The Political Science Association of Armenia in its session of March 29, 2014, adopted an Address to the Heads of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-chairs on the settlement of the Karabakh Conflict in connection with the unbecoming to the status of a head of state attacks of the Azerbaijani President on the Armenian people and undisguised territorial claims to the Republic of Armenia. Because of the danger of political behavior of the head of neighboring state to the peace and stability in the region on March 31, 2014, the text of the Address has been delivered to the Ambassadors Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the States – Permanent Members of the UN Security Council: H.E. Tian Changchun (China), H.E. Henri Reynaud (France), H.E. Ivan Volinkin (Russia), H.E. Katherine Leach (the UK), H.E. John Heffern (the US). The Text of the Address has been also disseminated among all International Missions accredited in the Republic of Armenia. Below is the full text of the address, presented by the Chairman of the Political Science Association of Armenia, Doctor of Political Science Hayk Kotanjian.
“On March 19, 2014, at the nationwide festivities of Nowruz, the Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev made a number of groundless statements, regarding which the Political Science Association of Armenia feels obligated to address the Heads of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs – Honorable Presidents of France, the Russian Federation, and the United States of America.
Judging by the political content, the choice of the date for the Azerbaijani “royal” leader’s speech was conditioned not only by the desire to congratulate his people on the occasion of Nowruz ─ a holiday that dates back to the Iranian culture, but also by the intention to use the current international political situation for the benefit of the Azerbaijani President’s traditional policy of torpedoing the process of peace settlement of the Karabakh conflict, mediated by the OSCE Minsk Group.
Along with a bunch of Armenophobic clichés, such as “Armenia is a fascist state”, an arbitrary interpretation of the norms and principles of International law, the concepts of “historical justice” and “historical lands”, as well as territorial claims to the Republic of Armenia, fraught with actual threat of war, the mentioned speech contains some other formulations incompatible with the status of a head of state.
The key message of Aliyev’s speech is that the territorial integrity of a state, Azerbaijan in this case, cannot be violated without the state’s consent, so the settlement under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group seeks to “restore” the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and return the Azerbaijanis to the “ancient Azerbaijani lands”, which, in his opinion, include a significant portion of the territory of the Republic of Armenia. The Azerbaijani President’s militaristic interpretation of the right to self-determination, although contradicts the Purposes and Principles of the UN Charter, Paragraph 2, Article 1, Chapter I, reading: “To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace”, yet fully reflects the essence of his credo.
The President of our neighboring state, declaring that “the international law coupled with the force factor” comes to the forefront in the contemporary international relations, distorts the gist of the latter. This statement of the head of the neighboring country contains a new threat of genocidal acts against the Armenians of the RA and NKR, like the massacres committed by the Azerbaijani authorities against the Armenian population in Sumgait, Kirovabad (Arm. Gandzak) and Baku in 1988-1990. This threat of systemic violence proclaimed by the Azerbaijani President is perceived particularly ominous as we approach the centenary of the Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire.
In his statements, the leader of the neighboring state proceeds from the ungrounded premise that the self-determination of Nagorno-Karabakh is not legitimate, because the establishment of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic as a product of the referendum of December 10, 1991, carried out in compliance with Article 6 of the USSR Law of April 3, 1990, “On Procedures for Regulation of Issues Related to Secession of the Union Republics from the USSR”, was not agreed with the Azerbaijani SSR. The reality was that, Azerbaijan, having declared its withdrawal from the Soviet state and the Soviet jurisdiction prior to the referendum in Nagorno-Karabakh, legislatively fixed the waiver of the necessity to coordinate with it the further fate of Nagorno-Karabakh. Moreover, on November 26, 1991, in violation of Article 3 of said USSR Law, imperatively preserving “the right of peoples of autonomous republics and autonomous entities to decide independently whether to remain in the USSR or in a seceding union republic, as well as to pose the question of the legal status of their state”, Azerbaijan adopted the law on abolition of the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast. And this despite the fact that, at the decline of the USSR, namely in the referendum on preservation of the Soviet Union, held on March 17, 1991, the vast majority of the Azerbaijani SSR population voted for keeping the Soviet Union. The Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast did not participate in voting. It should be noted, that the Mission on the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe recognized the Azerbaijan Law of November 26, 1991, on abolition of the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast as unconstitutional. In addition, in order to clarify the political and historical, political and legal bases of the relationship between the equal Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (the Artsakh Republic) and the Republic of Azerbaijan, it is important to pay attention to the undeniable political and legal fact of Nagorno-Karabakh never being a part of independent Azerbaijan.
