STRASBOURG, France, YEREVAN, STEPANAKERT—The Committee of Social Affairs of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on Monday approved an anti-Armenian report, the second of such reports to be approved at PACE, this time targeting the Sarsang Reservoir in the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.
On Monday, the committee adopted a report drafted by Bosnian PACE Rapporteur Milica Markovic entitled “Intentional deprivation of the residents of the Azerbaijani border regions of water” accusing Karabakh of deliberately depriving water to residents of Azerbaijan that border the region of Artsakh where the Sarsang reservoir sits.
Naira Karapetyan, a member of the Armenian delegation to PACE, explained that the report was filed without visiting the area, saying that the committee turned down Armenian requests to speak at the meeting and rejected questions about the rapporteur’s visit to the region.
She said Armenia will present a report, within 48 hours, that details why the aforementioned report is imbalanced.
Earlier this month, the Artskah Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ani Sargsyan said that the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic was ready to host a PACE delegation regarding the Sarsang Reservoir.
On November 5, PACE’s Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy approved an anti-Armenian report entitled “Escalation of Violence in Nagorno-Karabakh and Other Occupied Territories of Azerbaijan” by Robert Walter, a PACE rapporteur from the United Kingdom, who has been an outspoken supporter of Azerbaijan and in July was granted Turkish citizenship.
The Russian, American and French co-chairmen of the OSCE Minks Group, tasked with negotiating a peaceful resolution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, issued an announcement rejecting the PACE report and saying that third party intervention hinders the fragile peace negotiations.
Karabakh Responds to Latest PACE Report
Nagorno-Karabakh Republic’s presidential spokesperson Davit Babayan on Tuesday reiterated his country’s conviction that the rapporteurs from PACE are being lured by Azerbaijan’s caviar and oil money.
“Reports with no political, legal significance come to the fore which is a serious moral blow to PACE itself and democratic values. People involved in those corruptive schemes think of nothing but money,” said Babayan, adding that Armenia must clearly introduce its position to let all parties know that such a document which is bought, sold and ordered will have no essential impact on the will and determination of the Armenians.
He emphasized that Artsakh on numerous occasions has suggested to Azerbaijan realms of cooperation related to the distribution of Sarsang Reservoir water resources, but their response has made it clear that the Azerbaijani side is not interested in that.
Babayan also added that Baku has not prioritized development of the ecological and agriculture sector in Azerbaijan due to low dividends to its economy.
Babayan concluded saying that the Azerbaijani authorities, who are the only ones to blame for the fact that their population does not have water, attempt to mislead their population by winning political dividends.
Armenia’s Foreign Ministry Says PACE Adds Fuel to Baku’s Propaganda Machine
Armania’s Deputy Foreign Minister Shavarsh Kocharyan on Tuesday called this latest PACE measure as adding fuel to Azerbaijan’s propaganda machine.
“Quite recently we witnessed the response of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs on the report of the British parliamentarian R. Walter presented to the PACE Committee on Political Affairs. The statement of the Co-Chairs, in particular, outlined that considering the sensitivity of the negotiations, attempts to create parallel mechanisms can disrupt the negotiation process and impede progress towards a settlement. Indeed, after this clear warning, presenting a draft of another report, which distorts the issues related to the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, this time, at the PACE Committee for Social Affairs is openly aimed at failing the efforts undertaken by the Co-Chairs in the Nagorno-Karabakh issue,” said Kocharyan.
He added that the PACE report falls in line with Baku’s policy of undermining the negotiation process, and it relentless efforts aimed at escalating the situation along the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan and on the Line of Contact with Nagorno-Karabakh, shifting the discussions on the issue into other formats and constantly voicing criticism addressed at the Co-Chairs.
“Worrisome is the fact that some PACE parliamentarians intentionally or unintentionally are becoming tools of the Azerbaijani propaganda, and, by their vote distorting the reality, they first of all are discrediting themselves and trying to shadow the PACE authority,” said Kocharyan.