YEREVAN (Public Radio of Armenia)—Azerbaijan’s claims to Nagorno-Karabakh are void of any historic, legal, political or moral ground, Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian said at the Third International Forum of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) Graduates.
“The people of Nagorno-Karabakh are struggling for their indisputable right for self-determination, a right enshrined in the UN Charter and other founding documents of international law,” Sarkisian said.
“Nagorno-Karabakh has proven its right to exist through a persistent centuries-long struggle. Nagorno-Karabakh has never been part of independent Azerbaijan,” he added.
“A new formation called Azerbaijan appeared on the political map of the South Caucasus after the collapse of the Russian Empire in 1918. Therefore, the claims that Nagorno-Karabakh belonged to Azerbaijan before 1918 are absolutely improper, since the state never existed before. The League of Nations turned down newly-formed Azerbaijan’s bid for membership because of the uncertainty of its borders. Azerbaijanis tried to annex Karabakh by force. Between 1918 and 1920 the Azerbaijani military units committed a massacre of the Armenian population. Over 40,000 Armenians were killed or deported from Shushi, the regional cultural center, only in March 1920. This terrible massacre left a deep and bleeding wound,” Sarkisian said.
Sarkisian added that when the Soviet Union collapsed, there were two independent and equal subjects formed on the territory of the Soviet Socialist Republic of Azerbaijan—the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and the Republic of Azerbaijan.
“Azerbaijan, which had a second chance to create an independent state, repeated the attempt of 1918, launching an aggression against Nagorno-Karabakh, shelling peaceful cities and villages, killing and deporting Armenians,” he said.
Sarkisian reminded audience members that the negotiations on the settlement of the Karabakh conflict are being held within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group—the only body authorized with an international mandate. He noted, however, that Azerbaijan continues to turn down any proposal on the resolution of the conflict and confidence-building measures.
Bu inciting tensions at the Armenian-Azerbaijani border and the line of contact with Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan not only violates its international commitment to refrain from the use of forces or the threat of use of force enshrined in the UN Charter, the Helsinki Final Act and the Declaration on Principles of International Law, but also the commitments assumed under a trilateral ceasefire agreement, ignoring the numerous calls of the heads of state of the Minsk Group co-chairing countries.
Sarkisian concluded his address by reiterating Armenia’s commitment to resolve the Karabakh conflict in a peaceful way.