Azerbaijan is confident that the conflict resolution must start with the withdrawal of Armenian armed forces from the occupied territories of Nagorno Karabakh, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan Elmar Mamedyarov said in his speech during the UN General Assembly on Tuesday.
“Azerbaijan is confident that the conflict resolution must start with the withdrawal of Armenian armed forces from the occupied territories within the fixed time-table and follow by the restoration of communications, return of refugees and internally displaced persons and creation of conditions for peaceful coexistence of Azerbaijanis and Armenians in the Nagorno Karabakh region within the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan,” Mamedyarov said.
According to Mamedyarov, this step-by-step approach, which has been proposed by the mediators and supported by the international community, except, unfortunately, the leadership of Armenia, can bring durable peace, stability and predictability to the region.
Mamedyarov welcomed the adoption at the sixty-fifth session of the General Assembly a resolution on s trengthening the role of mediation in the peaceful settlement of disputes, conflict prevention and resolution. “In this document, the General Assembly r eiterated that all Member States should strictly adhere to their obligations as laid down in the UN Charter and r eaffirmed, inter alia, the commitment to respect the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of all States.
Azerbaijan looks forward to the relevant guidance for more effective mediation, as it was indicated in the resolution, and we are ready to actively contribute to its elaboration,” said Mamedyarov .
“Unfortunately, we have to admit that not all States approach responsibly to their international obligations and comply with the generally accepted norms and principles of international law,” minister added.
“For almost two decades we have been facing the flagrant violation of the UN Charter and other documents of international law by the Republic of Armenia, which perpetrated aggression against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Azerbaijan,” the minister underscored. “As a result of this aggression, almost 20 percent of the territory of Azerbaijan continues to remain under occupation and about 1 million Azerbaijani refugees and internally displaced persons are unable to return to their homes.”
Mamedyarov noted that in 1993, the United Nations Security Council adopted four resolutions, which demanded the immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal of Armenian forces from all the occupied territories of Azerbaijan and reaffirmed the sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of the internationally recognized borders of Azerbaijan. The same appeals were made also by other international organizations. “Unfortunately, Armenia continues to ignore the calls of the international community.”
According to Mamedyarov, what is even more worrisome is that, instead of preparing its people for peace, prosperous and stable future in friendship and cooperation with neighboring countries, the leadership of Armenia continues to publicly incite the future generations to new wars, violence and aggression and propagate by all means the dangerous ideas of animosity and hatred towards not only Azerbaijan, but also other peoples of the region.
Mamedyarov said illegal activities in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan , including implantation of ethnic Armenian settlers as well as destruction and appropriation of historical and cultural heritage, represent another source of serious concern. “Such activities serve to further consolidation of the current status quo of the occupation, securing the results of ethnic cleansing and colonization of the seized lands, as well as seriously hamper the perspectives of the conflict resolution,” Mamedyarov said. “Earlier in this hall we have witnessed a very aggressive and unconstructive statement of the President of Armenia. He openly confirmed this destructive policy of Armenia.”
The Field Assessment Mission (FAM), conducted by the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs last October to the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, stated, inter alia, that the status quo of the occupation is unacceptable and urged Armenia to put an end to its illegal practices in these territories, he said.
“As a country suffering from the occupation of its territories and the forcible displacement of hundreds of thousands of its citizens, Azerbaijan is the most interested party in the earliest negotiated settlement of the conflict. Our position is well known to the international community and is based on strict adherence to the norms and principles of international law, according to which the acquisition of territory by force is inadmissible and must be rejected resolutely and unconditionally”-said Mamedyarov in his speech.
According to Mamedyarov, it is absolutely illogical when the leadership of Armenia, who has implemented the total ethnic cleansing of not only the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, but also its own territory from their Azerbaijani population, is trying to apply the principle of self-determination. It is obvious that one cannot expel peoples from their homes on ethnic ground and, at the same time, speak about self-determination on the same ground for those remained.
“Azerbaijan recognizes that the right of peoples to self-determination can be implemented only and only at all times in conformity with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and with the relevant norms of international law, including those relating to territorial integrity of States, as it is enshrined in the Helsinki Final Act,” Mamedyarov added.
Azerbaijan still maintains its interest, motivation and patience in this very hard and sensitive process of negotiations, he said. “We believe that the international community will convince the Armenian side to respect the generally accepted norms and principles of international law and cease abusing the right of Azerbaijanis to live within their own territory, including the Nagorno Karabakh region. In return, we are ready to guarantee the highest level of self-rule for this region within the Republic of Azerbaijan,” he added