BAKU—Great Britain’s Ambassador to Azerbaijan on Wednesday drew comparisons between Nagorno-Karabakh and the movement by Scotland to secede from the United Kingdom, saying that the Karabakh status should be determined through a referendum, reported the Azeri press.
During a presentation to students at Khazari University in Baku, Ambassador Irfan Siddiq said his country opted to put Scotland’s desire to secede from the United Kingdom to a vote rather than resort to military conflict. That referendum is set for later this year.
“What is happening in UK is interesting. Lots of people don’t want to be in the UK. Rather than war, we will have a referendum. Solution for determination of the future status of Nagorno Karabakh has to be some of a referendum,” Siddiq told students.
“This is a logical compromise for determining of future status. Some people want to be in Azerbaijan, some don’t. Same focus. Some want to be in the UK, some don’t. We will see what happens,” explained Siddiq.
The press in Azerbaijan and other circles were quick to criticize the UK diplomat.
The UK Embassy in Baku, through its Facebook page, issued a clarification Thursday, however, it did not reject the importance of the self-determination principle in the conflict resolution process.
The embassy, which called the media reports “inaccurate” said, “we would like to clarify that Ambassador Irfan Siddiq during his meeting with students at the Azerbaijan’s Khazar University on March 3 stressed the need for respect for Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity and the withdrawal of Armenia from occupied territories.”
“While discussing the planned referendum on independence in Scotland later this year, he noted the importance of the principle of self-determination adding that the future status of Karabakh should also be determined through an agreed peaceful mechanism that reflects the will of all the people concerned,” explained the embassy’s Facebook post.