Azerbaijani community of Karabakh appeals to world (UPDATE 2)

First version posted at 18:16, Dec. 21

Baku, Azerbaijan, Dec. 21

Trend:

The Congress of the “Azerbaijani Community of the Nagorno-Karabakh Region” Public Union has disseminated an appeal, Trend reports with reference to the Union Dec. 21.

The appeal reads that the wave of Armenian separatism, which began in the late 80s of the last century in the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan, contributed to a conflict on ethnic grounds, expulsion of compatriots from the originally Azerbaijani lands in Armenia and from the Nagorno-Karabakh region, occupation of 20 percent of Azerbaijani territories - the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven adjacent districts as a result of military aggression against Azerbaijan by Armenia.

This wave also contributed to the policy of ethnic cleansing in these territories, and as a result, over one million Azerbaijanis became refugees and IDPs, according to the appeal.

“From the first days of the conflict that is lasting for 30 years, Armenia, while still in the Soviet Union, started to openly put forward territorial claims to the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region of Azerbaijan and to actively support separatism accompanied by violence and terror against the local Azerbaijani population,” reads the appeal. “At the same time, the Armenian side made a number of illegal decisions with the aim of unilaterally separating the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region from Azerbaijan and joining it to Armenia.”

“However, during the Soviet period, on Jan. 10, 1990, the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR adopted a resolution “On incompatibility of acts on Nagorno-Karabakh adopted by the Supreme Soviet of the Armenian SSR on Dec.1, 1989 and Jan. 9, 1990 with the USSR Constitution”, declaring the annexation of Nagorno-Karabakh by Armenia without Azerbaijan’s permission as illegal,” the appeal reads.

All these facts demonstrate that back at that time, it was confirmed at the highest constitutional level that the unilateral secession of Nagorno-Karabakh without Azerbaijan’s permission contradicts the law of the USSR, says the appeal.

Therefore, after Azerbaijan gained independence, Nagorno-Karabakh, according to the laws of that period, was recognized as an integral part of Azerbaijan, the Union said.

“Despite all this, Armenia, by grossly violating the UN Charter, the norms and principles of international law, started an open war against Azerbaijan, occupied the Nagorno-Karabakh region, including seven adjacent districts of Azerbaijan,” reads the appeal. “In the occupied territories, Armenia carried out ethnic cleansing against the Azerbaijani population, including in Nagorno-Karabakh."

"The 80,000 people Azerbaijani community of Nagorno-Karabakh has been forced to live for about 30 years as IDPs in various Azerbaijani districts. The world community and international organizations recognize Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity and support fair settlement of the conflict in accordance with international norms."

The appeal noted that Armenia, while maintaining the status quo based on the occupation, pursues an annexation policy in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, including Nagorno-Karabakh, and seeks to intentionally present these actions as "self-determination of peoples".

"To this end, Armenia attempts to deny the existence of the Azerbaijani community of Nagorno-Karabakh, destroys the material and cultural heritage of the Azerbaijani people in Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding areas. The right to self-determination of peoples, which is one of the highest principles of international law, in no way implies a violation of the rights of other peoples, committing violence. Fundamental human rights and freedom are universal and should equally apply to all humanity without discrimination. In accordance with OSCE documents, despite Armenia and Azerbaijan are parties in resolving the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict, the Azerbaijani and Armenian communities of Nagorno-Karabakh are identified as interested parties. As part of a just settlement of the conflict, Armenian troops should be withdrawn from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, forced migrants, including the Azerbaijani population of the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan should be provided with a safe and dignified return to Nagorno-Karabakh and use of their civil rights," the appeal reads.

"The Azerbaijani community calls on the international community, in particular the OSCE Minsk Group co-chair countries to increase their efforts to contribute to the settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict and to maintain contacts between the Azerbaijani and Armenian communities of the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan."

The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.

The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.

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