Details added (first version posted on 15:01)
BAKU, Azerbaijan, Nov. 4
If Armenia holds a referendum in Nagorno-Karabakh region or tries to do this, then Yerevan will once again prove that it is a party to the conflict, Azerbaijani MP Elman Mammadov told Trend on Nov. 4.
Mammadov was commenting on Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s proposal to hold a referendum in Nagorno-Karabakh region.
The MP emphasized that Nagorno-Karabakh is the ancestral Azerbaijani land.
“There is no such a separate administrative structure as Nagorno Karabakh to hold an event there,” Mammadov added. “There was the Nagorno-Karabakh autonomous region until November 26, 1991. Then the status of this structure was abolished and it does not exist now.”
“An unrecognized, separatist and criminal structure has been temporarily located there,” the MP said. “Sooner or later it will be responsible for its actions in accordance with the Azerbaijani laws.”
Mammadov added that Pashinyan’s proposal to hold a referendum in Nagorno-Karabakh region is contrary to the norms of the international law.
"Pashinyan is a man who seized power by force as a result of street protests,” the MP said. “On the other hand, what does Armenia have to do with Nagorno-Karabakh region for the Armenian prime minister to propose to hold a referendum in Nagorno-Karabakh?! This is the Azerbaijani territory and not the Armenian one."
"There is another question. Presently, a maximum of 50,000 Armenians live in Nagorno-Karabakh region and the number of the Azerbaijani community of Nagorno Karabakh is more than 80,000 people. Are the Armenians entitled to hold a referendum there?” Mammadov said.
“There is no need to hold such a referendum in Azerbaijan,” Mammadov said. “There is the Azerbaijani constitution and all rights and obligations are regulated by this constitution. The sole purpose of the Armenians is the annexation of Nagorno-Karabakh region to Armenia and the expansion of the country’s territory. On the other hand, if Armenia holds a referendum in Nagorno-Karabakh region or intends to do this, Yerevan thereby confirms again that it is a party to the conflict.”
The MP added that presently, Pashinyan does not have any political authority within the country and in the society; therefore, he makes insane statements and proposals.
"Pashinyan cannot openly tell the Armenian lobby and the unrecognized "regime" in Nagorno-Karabakh region about his powerlessness,” Mammadov said. “Therefore, he is trying to mitigate the tension inside the country by making insane statements and absurd proposals."
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, 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 Nagorno Karabakh and the surrounding districts.