YEREVAN (Combines Sources)–Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian Monday condemned as hypocritical and detrimental to ongoing negotiations an Azerbaijani drafted resolution on the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict passed by the UN General Assembly Friday.
The non-binding resolution, which was adopted by a vote of only 39 countries, was Azerbaijan’s attempt to secure international support for its own desired solution in the Nagorno Karabakh resolution process, Oskanian told a press conference Monday.
The US, Russia and France voted against the resolution, stressing the importance of continued mediation efforts through the OSCE Minsk Group, which they co-chair. They were joined by Armenia, Angola, India, and Vanuatu. Over 150 countries abstained or did not vote. Only 39 countries supported the resolution, out of organizational affinity with either GUAM or the Organization of Islamic Conference.
Although the non-binding resolution passed the General Assembly, the rejection of Azerbaijan’s position by an overwhelming majority is a barometer for the mood of the international community on this issue, Oskanian explained.
"I hope Azerbaijan got the message from the international community," Oskanian said. "Taking the lead of the co-chairs, a majority of member states repelled the one-sided approach."
Oskanian characterized the resolution 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," Oskanian explained. "The co-chair countries had made clear they would not support the resolution and in fact voted against the resolution."
"Now we wonder what Azerbaijan’s next move will be," he said. "We question whether this resolution was intended to derail the negotiating process or whether they got the clear message and will return to the negotiating table to work on a negotiated, compromise solution."
At a press conference last week, Minister Oskanian had stated that Prime Minister and President-Elect Serzh Sarkisian would be prepared to meet with the Azerbaijani President at the earliest possibility, if the co-chairs find this useful and if Azerbaijan accepts.
"This opportunity exists," Oskanian said. "The ball is clearly in Azerbaijan’s court."
"Rejecting Azerbaijan’s resolution, the international community has indicated its support for the negotiating document on the table today which has successfully managed to reconcile the two seemingly contradictory principles of the Helsinki Final Act–people’s right to self-determination and territorial integrity," explained Armenia’s Foreign Minister. "This document presents a unique opportunity for Azerbaijanis and Armenia’s to move forward. This is precisely what sets the Nagorno Karabakh conflict apart in our region and in Europe and makes it different, not only because of its legal and historical context, but also because of the innovative negotiating approach being used to finding a realistic, lasting resolution."
Oskanian also met Saturday with the co-chairs of the Minsk Group to discuss the possibility of resuming talks, the UN resolution and the situation on the line of contact between Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan
"The passage of the resolution on Nagorno Karabakh at the UN General Assembly was not a surprise for us," Armenian Presidential Spokesman Viktor Soghomonian said during a press conference Monday. "It’s not the first time that documen’s with no legal authority are adopted, so Armenia is not worried."
It’s a positive sign that over a hundred countries abstained from the vote, he explained. It means that a majority of countries in the General Assembly understood that such a resolution would not contribute to current negotiations and the resolution of the issue, he added.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said Saturday it was ready to continue active work through the OSCE Minsk Group in order to reach a lasting solution for the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict.
"Russia, alongside France and the United States is ready to continue active efforts within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group in order to accomplish the basic principles for the settlement of the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh," the ministry said in a statement.
The OSCE co-chair countries voted against the resolution because it was a unilateral, untimely and counter-productive measure by Azerbaijan, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
Azerbaijan has been informed about the Minsk Group position in this aspect, the ministry added.
"The draft resolution includes some of the basic principles of the settlement that only speak to the interests of Azerbaijan," the statement read. "The final legal status of Nagorno-Karabakh has not been mentioned. There is no information on ways to determine the legal status of Nagorno-Karabakh by a plebiscite or by free will of the population."
"Such an approach is unacceptable for Armenia and has aggravated prospects for a speedy resumption of Armenian-Azerbaijani talks on the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement after the new Armenian president takes office," the ministry stressed.
Azerbaijan’s Deputy Foreign Minister Araz Azimov said his government will reconsider its relations with the countries co-chairing the OSCE Minks Group.
According to Azeri news agencies, Azimov said that official Baku was surprised at three co-chairs’ stance.
"Azerbaijan will reconsider and make changes to its relations with the co-chair countries within the Minsk process," Azimov said.
He welcomed the adoption of the resolution by the General Assembly.
"Azerbaijan has no intention of moving in the dark any longer," Azimov said. "It should be clear to everyone that the only solution acceptable to Azerbaijan is a solution based on the principle of territorial integrity,"
He added that the adoption of the resolution did not mean Azerbaijan’s intention to change the format of the Karabakh peace talks, Azeri media reported.