Ariel Cohen: Parallels between referendum in South Sudan and situation around Nagorno-Karabakh misplaced
Azerbaijan, Baku, Jan. 18 / Trend E.Tariverdiyeva /
Situation in the East Timor and South Sudan are very different from the events in the South Caucasus and cannot be compared with the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict or used as a model in this case, the Heritage Foundation's leading expert on Eurasia and Trend Expert Council member Ariel Cohen said.
CIS Institute Armenian Branch Head Alexander Makarov compared the actions of Yerevan, which occupied the Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding regions of Azerbaijan, with the ongoing process of self-determination of South Sudan and East Timor. "A referendum in Nagorno-Karabakh was held 19 years ago, and recent years have shown that Azerbaijan has no rights in respect of Karabakh," he said at the news conference.
The referendum in South Sudan is a classic self-determination under the legal framework. The key point of such a determination is that the referendum was agreed in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement dated Jan. 9, 2005 between the central government and the South.
Sudan is Africa's largest country with a population of 38 million and an area of 2,500,000 square kilometers. Holding a referendum on self-determination of South Sudan has become possible after the peace agreement reached in 2005 between the government and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement leading fight against it in the south. This agreement ended the civil war lasting for years. Up to 2010, 2 million people become the victims of the war and 4 million more became refugees.
Cohen said the United Nations has passed 4 resolutions and clearly expressed its opinion on the pathways to resolution of the Karabakh crisis. So did the chairmen of the OSCE Minsk Group.
"They adjudicated that Armenia needs to relinquish the occupation and allow refugees to return to their homes," he wrote Trend in an e-mail.
"Azerbaijan has promised far reaching concessions, including accepting the liberation of the Azerbaijani districts in Lachin Corridor first and liberation of Karabakh proper later, including a future referendum regarding the final status of Karabakh," he said.
Clearly, Cohen said, the East Timor and South Sudan are very different from the events in the South Caucasus and cannot be compared or used as a model in this case.
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 7 surrounding districts.
Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group - Russia, France, and the U.S. - are currently holding the peace negotiations.
Armenia has not yet implemented the U.N. Security Council's four resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.