it by kicking off open-ended pickets on the Lachin road through which Azerbaijani wealth from the interior of the earth has been transported to Armenia for further processing.
One of the fundamental reasons for the international support for the Armenian claims now is the similarity of the business interests of certain political groups in Europe with those in Armenia and separatist Karabakh in the illegal exploitation of Azerbaijan’s mineral resources.
Of course, the illegal exploitation of our natural resources is an undeniable fact. We have the names of companies. I must say that if the companies that illegally exploited our gold and other deposits do not pay compensation, this issue will go to court. If they do not deliver this compensation, all the cases will go to international courts, and they will be humiliated.
It is unfair to call the events on the Lachin-Khankandi road a blockade. Up to 1000 trucks belonging to Russian peacekeepers have passed along the road.
Surely, they carry food and necessary items for people living there. We don’t protest it. Our purpose is not blockade. So it’s just another anti-Azerbaijan show. I can’t find another name for this. Armenians and their sponsors think that they’ll achieve something by using it against us. But they won’t achieve anything. We have legitimate demands.
The young people who protest on the Lachin-Khankandi road are our pride. They are there day and night in frosty and snowy weather, they demand their rights and once again show the whole world how high-quality the Azerbaijani youth are. The separatists are busy spreading completely false information to the world.
Azerbaijani activists are not preventing the transit of civilian and humanitarian transportation. But the separatists in Karabakh are using the situation to show shortages of food and the threat of a ‘humanitarian catastrophe’ and blaming Azerbaijan and the activists for it.