Statement of Azerbaijan President Heydar Aliyev at the meeting of the Council of CIS member ‎countries - April 2, 1999, Moscow‎

A fundamental and frank discussion of problems inhibiting the equal and effective cooperation of our countries within CIS was held at October 1997 summit of CIS in Chisinau and April 1998 summit of CIS in Moscow.

It is with a regret that we should state that despite of all endeavors for reforming CIS in the course of the last year we did not succeed in overcoming the critical situations within our Commonwealth.

One of the major reasons of that is presence of unsettled armed conflicts at the territories of CIS member countries, which create the atmosphere of distrust and tension, block the effective cooperation and interaction at all other spheres of our relationships.

In this regard, I consider it necessary to voice again the problems causing serious anxiety of the Republic of Azerbaijan and threatening its sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as peace and stability in our region.

It is well-known that the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict lasts for many years, it resulted in occupation of some 20% of Azerbaijani territory, expelling of more than 1 million of Azerbaijani citizen from their homelands. Two member countries of the Commonwealth - Armenia and Azerbaijan are in condition of armed conflict, the third member country - Russia is one of the co-chairs of OSCE Minsk group, established for the settlement of the conflict.

However, despite of respect of cease-fire signed in May, 1994 we could not settle this conflict so far.

In such conditions, the activity of government bodies of Russian Federation aimed at militarization of Armenia is absolutely inadmissible.

In the beginning of 1997, the facts on illegal arms delivery from Russia to Armenia, including large quantity of tanks, operational-tactical and anti-aircraft missile systems, different jet volley fire systems and other facilities making in total more than 1 billion US dollars, became known. As it became known, this delivery was carried out since 1993, i.e. at the period when active military operations were underway between Armenia and Azerbaijan and this stipulated the occupation of Azerbaijani territories by Armenian armed forces and the delivery continued after establishment of cease-fire.

Despite our appeals to the Russian President in order to carry out investigation of these facts and provide withdrawal of illegally delivered arms, any results were achieved. The General Public Prosecutor's Office, Ministry of Defense of Russian Federation and other executive bodies of federal government did not complete their investigation.

The work of intergovernmental trilateral commission (Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan) established for elucidation of facts of the matter concerning illegal delivery of Russian arms to Armenia is being blocked intentionally. Our hopes that appropriate evaluation to the illegal activity of authorities guilty in these actions will be given and required measures for requisitioning and withdrawal of illegally delivered Russian arms and military facilities from Armenia will be taken failed. We are anxious also about deployment of military bases of Russian Federation at the territory of Republic of Armenia which is in war with Azerbaijan. An agreement on friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance, holding regulations on military cooperation was signed between Russia and Armenia in 1997, more than 20 agreements in the sphere of military-technical cooperation were concluded, the military maneuvers are carried out on a regular basis, as well as the joint combat duty of anti-aircraft defense forces are carried.

Taking into consideration that Russian Federation is mediator in the settlement of Armenian-Azerbaijan conflict, we have appealed for suspending of regulations of the agreement on military-political cooperation, as well as other agreement in the military sphere with Armenia till establishment of peace. However, all of these appeals were left without consideration.

Moreover, Russian Federation continues to grow its military presence in Armenia delivering to its bases modern military offensive facilities like S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems and MiG-29 fighter aircrafts.

All of this contradict to the decree of the president of Russian Federation dated on 09 September 1993 banning all delivery of Russian military equipment and ammunition to Armenia and Azerbaijan till peaceful settlement of Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict, as well as to the role and charge of Russian Federation, which is the co-chair of OSCE Minsk Group. It contradicts also to the respective resolutions of UN General Assembly and decisions of OSCE adopted in relation with Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict.

I consider it necessary to point out again that the deployment of Russian military bases equipped with large quantity of modern military facilities and arms at the territory of Armenia presents a serious threat to the Republic of Azerbaijan, it complicates the situation and do not promote the settlement of Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict.

I have again to remind that military personnel of Russian military units deployed at the territory of Armenia were repeatedly taken prisoner during military operations in Garabagh and returned to Russian Federation in response to the numerous requests of Russian party.

We have repeatedly asked to explain the purpose of deployment of military bases of Russian Federation at the territory of Armenia. However, any answer was given. Declaration that it is not directed against Azerbaijan don't make us quiet. A question against whom it is directed arises. Not depending on the answer, one can state that it complicates the situation in South Caucasus and promotes different military and political situation in the region.

I consider it necessary to point out that the situation in the South Caucasus absolutely contradicts to the regulations of the Agreement on the collective security of CIS member countries signed on May 15, 1992. The Article 1 of the Agreement says that member countries must refrain from use of force or threat of violence in the intergovernmental relations and engage to settle all discords among them, as well as other countries in a peaceful way. The Agreement says also that member countries will not join any military alliances and participate at any action directed against another member country.

Hence, delivery of Russian arms and military equipment to Armenia and deployment of military bases at its territory is the brutal violation of the Agreement on collective security of CIS member countries.

The problems that we voiced have a crucial importance not only for Azerbaijan, but also for all our region and Commonwealth in general.

They require clear answers from the Russian Federation and taking of the most effective measures.