Friday, May 17 2019 16:32
Tatevik Shahunyan

Artsakh Foreign Ministry made a statement in connection with the  continuing speculation of the Azerbaijani authorities regarding the  format of negotiations

Artsakh Foreign Ministry made a statement in connection with the  continuing speculation of the Azerbaijani authorities regarding the  format of negotiations

ArmInfo.The Artsakh Foreign Ministry made a statement in connection with the continuing speculation of the Azerbaijani authorities regarding the format of  the talks.  The statement, in particular, says: "In connection with  the continuing speculations of the Azerbaijani authorities regarding  the format of the negotiations and the legal basis for resolving the  Azerbaijani- Karabakh conflict, we consider it necessary to note the  following.

The Azerbaijani authorities are persistently trying to present the  resolutions of the UN Security Council on Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh)  adopted in 1993 as the legal basis for resolving the  Azerbaijani-Karabakh conflict. Such an approach is one of the  illustrative examples of the arbitrary interpretation of these  documents by the Azerbaijani side. In this regard, it should be noted  that in order to resolve local conflicts, especially those that do  not pose a threat to international peace, the UN Charter prescribes  to appeal, first of all, to regional organizations. This approach was  guided by the UN Security Council regarding the Azerbaijan-Karabakh  conflict, refraining from direct mediation initiatives in support of  the efforts of the CSCE / OSCE, which is directly enshrined in the  resolutions. It is for this reason that the UN Security Council did  not establish any parameters or principles for the settlement of the  Azerbaijani-Karabakh conflict. According to the position of the  international community, expressed in the resolutions of the UN  General Assembly on cooperation between the UN and the OSCE, as well  as the statements of the UN Secretaries-General, the political  settlement of the Azerbaijani-Karabakh conflict is the responsibility  of the OSCE, which issued the mandate of the United States, Russia  and France to mediate.  In addition, like any other documents, UN  Security Council resolutions cannot be considered outside the context  of the time and circumstances of their adoption. All four resolutions  were adopted during the period of active hostilities and were aimed  at putting an end to the war and starting a political dialogue to  reach a settlement by peaceful means only through negotiation, as  required by the UN Charter. The fact that the UN Security Council did  not deal with the political settlement of the Azerbaijani-Karabakh  conflict is confirmed by the fact that, after Artsakh  (Nagorno-Karabakh) concluded by Azerbaijan and Armenia the indefinite  Agreement on a full cease-fire and military actions of May 12, 1994,  he no longer adopted resolutions on Artsakh. It should be especially  emphasized that the resolutions of the UN Security Council were not  implemented precisely because of the position of Azerbaijan, which  categorically refused to fulfill in full and in time the basic  requirement of all resolutions - an immediate ceasefire, all  hostilities and hostile acts. During the year from the moment of the  adoption of the first resolution to the conclusion in May 1994 of the  indefinite Ceasefire Agreement, the Azerbaijani side repeatedly broke  the agreement on a temporary truce or refused to renew them. Against  the background of unwillingness to guarantee peace and bind  themselves to cease hostilities, appeals from official Baku to UN  Security Council resolutions were aimed at achieving a military  advantage to continue the war.

In addition, Azerbaijan's deliberate policy of destabilizing the  contact line between Artsakh and Azerbaijan's armed forces, its  unwillingness to take measures to build confidence and reduce  tension, encouraging xenophobia and hatred against Armenians,  refusing to conduct direct negotiations with Artsakh, trying in every  possible way isolating it, as well as obstructing visits to Artsakh  by representatives of specialized humanitarian organizations, are  contrary to a number of requirements and izyvov contained in UN  Security Council resolutions, namely to refrain from any action that  will obstruct a peaceful solution to the conflict (resolution 822,  853); immediately cease all hostilities and hostile acts in order to  establish a lasting cease-fire (resolution 822); negotiate through  direct contacts between the parties (resolution 853); ensure the  early convening of the CSCE Minsk Conference in order to achieve a  negotiated settlement of the conflict (resolution 874); restore  economic, transport and energy ties in the region (resolution 853);  to ensure the smooth implementation of international humanitarian  assistance activities (resolutions 822, 853, 874).

