PACE urges Armenia to withdraw armed forces from occupied Azerbaijani territories

PACE urges Armenia to withdraw armed forces from occupied Azerbaijani territories

Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan. 27

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PACE has urged Armenia to withdraw its armed forces from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, the resolution titled "Inhabitants of frontier regions of Azerbaijan are deliberately deprived of water" says.

The resolution was adopted at a PACE session Jan. 26.

The text of the resolution has been promulgated. The resolution was adopted on the basis of the report of MP Milica Markovic (Bosnia and Herzegovina).

The Parliamentary Assembly reminds all its member states that the right to water is essential to life and health, in accordance with the Helsinki Rules of 1966 and the Berlin Rules of 2004 on water resources, and thus constitutes a prior condition for the enjoyment of other human rights.

The Assembly considers that the deliberate creation of an artificial environmental crisis must be regarded as "environmental aggression" and seen as a hostile act by one State towards another aimed at creating environmental disaster areas and making normal life impossible for the population concerned.

The Assembly deplores that the occupation by Armenia of Nagorno-Karabakh and other adjacent areas of Azerbaijan creates similar humanitarian and environmental problems for the citizens of Azerbaijan living in the Lower Karabakh valley.

The Assembly notes that the lack of regular maintenance work for over twenty years on the Sarsang reservoir, located in one of the areas of Azerbaijan occupied by Armenia, poses a danger to the whole border region. The Assembly emphasizes that the state of disrepair of the Sarsang dam could result in a major disaster with great loss of human life and possibly a fresh humanitarian crisis.

In view of this urgent humanitarian problem, the Assembly requests the Armenian authorities to cease using water resources as tools of political influence or an instrument of pressure benefiting only one of the parties to the conflict.

The Assembly also condemned the Armenian parliamentary delegation's refusal from the cooperation in preparing a detailed on-the-spot survey.

The Sarsang reservoir was built to provide residents with water and irrigate agriculture in the border areas. But after the occupation of these lands, Armenia has been using this reservoir as a tool of humanitarian and ecological terror.

In winter, the Armenian side intentionally opens the floodgates and creates conditions for flooding of the surrounding areas. In summer, Armenia doesn't allow to use the reservoir. As a result, there are serious problems in provision of people with water, irrigating agriculture and preserving biodiversity.

The use of water, according to international conventions, is an integral part of human rights.
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 withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.

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