TODAY.AZ / Politics

Jamestown Foundation mulls Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

19 June 2014 [10:30] - TODAY.AZ
By AzerNews

The Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was mulled at a roundtable discussion at the Carnegie Endowment for Peace.

The Jamestown Foundation hosted the roundtable discussion titled "Russia-Ukraine Conflict. Western Policies. Repercussions for Moldova and the South Caucasus", AzerTag news agency reported.

The event -consisted of two panels- was opened with remarks by the Director of Programs for the Balkans, Caucasus & Central Asia at the Jamestown Foundation, Margarita Assenova.

Alongside with the discussion on situation in Ukraine, the speakers also concentrated on the situation in South Caucasus.

Senior Fellow at American Foreign Policy Council, Professor Stephen Blank provided the participants with details about the conflicts in the region, namely the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict, which emerged in 1988 over Armenia's claims against Azerbaijan.

He said during a recent gathering of the Eurasian Union, Armenia was introduced with terms required to enter the union. Based on the terms, Armenia has to work with its internationally recognized borders, that are the borders without the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan occupied by Armenian armed forces.

Blank called on the U.S. administration to focus its efforts on conflict resolution and commitment to the peaceful settlement mediated by the United States.

In his presentation, the Political Officer at the Azerbaijani embassy, Natig Bakhishov noted that it has been more than two decades of continuing occupation of Azerbaijani territories by Armenian forces which caused the exodus of more than 650 thousand IDPs, and yet there has been no settlement reached so far.

As far as the Ukrainian crisis and other conflicts are concerned, Bakhishov underlined Azerbaijan recognized territorial integrity of all sovereign states in the region, adding, this position was reflected in Azerbaijan's recent 'YES' vote on the resolution in support of territorial integrity of Ukraine during the UN GA meeting on March 27, 2014.

Noting that Armenia voted against the resolution, he called on the international community to express its position on inviolability of state borders, territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and international law, as a whole, as it is doing with conflicts in Ukraine and Georgia.

Bakhishov listed a number of international documents, including the four UNSC resolutions on Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, condemning the occupation of Azerbaijani territories by Armenian armed forces.

As a response to the comments by counselor of Embassy of Armenia about the "military rhetoric" of Azerbaijan and "self-determination rights" of Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh, Bakhishov said though Azerbaijan is fully committed to the peaceful settlement of the conflict, the military option to restore the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan is not ruled out.

He also talked about the killing of 613 Azerbaijani civilians in Khojaly by Armenian armed forces in early 1990s.

In his response, Professor Blank added that according to the official policy of the United States, presented by Ambassador James Warlick, co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group from the United States on May 7, 2014, the sides have to agree about the final legal status of Nagorno-Karabakh region in a "mutually agreed and legally binding referendum in the future."

Professor Blank also noted that until now there has been no "self-determination" for people and the regions adjacent to the former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast (NKAO) are still under the occupation of Armenia.

Armenia occupied over 20 percent of Azerbaijan's internationally recognized territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions, after laying territorial claims against its South Caucasus neighbor that caused a brutal war in the early 1990s. Long-standing efforts by U.S., Russian and French mediators have been largely fruitless so far.

As a result of the military aggression of Armenia, over 20,000 Azerbaijanis were killed, 4,866 are reported missing and almost 100,000 were injured, and 50,000 were disabled.

The UN Security Council has passed four resolutions on Armenian withdrawal from the Azerbaijani territory, but they have not been enforced to this day.

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