Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 14
Armenia must finally understand that the military occupation of the territory of Azerbaijan is not a solution and will never produce a political outcome desired by Armenia, spokesperson of Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry Hikmat Hajiyev told Trend.
He noted that this year marks the 30 years of Armenian aggressive separatism started in Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan in late 80s of the last century.
"As is known, since the beginning of 1988, Armenia overtly laid claim to and engaged in active support of aggressive separatism in the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast (NKAO) of Azerbaijan. Those claims were preceded by the attacks on the Azerbaijanis both in Nagorno-Karabakh and in Armenia, resulting in civilian casualties and a flood of Azerbaijani refugees and internally displaced persons. Thus, at the end of 1980s, more than 200,000 Azerbaijanis were forcefully expelled from Armenia. More than 40,000 indigenous Azerbaijanis of Nagorno-Karabakh were also subjected to ethnic cleansing and brutal terror attacks," Hajiyev said.
"In all, as a result of terrorist acts against Azerbaijan, carried out since the late 1980s by the Armenian secret service and some Armenian organizations closely connected with it, including criminal acts against roads, railways, sea and air transport and ground communications, over 2,000 citizens of Azerbaijan have been killed, the majority of them women, the elderly and children."
"In parallel, a number of illegal decisions were taken to institute the process of unilateral secession of Nagorno-Karabakh region from Azerbaijan. The attempts made by the Armenian separatists of Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia to alter the borders (or remove Nagorno-Karabakh from the recognized territory of Azerbaijan) were not accepted neither by Azerbaijan nor by the authorities of the USSR. On July 18, 1988, the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR (faced with the request of the National Assembly of the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast to join Armenia from Feb. 20, 1988, the refusal of Azerbaijan on June 13 and 17 and the support of the request by Armenia on June 15) decided to leave the territory within the Azerbaijan SSR."
"On Dec. 1, 1989, the Supreme Soviet of Armenia adopted a resolution calling for the unification of the Armenian SSR with Nagorno-Karabakh. However, on Jan. 10, 1990, the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR adopted a resolution on the “Nonconformity of the acts of Armenian SSR Supreme Soviet concerning Nagorno-Karabakh adopted on Dec. 1, 1989 and Jan. 9, 1990 with the USSR Constitution ”, declaring the illegality of the proposed unification of Armenia with Nagorno-Karabakh without the consent of Azerbaijan. On Aug. 30, 1991, the Azerbaijan SSR adopted a Declaration on the restoration of state independence of Azerbaijan and this was officially confirmed on Oct. 18, 1991 and Dec. 29, 1991."
According to the spokesperson of the Foreign Ministry, the unlawfulness of attempted unilateral secession of Nagorno-Karabakh without Azerbaijan’s consent was confirmed at the highest constitutional level within the Soviet legal system. According to the applicable law at the moment Azerbaijan gained independence its territory clearly included Nagorno-Karabakh.
"Armenia’s claims of the so-called independence or unification with Nagorno-Karabakh are contradicting to the internationally accepted principle of uti possidetis and therefore unsustainable in international law. The principle of uti possidetis establishes that Azerbaijan validly gained independence within the borders that it had under Soviet law in the period preceding its declaration of independence."
"At the end of 1991 and the beginning of 1992, when the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics ceased to exist and both Armenia and Azerbaijan attained independence and gained international recognition, armed hostilities and attacks against populated areas within Azerbaijan intensified and escalated into a full-fledged inter-state war. As a result of war unleashed by Armenia against Azerbaijan, a significant part of Azerbaijan’s territory, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region, the seven adjacent districts (Lachin, Kalbajar, Zangilan, Gubadli, Jabrayil, parts of Fuzuli and Aghdam) and some exclaves were occupied by Armenia. More than 700,000 Azerbaijanis from the seven adjacent regions were forcefully expelled and became target of notorious ethnic cleansing."
Hajiyev added that in order to disguise its direct responsibility for military aggression against Azerbaijan, Armenia distorts and misinterprets the principle of the people’s right to self-determination and asserts that this principle may be applied in the form of unilateral secession of the Armenians living in the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan.
"Armenia has established illegal puppet regime in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, which is nothing but than occupation and aggression. In reality, such a view has nothing in common with the principle of self-determination set forth in the Charter of the United Nations, the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (Helsinki Final Act) of 1975 and other international documents. Moreover, it is abundantly clear that claims of self-determination are unsustainable when they are accompanied by egregious violations of international law, including its peremptory norms (jus cogens), such as those prohibiting the threat or use of force against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of countries."
"Consequently, Armenia’s assertions cannot affect neither the legal position existing during the critical period leading up to and including the independence of Azerbaijan, nor the legal position after the independence. The UN Security Council in its relevant resolutions on the conflict has reaffirmed that Nagorno-Karabakh is a part of Azerbaijan, and it has been repeatedly stated at the international level from that time onward. It is important to note that the resolutions of the Security Council, recognizing that Nagorno-Karabakh constitutes a part of Azerbaijan and reaffirming the inviolability of international borders and the inadmissibility of the use of force for the acquisition of territory, were adopted after the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh had unilaterally declared their “independence”. The Security Council made it absolutely clear that the unilateral declaration of independence in a given situation is invalid."
"Consequently, these conclusions can be drawn: 1) the principle of uti possidetis establishes that Azerbaijan validly came to independence within the borders that it had under Soviet law in the period preceding its declaration of independence; 2) these borders included the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh as affirmed by the legitimate authorities of the USSR of the relevant time; 3) Azerbaijan has not consented to the removal of Nagorno-Karabakh from within its own internationally recognized territorial boundaries; 4) neither the purported unification of Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia nor its purported independence have been recognized by any third state; 5) accordingly, the actions of those in control in Nagorno-Karabakh prior to the independence of Azerbaijan offend the principle of uti possidetis and fall to be determined within the legal system of Azerbaijan; 6) the inhabitants of Nagorno-Karabakh are entitled to the right of self-determination within the boundaries of Azerbaijan - there is no applicable right to secession under international law; 7) the actions of those in control in Nagorno-Karabakh following the independence of Azerbaijan amount to secessionist activities and fall to be determined within the domestic legal system of Azerbaijan; 8) the actions of Armenia, up to and including the resort to force, constitute a violation of the fundamental norm of respect for the territorial integrity of states, as well as a violation of other relevant international legal principles, such as rule prohibiting the use of force."
"Armenia must finally understand that the military occupation of the territory of Azerbaijan is not a solution and will never produce a political outcome desired by Armenia," Hikmat Hajiyev said. "The resolution of the conflict is possible only on the basis of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan within its internationally recognized borders."
"The territorial integrity of Azerbaijan has never been and will never be a subject of negotiations. Azerbaijan remains committed to the conflict settlement process based on this understanding. Azerbaijan once again demands that the Armenian side, instead of wasting time and desperately trying to mislead its own people and the international community by searching in agony for arguments in history to justify its annexationist aspirations, which only prove the fallacy of its allegations, cease its policy of occupation and ethnic cleansing and engage constructively in the conflict settlement process, comply with its international obligations and withdraw its forces from the territories of Azerbaijan."