Baku, Azerbaijan, May 13
The issues related to the settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the role of international organizations, in particular the UN, the OSCE Minsk Group, which are directly related to the settlement of the long-term problem, were considered during the roundtable discussions in the press-center of Trend news agency.
During the roundtable discussions, the experts assessed the recent provocation of the Armenian side, in particular, the provocative report of the unrecognized "Nagorno-Karabakh Republic" which was posted on the UN website.
The experts also expressed the views on the degree of protection of the legal framework of the adopted documents from the Armenian side’s attacks and assaults and the reason of Armenia’s current intensification.
Moderator of the roundtable discussions, Head of the Expert Council of the Baku Network and Deputy Director General of Trend News Agency Elkhan Alasgarov said that Armenia’s provocative attacks in the UN, its use of procedural moments, attempts to change the structure and format of the negotiation process are different forms of the same policy.
The moderator offered the participants of the roundtable discussions to express their views on the intensification of provocations of the Armenian side through international organizations, as well as the ways of settlement of a long-term problem.
“Armenia’s current intensification is associated with the failures in diplomacy and certain losses in the conflict settlement in terms of diplomatic activity,” one of the participants of the roundtable discussions, Professor Namig Aliyev said.
"The documents that have been adopted by the international organizations are quite important and interrelated, that is, they have a fairly solid legal base, which has been proven for more than a quarter of a century,” he said.
“As for the recent provocation of the Armenian side in the UN, of course, the efforts must be made for the document to be removed from the UN website because to legitimize the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic goes beyond the UN goals,” Aliyev said.
“Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity is recognized by everybody, namely, the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs and international organizations,” he said.
“The Armenian side’s attempts to involve the so-called ‘Nagorno-Karabakh Republic’ in the negotiations are doomed to fail,” he said. “I think that Azerbaijan must intensify its steps and actions on this issue legally.”
“For example, it is necessary to establish a dialogue with the OSCE Minsk Group,” Aliyev said. “I think that our public must ask it questions in open air. We must remind that in 1991 the European community adopted two declarations, where principles for recognizing independent countries that emerged after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the countries of Eastern Europe were adopted. According to the declarations, these countries will be recognized only within the borders that existed during the period of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.”
“So why is this not fulfilled? That is, it is not clearly declared by the countries that voted for this provision and made a decision,” he said. “Why do not they unequivocally state that Armenia committed aggressive acts against Azerbaijan and as a result, the corresponding steps are not applied to the aggressor? Why is the aggressor not required to withdraw troops from the territory of other country?”
“Following these two resolutions, a statement was made by 12 EU countries at the level of foreign ministers,” he said. “According to the statement, the countries created as a result of aggression will not be recognized and this provision is in principle one of the fundamental ones to resolve the conflict. Why do not the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs follow these principles in resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict?”
“Someone says that they do not have a mandate for certain actions,” he added. “Meanwhile, the mandate of the OSCE Minsk Group can be improved if the entire Minsk Conference gathers. So why is not the Minsk Conference gathering for so many years? Why do only the co-chairs act, while the rest members of the Minsk Conference do not take any part in resolving this conflict?”
“I think that the Azerbaijani side should more focus on all these issues,” Aliyev added.
While speaking of the provocation of the Armenian side in the UN, other participant of the roundtable discussions, Azerbaijani ex-Foreign Minister Tofig Zulfugarov stressed that Armenia, as a UN member-state, took advantage of procedural opportunities and it resorted to such fraud several times.
“As for the settlement of the conflict, the negotiation process within the mediation efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group is not the tool through which the occupied territories can be liberated,” he said. "The country that occupied the territories must be ready for this process for the occupied territories to be liberated. Armenia is not ready for that and this is obvious.”
“We must clearly understand that the Armenians will not withdraw its troops from the occupied territories peacefully,” Zulfugarov added. “Azerbaijan also clearly understands that it will be able to force the aggressor to peace through the strength and its defense capabilities.”
“According to the UN standards, there are several forms of impact on the conflicts,” he said. “Among them are conflict prevention, mediation, peace enforcement, and so on. We see that in this case it is impossible to use mediation towards the aggressor because the mediators do not want to change the structure of the impact on the conflict.”
“I don’t think that the UN will suddenly change its attitude to the conflict, start to force Armenia to peace and impose sanctions against it,” Zulfugarov said.
“Therefore, Azerbaijan, in accordance with its rights and the UN Charter, must repel the aggressor, force it to peace and eliminate the consequences of Armenia’s armed aggression against it," he added.
He stressed that the conflict occurs between the two countries and covers all spheres, including defense, economic and diplomatic spheres.
“The process of political settlement of negotiations is only part of the conflict confrontation that we are experiencing,” Zulfugarov said. “We should intensify the work on specifying the relations with the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairing countries, for example, with Russia. It is a mediator in the OSCE Minsk Group, but we know that it is also the guarantor of the security of the Republic of Armenia. The Republic of Armenia unilaterally declared itself the guarantor of security of the so-called ‘occupied territories’.”
“Therefore, we must clarify one issue with Russia,” he added. “Does the security guarantee towards Armenia apply to its unilaterally stated claims to ensure the security of the occupied Azerbaijani territories? I think that we must focus on a dialogue with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and ask how long we have to endure the occupation of our territories, rather than focus on dialogue with the Armenians.”
“The same dialogue must be held in the US and France,” he said. “It is very important to take into account that Russia, France and the US are interested in the Azerbaijan public to have a favorable attitude towards each of these countries."
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.