Azerbaijan, Baku, June 11 / Trend E.Tariverdiyeva /
Azerbaijan's new military doctrine has caused great controversy, but the document does not run counter to the country's Constitution or the Charter of the U.N., experts say.
The Charter of the U.N. envisages the right to repel aggression. U.N. member countries are obliged to comply with the charter. Thus, any real or imaginary differences between the Azerbaijani Constitution and the military doctrine are unimportant, Heritage Foundation Russia, Eurasia and International Energy Security expert Ariel Cohen wrote Trend in an e-mail.
Parliament adopted the doctrine at an extraordinary meeting June 8.
The doctrine states that Azerbaijan reserves the right to free its occupied territories from occupation and restore its territorial integrity and sovereignty using all possible means, including military force.
Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian believes that the doctrine contradicts the Azerbaijani Constitution. Moreover, he stated that the amendment on the possible use of force "to free the occupied territories and restore territorial integrity" is unconstitutional.
"There is an article excluding the use of war or military aggression to resolve problems in the article," he said.
Article 9 of the Constitution states that Azerbaijan does not consider war or encroaching the independence of other countries as a viable means of resolving international conflicts.
However, the article does not apply to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, experts believe, as the conflict is a domestic issue. This is doubly demonstrated by the fact that Nagorno Karabakh is not recognized by any country in the world, Cohen said.
"Thus, theoretically, a future conflict over Karabakh, if it happens, will be an operation to restore sovereignty, which falls under the category of self-defense in the Charter of the U.N.," Cohen said.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan since 1992, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts. Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994.
The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group - Russia, France, and the United States - are currently holding the peace negotiations.
Armenia has not yet implemented the U.N. Security Council's resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh region and the occupied territories.
According to Azerbaijani MP Zahid Oruj, the doctrine aims to restore the country's territorial integrity.
"Twenty percent of Azerbaijan's territory is under occupation, and the doctrine also covers military measures to ensure the country's territorial integrity," Parliamentary Security and Defense Committee member Zahid Oruj told Trend.
He added that Azerbaijani citizens have the right to live in a united and cohesive country. Documents of the U.N. and other international organizations ensure them this right, he stressed.
Meanwhile, Turkish military expert Bahadir Koc said the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has never had the status of an international conflict.
"Azerbaijan has the right - the constitutional right - to conduct any operations on its territory," Koc wrote Trend in an e-mail.
The Armenian Foreign Ministry is looking for a contradiction between the doctrine and the Constitution as the situation in the region is changing in favor of Azerbaijan, he said.
"In terms of economic and military potential, Azerbaijan is well ahead of the other countries in the region. This worries Armenia," Koc said.
According to Cohen, Azerbaijan has the right to fight for its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
"In my mind, the ongoing occupation of Azerbaijani territories as a result of the 1988-1994 military conflict is pushing Azerbaijan to use force to restore its sovereignty and territorial integrity," he said.
M.Aliyev and R.Hafizoglu contributed to the article.