In the historically complex period at issue, Nagorno-Karabakh based on the principle of equality of peoples under the supervision of international observers exercised its right to self-determination through the nationwide referendum on December 10, 1991, in full compliance with the requirements of international law and pursuant to the then-effective Soviet legislation. In addition, the final political and legal formalization of the results of the referendum under the provisions of the USSR Law “On Procedures for Regulation of Issues Related to Secession of the UnionRepublics from the USSR” of April 3, 1990, ruled out any coordination with the Azerbaijani SSR and the USSR because they had been formally abolished by then. At the same time, it is important to note that, by the documents of the Commission for Nagorno-Karabakh referendum and in line with the letter of the UN Charter, the Azerbaijani minority was granted equal rights with the Armenian majority to free expression of will. Despite this, the Azerbaijanis of Nagorno-Karabakh, at the directions of Baku authorities, had to waive their right to participate in the referendum.
Thus, the legal self-determination of NKR and the declaration of state independence took place within the context of the downfall of the single union state and emergence of new nations, including the Republic of Azerbaijan.
Neither well-founded are Ilham Aliyev’s attitudes from the perspective of the UN International Court of Justice, which, based on Paragraph 2, Article 1, Chapter I of the UN Charter, in its Advisory Opinion of July 22, 2010, announced the following conclusion: “No general prohibition against unilateral declarations of independence may be inferred from the practice of the Security Council… General international law contains no applicable prohibition of declarations of independence”.
In its turn, Ilham Aliyev’s comment on stirring up “international law coupled with the force factor” gives rise to doubts regarding the inadequate perception of the theory and practice of contemporary international relations by the Head of State – President of Azerbaijan.
The philosophy of contemporary international relations implies prioritized pursuit of ways for peaceful political resolution of issues on the basis of the fundamental principles of international law, including the peoples’ right to freely determine their own fate refraining from the use or threat of force. This is the approach the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair Countries adopted in their continued efforts to prevent the escalation of the Karabakh conflict and find a mutually acceptable peaceful solution to it.
The Political Science Association of Armenia considers this publicly proclaimed Armenophobic and bellicose rhetoric as another attempt by the head of the neighboring state to withdraw from a peaceful, constructive dialogue, a disregard for the efforts of the international partners, and reluctance to take political responsibility for establishing a lasting peace between the peoples of Armenia and Azerbaijan, the peoples of the entire region. Substitution of the existing problem of protecting democratic freedoms and human rights in his own state for creating an enemy image of the Armenian people, and the accents placed by President Aliyev corroborate his rejection of democratization of Azerbaijan. All of this gives reason to attract the world community attention, including the honest sons and daughters of the Azerbaijani people, to the fact that the hereditary regime of the Republic of Azerbaijan continues undermining the OSCE Minsk Group efforts to build trust between the parties to the Karabakh conflict, rejecting the truth and thereby the recognition of the legality of the 1991 referendum in Nagorno-Karabakh, the legitimacy of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic as a realistic ground for peaceful coexistence of the Armenian and Azerbaijani peoples.
On behalf of Armenia’s community of professional political scientists, the Political Science Association appeals to the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs with a request to draw the attention of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the inadmissibility for an official of a head-of-state status to arbitrarily interpret the norms of international law, sponsor the distortion of the historical truth, the propaganda of xenophobia and war, as these contradict the values, mission, goals and principles of the UN, the OSCE and the OSCE Minsk Group.”