In response to remarks made by President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan, who called the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs’ efforts to mediate a settlement to the Karabakh conflict “meaningless,” a spokesperson for the Artsakh Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that Aliyev was shifting blame from himself for lack of progress in the peace talks.
Aliyev made the remarks and defended his country’s continued military threats during an interview broadcast in Azerbaijan on Monday. Artak Nersisyan, the Artsakh foreign ministry spokesperson said that Aliyev’s “tone and language go beyond fundamental diplomatic norms.”
“By accusing the OSCE Minks Group co-chairmen of inaction, the president of Azerbaijan is attempting to shift the blame from himself for the lack of results in negotiations process,” said Nersisyan.
“By hindering the restoration of the full-format trilateral negotiations, regularly challenging the principles of a peaceful settlement of conflicts and threatening use of force and encouraging racist behavior in its country, Azerbaijani authorities are deliberately creating additional obstacles in the process of the peaceful settlement of the Azerbaijan-Karabakh conflict,” explained Nersisyan.
The foreign ministry spokesperson said that when Artsakh was at the negotiating table at the onset of the OSCE Minsk Group process, there was more progress in the conflict settlement efforts. Therefore, he said, by refusing to include Artsakh in the talks “Azerbaijan is artificially delaying the process of peaceful settlement of the Azerbaijan-Karabakh conflict.”
The spokesperson called Aliyev’s continued efforts to revise history, by, for example, saying that Armenia is a historic part of Azerbaijan “ignorance of the part of Azerbaijan’s president.” However, he said, Aliyev’s “misconstruing of international law can pose a serious threat to peace and security in the South Caucasus.”
In the interview, Aliyev cited a United Nations charter, which allows nations to defend their boundaries, thus rationalizing his continued insistence on resolving the conflict through military means.
“In the context of the Azerbaijan-Karabakh conflict settlement, Azerbaijan’s reference to Article 51 of the UN Charter is completely groundless and is an unsuccessful attempt to mask its aggressive and militaristic policy,” said Nersisyan explaining that Azerbaijan was never subjected to aggression for the UN charter to apply to its claims. He pointed out that it was Azerbaijan that transformed a political issue into an armed conflict when it attacked Armenians in Artsakh when they wanted independence at the onset of the liberation movement, thus suppressing the right to self-determination of Artsakh’s population. Nersisyan also pointed out that when Artsakh, Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994, the military phase of the conflict. “In this regard, we consider it necessary to remind the Azerbaijani side that the resolution of international disputes by exclusively peaceful means is one of the fundamental principles of international law enshrined in the UN Charter,” said Nersisyan.
“Baku’s speculations that Article 51 of the UN Charter gives it the right to use force in the context of the Azerbaijan-Karabakh conflict were rejected by the international community in April 2016, when Azerbaijan launched a large-scale attack on Artsakh. The OSCE Minsk Group co-chairing states—the United States, Russia, and France—as well as the United Nations Secretary General, the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and the Council of Europe Secretary General were unanimous on the need to strictly comply with the 1994 agreement on ceasefire and the 1995 agreement on its strengthening,” explained Nersisyan.
“Instead of senselessly accusing others for its own mistakes and miscalculations, Azerbaijan should strictly observe its commitments to a peaceful settlement of the conflict and conduct full-format negotiations in good faith,’’ said Nersisyan.