Top officials from Armenia and Azerbaijan have expressed views on their long-running dispute over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, which is part of Azerbaijan but occupied by Armenian forces, during the General Assembly’s annual general debate.
President Serzh Sargsyan of Armenia, speaking on Friday, said the people of Nagorno-Karabakh had two decades ago made a choice “by exercising their right to self-determination, by withstanding the war unleashed by Azerbaijan, and surviving bloodshed to earn their right to live in freedom.”
He said conflict settlement talks are continuing under the mediation of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE) Minsk Group co-chairs.
Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov of Azerbaijan, speaking today, said Armenia had flagrantly violated the UN Charter and other documents of international law and perpetrated aggression against his country.
“As a result of this aggression, almost 20 per cent of the territory of Azerbaijan continues to remain under occupation and about one million Azerbaijani refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) are unable to return to their homes,” he said.
Mr. Mammadyarov said Armenia’s leadership “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.”
Exercising his right of reply, a representative of Armenia said the comments of Azerbaijan were Cold War-style propaganda that did nothing to bring about a resolution of the dispute.
He said Mr. Mammadyarov had misinterpreted the UN Charter and several Security Council resolutions, and was creating artificial delays to any settlement.
In response, a representative of Azerbaijan said Armenia had been “carrying out ethnic cleansing on a massive scale” in Nagorno-Karabakh, and would be eventually forced to “cease its provocative policies.”
The Nagorno-Karabakh peace process was also the subject of discussions during a meeting between Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Mr. Sargsyan last Friday, held on the margins of the Assembly’s general debate.