details added (first version posted on 15:00)
Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 22
Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian needs to be enlightened about the basic principles of international law and the Helsinki Final Act, spokesman for the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry Hikmat Hajiyev said in Baku Feb. 22.
Hajiyev was commenting on Nalbandian’s recent statement at the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the European Parliament.
“In his statement Nalbandian was engaged in distortion of real facts of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the norms and principles of international law, as well as Helsinki Final Act,” Hajiyev said. “Nalbandian put forward absurd allegations against Azerbaijan.”
He said that the respect to the territorial integrity, sovereignty and inviolability of internationally recognized borders of countries is a fundamental corner stone of contemporary international relations.
“The contrary of this is the way towards chaos and the return to the late 30s and early 40s of the last century,” he added.
“The unlawfulness within the Soviet legal system of attempted unilateral secession of Nagorno-Karabakh by Armenian separatists without Azerbaijan’s consent was confirmed at the highest constitutional level,” he said. “The definition of the territory of Azerbaijan as it proceeded to independence and in the light of the applicable law clearly included Nagorno-Karabakh.”
Hajiyev said that Armenia’s territorial claims against Azerbaijan are accompanied with the violence, terror and ethnic cleansing of indigenous Azerbaijani community of Nagorno-Karabakh and transformed into the large-scale war unleashed by Armenia against Azerbaijan after dissolution of USSR.
“As a result, Armenia occupied 20 percent territories of Azerbaijan by use of force and conduced complete ethnic cleansing of Azerbaijani population in the seized lands and in the territory of Armenia,” he said. “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.”
“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,” he said.
“That the Nagorno-Karabakh is part of Azerbaijan was reaffirmed by the UN Security Council in its relevant resolutions on the conflict and from that time onward has been repeatedly stated at the international level,” Hajiyev said.
He said that it is important to note that the resolutions of the Security Council, recognizing that Nagorno-Karabakh constitutes 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”.
“To justify his country’s illegal territorial claims against Azerbaijan and the use of military force, the Armenian foreign minister misinterprets the documents of international organizations, including EU institutions,” he said.
“Of particular interest in this regard is the declaration on the disintegration process in the Soviet Union, adopted by the European Council on December 10, 1991, in which it underlined the importance of respecting the provisions of the Helsinki Final Act and recalled that “…according to these provisions, the frontiers of all states in Europe are inviolable and can only be changed by peaceful means and agreement”,” Hajiyev said.
“Later, in its Guidelines on the Recognition of New States in Eastern Europe and in the Soviet Union, the European Council reiterated the requirement to “respect for the inviolability of all frontiers which can only be changed by peaceful means and by common agreement”,” he said.
“In the Charter of the United Nations and the Helsinki Final Act, to which the Armenian foreign minister refers, the principle of the non-use of force is explicitly linked to the inadmissibility of changing the boundaries of states through violent means and implies a prohibition on the acquisition of territory by force,” he said.
“For this purpose, the Helsinki Final Act expanded Article 2(4) of the UN Charter and codified the territorial integrity, the inviolability of frontiers and the non-use of force as separate principles to emphasize the norm of territorial integrity,” he said.
“These principles were reaffirmed in the Helsinki Final Act in a way to emphasize that they are consequential principles generated by the foundational norm of territorial integrity,” he said.
“Moreover, with regard to self-determination the Article VIII of the Helsinki Final Act establishes: “acting at all times in conformity with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and with the relevant norms of international law, including those relating to territorial integrity of States”,” Hajiyev added.
“In the statement the Armenian foreign minister touches upon the intensification of talks and reduction of tension,” he said. “It is very well known that the main reason of tension is the continuation of occupation and the presence of armed forces of Armenia in the occupied lands of Azerbaijan. In order to reduce the tension and eliminate the facts of military risks Armenia must withdraw its forces from occupied lands of Azerbaijan.”
“Armenia must finally understand that the military occupation of the territory of Azerbaijan does not represent a solution and will never produce a political outcome desired by Armenia,” he 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.”
“Instead of misleading its own people and the international community Armenia must cease its policy of occupation and ethnic cleansing and comply with its international obligations and withdraw its forces from the territories of Azerbaijan,” he said. “Sooner Armenia understands this reality, sooner sustainable peace and security will be established in the region.”
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.