Second Hudaferin Bridge, with fifteen

Second Hudaferin Bridge, with fifteen


- Avaz bey, the recent news that Iran has started construction of two hydroelectric power stations on the Araz River - Khodaafarin and Maiden’s Tower - is being discussed. And it turns out that the construction of these hydroelectric power stations took place with the consent of the Azerbaijani side. Why do you think the Azerbaijani side agreed to this? In general, is it right for Azerbaijan to agree to such a thing?

- Azerbaijan and Iran signed an agreement on cooperation in the construction, operation, energy and water resources of Khodaafarin and Maiden’s Tower hydroelectric power stations on the Araz River in February 2016.

First of all, I would like to say that the work on the construction of the Khodaafarin hydroelectric power station has been completed. Back in February 2019, during the meeting held at the Ministry of Energy with the participation of members of the Joint Technical Commission from Azerbaijan in connection with the continuation of construction and operation of Khodaafarin and Maiden’s Tower hydro junctions and hydroelectric power stations on the Araz River, the Commission co-chair, Deputy Minister of Energy, Elnur Soltanov, informed about it. The commission has included the representatives of the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources, the Ministry of Energy, the Ministry of Emergency Situations, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Economy, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Culture, the State Committee on Property Issues, the State Security Service, the State Border Service, the Land Reclamation and Water Management OJSC, Azerenergy OJSC, Azerishig OJSC. Therefore, when some MPs and independent experts say that they have not been aware of these processes, they should at least be sincere. If we look at the press of that period, we see that there has been enough information. Specialists from Azerbaijan took part in the construction process, which began according to the agreement reached between Azerbaijan and Iran. It is possible that the Azerbaijani and Iranian flags will fly over the junction after the construction is completed and put into operation. It is possible that Azerbaijan will replace the energy obtained from this hydro junction with the energy to be supplied to Nakhchivan. Of course, it is too early to talk about the results.

I think it is unbelievable that the Azerbaijani side blindly signed an agreement and allowed its realization without taking into account its interests.

- After this issue came up, the Azerbaijani side acknowledged that such an agreement was signed in 2016. Why was the agreement not informed to the public? What do you think is envisaged in the agreement?

- There was some information in the Azerbaijani media about the agreement, which was even discussed in Parliament. President Ilham Aliyev paid a visit to Iran on February 23, 2016, and at a press conference with President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, it was reported that the parties signed 11 agreements.

At the same time, the then Minister of Communications and Information Technologies of Iran, Mahmoud Vaezi, told the Azerbaijani media about the agreement and noted that the implementation of the Khodaafarin project accelerated after Ilham Aliyev's visit to Tehran. Therefore, I do not understand why the representatives of the Azerbaijani society say "the agreement is secret". It would be more accurate to say that they did not pay attention to the agreement, they ignored it.

On June 16, the Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran on cooperation in the field of the continuation in the construction, operation, use of energy and water resources of Khodaafarin and Maiden’s Tower hydro junctions and hydroelectric power stations on the Araz River was signed by President Ilham Aliyev. The agreement is approved. When you look at all the provisions of this 17-paragraph agreement, you can be sure that the Azerbaijani side has preferred to draft this document entirely in its own interests.

It was discussed in parliament and adopted almost unanimously. Today, even those deputies say that the public has not been informed about it.

- Azerbaijan cannot actually control and directly use the existing reservoir and power plant in the area, as well as the control bridge, which is an integral part of it. Doesn't investing here only benefit those who use that territory, exactly Iran and Armenia, which has actually been occupying our territories?

- There is no exact information on how much Azerbaijan will invest in that area. However, the presence of the commission and the representation of all relevant ministries and state commissions give grounds to say that the Azerbaijani side has invested in this project. This agreement was signed between Azerbaijan and Iran. It has no third participant. If the Azerbaijani side fully complies with the provisions of the agreement, it means that it will monitor the operation process along with the construction process. The bridge is a technical issue. Of course, Iran has trade relations with Armenia. These relations are realized through transport corridors passing through the territory of Armenia. At the same time, the transportation of cargo to Nagorno-Karabakh is carried out in the same way. I do not believe that Iran will use these bridges as a corridor for trade in a project in which Azerbaijan is now a shareholder. Without the participation of Azerbaijan here, of course, Iran could do what it wants, and we would not be able to prevent it. However, we are talking about a joint project.

