Baku, Azerbaijan, July 7
British MP, Chairman of the Azerbaijan All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) Bob Blackman has criticized a forthcoming visit of Bako Sahakyan, so-called 'president' of the unrecognized regime in Azerbaijan`s occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region, to London.
Bob Blackman told The European Azerbaijan Society (TEAS) that he has already sent a letter of protest to Robin Niblett, Director of Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs, which invited Sahakyan to speak.
"Only last week I was at a book launch commemorating the Khojaly tragedy, so it was a shock to hear that Bako Sahakyan, so-called 'president' of the unrecognized occupying regime in Nagorno-Karabakh, has been invited by Chatham House to speak," Bob Blackman said in his letter.
"The UK government does not recognize the illegal regime in Nagorno-Karabakh however as private individual the UK government has no power to stop Sahakyan from visiting the UK," he said. "This is a private visit with no official recognition, however as chair of the Azerbaijan APPG it saddens me to think that somebody who has caused so much suffering is being given a platform to speak at a prestigious institution like Chatham House and would call for this event to be cancelled."
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 two countries signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Russia, France and the US are currently holding peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented the UN Security Council's four resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.