Azeri UN Rep. Blasts Karabakh Mediators

WASHINGTON (Combined Sources)–Azerbaijan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations on Friday criticized as “equivocal and illogical” a recent statement by international mediators for stating that two Azeri circulated reports in the UN were “subversive” to the Nagorno-Karabakh peace talks.

The Russian, French and American Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group Thursday released a statement criticizing Azerbaijan for introducing the two “subversive” reports at the UN General Assembly on December 24 and 29, 2008.

The first report alleged that Armenia had committed military aggression against Azerbaijan and made the case for Azerbaijan’s right to “defend” itself. The second document claimed that Nagorno-Karbakh’s right to self-determination is invalid and contradicts with international legal norms. Both reports assert that Armenia’s “invasion of Armenia” is a violation of international law.

“Our reports will be important sources of information for the sides taking interest in these resolutions,” Ambassador Agshin Mehdiyev told the Azeri Press Agency’s Washington Bureau Friday, adding that both documen’s cover Azerbaijan’s official position on the Karabakh conflict. “We consider that it is difficult to find a fair formula of solution, unless the conflict and the actions of the parties involved in the conflict are assessed within the framework of the international law.”

Mehdiyev invoked the UN Charter and the OSCE Helskinki Final act to argue that it was within Azerbaijan’s rights to seek a military solution to “take proper steps within international legal norms to restore the territorial integrity of our country.”

“It is clear that Armenia pursues an aggressive policy at present and Azerbaijani lands are under occupation,” he asserted. “Azerbaijan being a victim of the aggressive policy of Armenia is able to defend itself at present.”

“Despite two reports circulated at the request of the Permanent Representative of Azerbaijan to the United Nations on December 24 and 29, 2008, there is no military solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,” ambassadors Bernard Fassier of France, Yury Merzlyakov of Russia, and Matthew Bryza of the United States said in the statement.

Referring to the UN reports, the Co-Chairs said they would “not allow the peace process to "be subverted by legalistic or historical discussions."

“The Co-Chairs further believe the above-mentioned reports should have no bearing on negotiations within the Minsk Group in pursuit of a peaceful and political settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,” The Minsk Group Statement said.

Mehdiyev brushed off the UN’s concerns. The reports, he said, present Azerbaijan’s position on solving the “conflict within the framework of international norms, sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

“The Declaration covers the conflict parties’ commitmen’s to international legal norms,” he said. “International law has unambiguously determined the norms about rights of the side suffered from occupation, role and responsibility of occupier, occupation fact.”

Mehdiyev said that two more draft resolutions on the “situation of the occupied Azerbaijani territories” and “frozen conflicts in GUAM,” will be discussed during the 63rd session of the UN General Assembly.

Statement of the Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group

PARIS/MOSCOW/WASHINGTON–The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Ambassadors Bernard Fassier of France, Yury Merzlyakov of Russia, and Matthew Bryza of the United States, released the following statement today:

"The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group stress that, despite two reports circulated at the request of the Permanent Representative of Azerbaijan to the United Nations on December 24 and 29, 2008, there is no military solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The Co-Chairs further underscore the non-use of force as a core element of any just and lasting settlement of the conflict.

Presidents Ilham Aliyev and Serge Sargsyan described their most recent meeting, in Zurich on January 28, 2009, as useful and constructive, despite two Azerbaijani reports circulated in the United Nations General Assembly one month earlier. At the conclusion of their Zurich meeting, the Presidents reiterated their commitment to the Minsk Group peace process, and asked the Co-Chairs to intensify their efforts to help the parties bridge their remaining differences with regard to the Basic Principles.

In subsequent public statemen’s, both Presidents underscored their enduring commitment to the Minsk Group’s mediation effort. Therefore, the Minsk Group’s Co-Chairs will visit the region before the end of February to help the parties to accelerate their efforts to finalize the Basic Principles.

The Minsk Group Co-Chairs will not allow the peace process to be subverted by legalistic or historical discussions, though they will remain sensitive to historical concerns expressed by the parties to the conflict, all of which must be addressed in due course. The Co-Chairs further believe the above-mentioned reports should have no bearing on negotiations within the Minsk Group in pursuit of a peaceful and political settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, to which both Presidents committed themselves in their Moscow Declaration of November 2, 2009."

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