- One of the most discussed topics in recent days is the re-emergence of the issue of resolution of the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. This was caused by the statement of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on the negotiation of the parties to the conflict on the basis of a step-by-step settlement option. Do you think it is worth waiting for any innovations in the direction of settlement of the Karabakh conflict in the near future?

- I am one of the least convinced of the existence of any plans that have been announced and aired in connection with Lavrov's name. I have said this many times. Prior to Lavrov, the US co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group had made his proposals. There were more concrete plans. Therefore, those who say that there is a "Lavrov plan" and overshadow the responsibility of the parties to the conflict are those who spread Russian rumors. There is only one plan: the parties negotiate with the participation of mediators on the terms of the Madrid (or renewed Madrid) principles, agree, and push for a solution to the conflict.

- There are opinions that Armenia and Russia are concerned that Azerbaijan will soon resort to military means. Therefore, they are trying to calm down Azerbaijan by proposing some step-by-step solutions. Is it true that the Azerbaijani side insists on resolving this conflict as soon as possible by any means? Has such a political will been felt lately?

- Azerbaijan insists on the end of the dynamics in the settlement of the conflict and meaningless negotiations and the transition to concrete work. All its efforts are aimed at ending Armenia's occupation policy and laying the groundwork for peace. However, when it sees the opposite, when it sees that Armenia is rapidly arming itself and avoiding the negotiation process every time under one pretext, it radicalizes its position. Why should Armenia have the war in its heart without attack? Of course, Azerbaijan wants revenge. Azerbaijan wants to change the situation. However, the negotiation process is an unavoidable and difficult regulatory method that can be hardly refused. To avoid it is to put yourself in the face of civilized humanity. Therefore, no one risks consciously stopping the negotiation process, it can be prolonged, avoided, but it is very risky to refuse. Therefore, preparing for war and negotiating is a political will in itself.

-Maybe these steps, the statements made by all three parties are to calm people down? Is it possible that this conversation will create a temporary revival, and then the conversation will return to its previous course?

- As I said, Russia and Armenia may be interested in prolonging the conflict. However, there is the United States, which was brought to the co-chairmanship of the OSCE Minsk Group at the suggestion of Azerbaijan. Its main interest is to resolve the conflict as soon as possible and put an end to Russia's manipulation here. From that point of view, even if the mediators make a unanimous statement on this issue, they have different interests. The mechanisms for resolving the conflict are so different that the question of which one to apply to our conflict is always full of questions. Therefore, the mediators prefer to leave the decision to the parties.

-What do you offer? What steps should be taken by the parties to the conflict, members of the OSCE Minsk Group and other countries, and international organizations in order not to prolong the conflict further and resolve it?

- My suggestion is to take real steps at a time when the negotiation process is underway. Let the parties explain to their citizens what the consequences will be if the conflict is not resolved. In parallel with the talks of officials, political parties and civil society institutions should be active in the peacemaking process.

What the OSCE Minsk Group can do optimally is to create a more dynamic environment for negotiations. Let the member states increase their influence on the parties. Let them encourage the parties to the conflict to achieve peace. Let them act as an international guarantor to achieve peace.

As for the international organizations, first of all, they should be allowed in Azerbaijan so that they do not work here as "partisans". They can create a good basis to achieve peace. You know, if a party to a conflict wants to achieve a positive result, it never declares that it will do so through war. It strives for peace and pursues its policy against the background of all its details. At the same time, when the peace process is in full swing, it does not lose its readiness in case of escalation of the conflict.

Leave a review


Follow us on social networks

News Line