The sabotage of resolutions by Azerbaijan, its attempts to use them  to achieve directly opposite goals and justify the continuation of  hostilities created a situation in which the UN Security Council  ceased to adopt new resolutions. The statement of the Council of  Heads of State of the Commonwealth of Independent States dated April  15, 1994 and the Bishkek Protocol, signed by the heads of the  parliaments of Artsakh, Armenia and Azerbaijan on May 5-8, 1994,  paved the way for the military leaders of the three parties to the 12  May 1994.

Attempts by Azerbaijan to present certain provisions of UN Security  Council resolutions that were torn by him 26 years ago as a basis for  resolving the Azerbaijani-Karabakh conflict contradict the principle  of good faith. Appealing to these resolutions, official Baku actually  seeks to achieve a result (achieving a military advantage), which  contradicts the goals of the resolutions (exclusively peaceful  resolution of the conflict to strengthen peace and stability).  Another evidence of the inadequate interpretation by official Baku of  the UN Security Council resolutions and the norms of international  law in general is an attempt to present a consent to negotiate as a  compromise with the Azerbaijani side. Meanwhile, the peaceful  settlement of disputes, including through negotiations, is a legally  binding requirement of the UN Charter and cannot be negotiated.

In addition, on March 14, 2008, Azerbaijan initiated the adoption by  the UN General Assembly of a resolution on Nagorno-Karabakh, thereby  confirming that the Security Council does not deal with the  settlement of the Azerbaijani-Karabakh conflict, and its four  resolutions adopted in 1993 are not applicable as settlement  principles. According to paragraph 1 of Article 12 of the UN Charter,  <when the Security Council fulfills the functions entrusted to it by  this Charter in relation to any dispute or situation, the General  Assembly cannot make any recommendations regarding this dispute or  situation unless the Security Council requests about this>. It is  noteworthy that all three co-chairing states of the Minsk Group, who  are also permanent members of the UN Security Council, voted against  this resolution of the General Assembly.

The arguments of Baku regarding the format of the negotiation process  on the settlement of the Azerbaijani-Karabakh conflict are also  unfounded. The Azerbaijani side, as a confirmation of its position,  is trying to present one of the early letters of the first chairman  of the Minsk conference, Mario Raffaelli, ignoring both the general  context of the discussion on the negotiation format and subsequent  decisions taken by the OSCE on this issue. It should be noted that on  September 23, 1992, just a week after the previous letter, to which  the Azerbaijani side refers, Mario Raffaelli sent a new letter to the  CSCE Chairman-in-Office Joseph Moravchik. In it, the chairman of the  Minsk Conference stresses that <the Italian presidency steadfastly  adhered to and continues to adhere to the principle that the formula  <elected and other representatives> does not allow for a distinction  between the Armenian and Azerbaijani sides of Nagorno-Karabakh.  Further, Mario Raffaelli notes that <classification of the mandate  establishing such a distinction would be justified>. <The population  of Armenian descent is certainly not only the main interested party  because it is 4 times larger than the population of Azerbaijan  origin, but also because it exercises de facto control of the  territory, but also is a party interested in changing the status quo.  Thus, for any objective observer, it (the Armenian population of  Nagorno-Karabakh - the Artsakh Foreign Ministry) is the main  interlocutor of the Azerbaijani government, "the letter says.

The subsequent course of the conflict convincingly demonstrated that  Artsakh is one of the main parties to the conflict. This is evidenced  by, inter alia, several rounds of direct negotiations between Artsakh  and Azerbaijan, including a summit, as well as more than 10  agreements reached in 1993 directly between Stepanakert and Baku on  limiting military actions, temporary truce or its extension. In 1993,  the status of Artsakh as a full-fledged party to the conflict was  recognized by the international community, which later was reflected  in both the resolutions of the UN Security Council to which  Azerbaijan refers, and in the final document of the 1994 Budapest  Summit of the CSCE.

