WASHINGTON–The United States, which serves along with the Russian Federation and France as Co-chairs of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Minsk Group charged with leading talks toward a Nagorno-Karabakh settlement, voted last week against the passage of a biased and destructive United Nations General Assembly resolution offered by Azerbaijan, reported the Armenian National Committee of America.
"We welcome the vote of the United States against Azerbaijan’s biased and destructive attempt to undermine the OSCE peace process," said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. "Rather than sincerely committing to the path of peace, Baku’s most recent round of venue-shopping sadly is aimed at undercutting the ongoing negotiations–as they have done through their escalating threats
of renewed war and their recent attacks on Nagorno-Karabakh–and, domestically, at distracting pre-presidential election public attention away from the growing popular discontent with President Aliyev’s increasingly corrupt and undemocratic government."
The non-binding UN resolution, introduced by Azerbaijan on February 20th and taken up by the General Assembly on March 14th, demanded the "immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal of all Armenian forces from all the occupied territories of the Republic of Azerbaijan." Despite concerns expressed by the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs that the resolution could undermine the ongoing peace process, Azerbaijan persisted in pushing the measure to a vote, which it won with 39 in favor, 7 against, and 100 abstentions. Those voting against the resolution were: Angola, Armenia, France, India, Russian Federation, United States, and Vanuatu.
Following passage of the resolution, Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian characterized the Azerbaijani effort as hypocritical.
"On the one hand, in an effort to misinform member states, the resolution included a paragraph that supports the OSCE Minsk Process, while on the other hand, Azerbaijan blatantly ignored the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs position. The co-chair countries had made clear they would not support the resolution and in fact voted against the resolution," noted the Minister.
In response to press inquiries, the US Embassy in Azerbaijan’s Public Affairs officer, Jonathan Henick, noted that, "The most efficient structure to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is the OSCE Minsk Group."
The UN resolution comes in the wake of several months of increasingly vocal threats of renewed war by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, followed up by recent attacks by Azerbaijani forces against defensive positions in the Mardakert Region of Nagorno-Karabakh. Congressional Armenian Caucus co-chairs Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Joe Knollenberg (R-MI) joined last month with more than 50 of their House colleagues in condemning Baku’s war rhetoric.
"As the Co-Chairs of the Armenian Caucus, we are deeply disturbed by the preventable loss of life along the Line of Contact between Nagorno-Karabakh and
Azerbaijan that took place on March 4th… It is troubling that Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has acted on his history of warmongering rhetoric," the Caucus co-chairs asserted, following the Mardakert assaults.