The minister recalled that for almost two decades Armenia had been in flagrant violation of the UN Charter and other documents of international law through its occupation of the Azerbaijani territory of Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding districts.
“As a result of this aggression, almost 20 percent of the territory of Azerbaijan continues to remain under occupation and about one million Azerbaijani refugees and internally displaced persons are unable to return to their homes,” Elmar Mammadyarov said.
“In 1993, the United Nations Security Council adopted four resolutions, which demanded the immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal of Armenian forces from ail 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 by other international organizations too.
“Azerbaijan welcomes the adoption at the 65th session of the General Assembly the resolution on strengthening the role of mediation in the peaceful settlement of disputes, conflict prevention and resolution. In this document, the General Assembly reiterated that all member states should strictly adhere to their obligations as laid down in the UN Charter and reaffirmed, inter alia, the commitment to respect the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of all states,” the Azerbaijani minister continued.
“Azerbaijan looks forward to the relevant guidance for more effective mediation, as was indicated in the resolution, and we are ready to actively contribute to its elaboration. Unfortunately, we have to admit that not all states approach their international obligations responsibly and comply with the generally accepted norms and principles of international law.”
Elmar Mammadyarov said that instead of preparing its people for peace, prosperity and stability in friendship and cooperation with neighbouring countries, the leadership of Armenia continued to publicly incite 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.
“Illegal activities in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, including the implantation of ethnic Armenian settlers and the destruction and appropriation of historical and cultural heritage are another source of serious concern. Such activities serve to further consolidate the current status quo of the occupation, securing the results of ethnic cleansing and colonization of the seized lands, as well as to seriously hamper the prospects of conflict resolution.”
Referring to Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan’s speech to the UN General Assembly on 23 September, the Azerbaijani minister said: “Earlier in this hall we witnessed a very aggressive and nonconstructive statement of the president of Armenia. He openly confirmed this destructive policy of Armenia.”
Elmar Mammadyarov cited the conclusion of the Field Assessment Mission led by the international mediators on the Karabakh conflict, the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs, to the occupied territories last October, that the status quo of the occupation was unacceptable and urged Armenia to put an end to its illegal practices in these territories.
“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 an early 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.
“It is absolutely illogical when the leadership of Armenia, who have implemented the total ethnic cleansing of not only the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, but also their own territory of their Azerbaijani population, are trying to apply the principle of self-determination”, he said.
The minister added that it was obvious that one cannot expel peoples from their homes on ethnic grounds and, at the same time, speak about self-determination for those who remain.
“Azerbaijan is confident that conflict resolution must start with the withdrawal of Armenian armed forces from the occupied territories within a fixed timetable, which will be followed by the restoration of communications, return of refugees and internally displaced persons and the creation of conditions for the peaceful coexistence of Azerbaijanis and Armenians in the Nagorno-Karabakh region within the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. 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.”
Azerbaijan still maintains its interest, motivation and patience in the very difficult, sensitive process of negotiations, Mammadyarov 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.”
Security Council seat, Palestine
Elmar Mammadyarov also appealed for support for Azerbaijan’s bid for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council.
“The year 2012 marks the 20th anniversary of Azerbaijan’s membership of the United Nations, though, unlike other candidates from the Group of Eastern European States, we have never had the opportunity to be a member of the Security Council. Azerbaijan’s election to the Security Council will contribute to redressing the under-representation of small developing countries and bring a more balanced membership to this United Nations body.”
Touching upon another important issue on the international agenda – Palestine – the minister said that Azerbaijan reaffirmed its adherence to the position expressed by the majority of UN member states.
“We reiterate our long-standing solidarity with the people and leadership of Palestine and believe that the time has come to reach a breakthrough on this long-standing and very important issue. The time has come for Palestine to be fully represented at the UN.”