Baku, Azerbaijan, Sept. 23
By Elmira Tariverdiyeva - Trend:
The world has once again witnessed a LEGAL secession referendum - the Scottish referendum on secession from the UK. And although Scotland eventually refused to part from the United Kingdom, the very fact of holding a referendum triggered many unrecognized separatist regions to try to use it as a reminder of themselves and claim their own mythical rights.
Armenian experts and political analysts, as well as officials of this country are not an exception. They attempted to thrust upon the world a myth of their own - that the Nagorno-Karabakh is a region that "legally" seceded from Azerbaijan through a referendum.
Western media journalists and even some Russian media, who are not informed about the international law, have immediately picked up on another lie of the Armenian side. But, let's dot the i's and cross the t's.
The analogies, drawn in this matter by the Armenian experts, are the outcomes arising from the hopeless situation of the separatist authority in Azerbaijan's occupied region, which has not been recognized by any country.
In fact, the Scottish referendum is a classic self-determination, which has all the legal bases, and comparing it with the realities of Nagorno-Karabakh is wrong and offensive towards Scotland itself.
They key point here is that the referendum was agreed upon with the British government. In other words, the referendum was held with the consent of the central government and that is why it is absolutely legitimate in terms of international law.
The question of holding a "referendum" in Nagorno-Karabakh, which the Armenian authorities are tirelessly talking about, has a slightly different story. And, for some reason, Armenia doesn't wish to say it as it is.
Firstly, the Azerbaijani government has never given a formal or informal consent to holding a referendum for secession of any region from the country. It is noteworthy that the Azerbaijani constitution doesn't envisage the possibility of secession of any part of the country's territory through voting. Therefore, the "referendum" held in Nagorno-Karabakh in 1991 was illegitimate.
The second important factor is that the international community recognized neither the first "referendum" of 1991, nor the second "referendum" held in 2006 to adopt the constitution of the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region.
Additionally, the significant difference between the situations in Scotland and Nagorno-Karabakh is that the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict has nothing to do with the principle of "self-determination of peoples", as the 'Karabakh people' simply do not exist, while Scots are a separate nation.
Third - the "referendum" was held not by the population of Nagorno-Karabakh, but only by Armenians living in this territory of Azerbaijan after expelling a million of representatives of the titular nation - Azerbaijanis.
So there is no point to talk about the "self-determination" of Nagorno-Karabakh. The substitution of the notion of "self-determination of peoples" for the "occupation of foreign territories" is inappropriate and offensive towards the international law.
The international community regards the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict as a territorial dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Therefore, the representatives of the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region do not participate in the negotiations on the settlement of the conflict.
The principle of territorial integrity is a priority in interstate conflicts. No one questions Azerbaijan's territorial integrity which is supported by the international community and recognized by the governments of all countries.
Elmira Tariverdiyeva is Trend Agency's staff commentator