As we have repeatedly noted, according to the final document of the  Budapest Summit, the parties to the conflict are those parties that  confirmed the cease-fire agreement of May 12, 1994. We consider it  necessary to remind once again that the cease-fire agreement of May  12, 1994 was reached by Artsakh, Azerbaijan and Armenia.

On July 26-27, 1994, Artsakh, Azerbaijan and Armenia signed an  additional agreement, in which they confirmed "their commitments to  cease fire, up to the conclusion of a large political agreement". On  August 29, 1994, Artsakh, Azerbaijan and Armenia made official  statements in which they publicly reaffirmed their obligations to  comply with ceasefire agreements.

On August 31, 1994, the Foreign Ministry of the Russian Federation  made a statement in which he noted:  "Moscow welcomes special  statements made these days in Baku, Yerevan and Stepanakert,  expressing satisfaction with the observance of the cease-fire around  Nagorno-Karabakh and on Armenia's the Azerbaijani border, established  through the mediation of the Russian Federation since May 12. The  confirmation by the heads of the military departments of Azerbaijan,  Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh of a cease-fire order, the announcement  by each side of the punishment measures against those guilty of  possible violations, the decision by the parties to observe the  cease-fire until a political agreement on the cessation of armed  conflict increases, that, despite all the difficulties, the peace  process in Karabakh can be made irreversible. On November 12, 1994,  in connection with the six months of the cease-fire, the current  chairman of the Minsk Group, Andres Bjorner, made a statement in  which he "welcomed with satisfaction the encouraging statements that  were simultaneously voiced by the leaders of Azerbaijan, Armenia and  Nagorno-Karabakh, in which they reaffirm their firm commitments to  the cease-fire until the signing of a broader political agreement>.  It should also be noted that the text of the statements was proposed  to the parties by Andres Bjorner and Plenipotentiary Representative  of the President of Russia, Ambassador Vladimir Kazimirov.

On February 3, 1995, the Minsk Group co-chairmanship addressed the  leadership of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Artsakh with a proposal to  strengthen the cease-fire regime. After receiving consent from all  three parties, the mediators sent a notification to Azerbaijan,  Armenia and Artsakh about the entry into force of the agreement, and  also indicated the numbers of the government long-distance telephone  connection in Baku, Yerevan and Stepanakert for direct emergency  communication. All these facts leave no doubt that the wording of the  final document of the Budapest Summit on the parties that confirmed  the cease-fire agreement implies Azerbaijan, Armenia and Artsakh  (Nagorno-Karabakh). The final clarity on this issue was introduced by  the OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Hungarian Foreign Minister Laszlo  Kovachem, who made a special statement at the meeting of the OSCE  Governing Council on March 31, 1995 in Prague and <confirmed the  earlier decisions of the OSCE on the status of the parties, i.e. on  the participation of the two participating States involved in the  conflict, as well as a third party to the conflict (Nagorno-Karabakh)  in the entire negotiation process, including the Minsk Conference>.

It was in this trilateral format that the negotiations within the  Minsk Group continued until April 1997, until they were in fact  disrupted by the Azerbaijani side, which attempted to impose the  non-consensus proposals submitted by Azerbaijan during the 1996 OSCE  Lisbon summit as a basis for settlement. It is noteworthy that after  the start of the high-level meetings between Armenia and Azerbaijan,  the OSCE did not consider bilateral dialogue as a substitute for  negotiations within the OSCE Minsk Group. In particular, at the 1999  OSCE Istanbul Summit, supporting the dialogue between the presidents  of Armenia and Azerbaijan and calling for its continuation, the OSCE  participating States at the same time expressed hope for the  resumption of negotiations in the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group. 

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