BAKU, October 2. /TASS/. The Armenian residents of Nagorno-Karabakh are guaranteed the right to develop their culture, preserve their religion and use their native language, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s administration said in a statement on plans of reintegrating the region.
"The right of residents to preserve and develop their culture and ethno-cultural peculiarities is guaranteed. The freedom of religion and protection of cultural and religious monuments are guaranteed. Opportunities are created for the use of the Armenian language," the statement said as quoted by the AzerTac news agency.
Overall, the plans encompass a number of spheres, involving also the governance system and security, economic and social aspects.
"The equality of rights and freedoms, including security, is guaranteed to everyone regardless of their ethnic, religious or linguistic affiliation," the statement said.
Governance and citizenship
It is planned that governance in areas inhabited by Armenian residents will be carried out through the offices of special representatives of the president of the Republic of Azerbaijan. That said, it is noted that local residents may be involved in the operations of special representative offices. Municipal authorities will be appointed by vote.
"Citizenship issues of residents are addressed based on relevant procedures and in accordance with the Constitution and legislation of the Republic of Azerbaijan," the statement stressed.
According to the presidential administration, the disarmament and demobilization process is underway in Karabakh with weapons being collected from residents.
"The internal affairs bodies of the Republic of Azerbaijan are responsible for ensuring public order and security of residents in the area. Residents may be recruited to internal affairs bodies," the document noted.
According to the statement, "over a certain period of time, the provision of physical and social infrastructure (education, healthcare, energy, gas, water, roads, communications, irrigation, etc.) in areas populated by residents is brought in line with the average level across the country. The incentive package related to the special economic regime and introduced for the purpose of accelerating economic development in Karabakh and East Zangezur economic regions, including tax and customs concessions, applies to areas populated by residents."
"Full circulation of the national currency of the Republic of Azerbaijan is ensured," the administration stressed.
The Azerbaijani authorities stressed that "residents are covered by a system of remunerations and social payments existing in the country. Residents are entitled to social benefits, social services and employment programs for Karabakh and East Zangezur economic regions."
Situation in Karabakh
On September 19, tensions flared up again in Nagorno-Karabakh. Baku announced it was launching what it described as "local anti-terrorist measures" and demanded the withdrawal of Armenian troops from the region. Yerevan, in turn, said there were no Armenian forces in Karabakh, calling what was happening "an act of large-scale aggression." The Russian Foreign Ministry has called on the parties to the conflict to stop the bloodshed, end hostilities, prevent civilian casualties, and go back to trying to settle the Karabakh issue diplomatically. On September 20, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said that an agreement was reached with the participation of the Russian peacekeeping contingent to suspend anti-terrorist measures in Karabakh. On September 21, in the Azerbaijani town of Yevlakh, a first meeting was held between the representatives of Azerbaijan and Karabakh’s Armenian residents in order "to discuss the issues of reintegration." The second and third meetings on the matter were held on September 25 and 29.