In view of Azerbaijan’s ceaseless attempts to manipulate the UN Security Council resolutions on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, we consider it necessary to state the following:
The UN Security Council resolutions on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict were adopted in 1993 — during the active hostilities — and were aimed at putting an end to the war and starting political dialogue. This was due to the main requirement of all four resolutions: cessation of all hostilities and hostile acts.
The UN Security Council resolutions have never been implemented due to Azerbaijan’s position. Azerbaijan categorically refuses to be bound by its obligations to cease hostilities while continuing to insist on Artsakh’s unilateral concessions, undermining Artsakh’s military security. Even after passing the resolutions, Azerbaijan has repeatedly violated the ceasefire agreements — which are explicitly stated in Resolution 884 — and rejected the proposals on the establishment or extension of the ceasefire.
Moreover, Azerbaijan fails to comply not only with the most important requirement of the resolutions on an immediate ceasefire, cessation of all hostilities and hostile acts, but also with all the other obligations: to refrain from any actions that obstruct the peaceful solution of the conflict (Resolutions 822, 853); to continue the negotiations through direct contacts between the parties (Resolution 853); to restore the economic, transport and energy links in the region (Resolution 853); to ensure the unimpeded access for international humanitarian relief efforts (Resolutions 822, 853, 874).
Azerbaijan demonstrates the same selective approach to the “Adjusted timetable of urgent steps to implement Security Council Resolutions 822 and 853,” which was agreed upon and proposed to the parties by the OSCE Minsk Group. The basis of this proposal, supported by the UN Security Council Resolution 874, is the provision on the recognition of Nagorno Karabakh’s leadership as one of the three parties to the conflict.
The May 1993 appeal of the Minsk Conference Italian Chairmanship to the conflicting parties for confirming their readiness to implement Resolution 822 adopted on April 30, 1993, is a characteristic example of Azerbaijan’s real and undeclared attitude to the UN Security Council resolutions. Despite the fact that Azerbaijan initiated the passing of this resolution, it left the request of the Italian Chairmanship unanswered.
Through all its actions, Baku has demonstrated that it considers the UN Security Council resolutions not as a means for ending the war, but as an instrument for achieving a military advantage.
Azerbaijan’s sabotage of the resolutions devalued them to the extent that the UN Security Council ceased to adopt new resolutions, and the mediators were forced to search for another political and legal basis for a ceasefire.
It became the April 15, 1994 statement of the Council of the Heads of State of the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Bishkek Protocol signed by the Parliament Speakers of Nagorno Karabakh, Armenia and Azerbaijan on May 5–8, 1994, which ultimately paved the way for the May 12, 1994 agreement on a complete ceasefire and cessation of military activities.
It should be stressed that, under this agreement, all the parties publicly confirmed the coordinates for the line of ceasefire, thus defining the status quo post bellum. The violation of the line of ceasefire by Azerbaijan during the April 2016 aggression became a serious challenge for the entire conflict’s settlement process. Restoration of the line’s configuration as of May 1994 is an indispensable factor for maintaining peace in the region and an effective deterrent.
Azerbaijan’s attempts to present the UN Security Council resolutions, which Azerbaijan itself violated, as having a binding force in the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict have no legal reasoning and pursue hidden goals that run counter to the negotiation process.
Neither before nor after passing the resolutions did the UN Security Council consider the political settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, refraining from direct mediation initiatives in support of the CSCE/OSCE efforts, which are directly stated in the resolutions. This is also indicated by the fact that, after signing the May 12, 1994 trilateral termless agreement on a full ceasefire and cessation of hostilities, the UN Security Council no longer returned to the issue of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
It should also be taken into account that, according to the UN Charter, the Security Council can make both decisions and recommendations. When considering issues related to the legal force of the UN Security Council documents, the International Court of Justice concluded that the Security Council’s decisions are binding for states, while the recommendations are not. All Security Council resolutions adopted with regard to the conflict are recommendations and not binding.
If Azerbaijan had really considered the resolutions of the UN Security Council as binding and referred to them, proceeding from the interests of achieving final peace, then it would have implemented the requirements and appeals of the resolutions, which mostly refer to Baku.
On the contrary, the targeted policy of the Azerbaijani authorities on destabilizing the situation on the line of contact between the armed forces of Artsakh and Azerbaijan, Baku’s refusal to implement confidence-building measures and to reduce tensions, its propaganda of xenophobia and hatred towards Armenians, refusal to negotiate directly with Artsakh, as well as its efforts to isolate Artsakh by preventing the visits of representatives of specialized UN agencies to the republic run counter to the letter and spirit of the UN Security Council resolutions.
Against the background of the incessant threats by the Azerbaijani authorities and, in particular, the statements by the military leadership that the order for the offensive will be given “at exactly the right moment, taking into account the international political situation,” it becomes obvious that Azerbaijan makes another attempt to manipulate the UN Security Council resolutions in the interests of war, not peace.