By Emil Danielyan
A senior aide to President Ilham Aliev has warned that Azerbaijan could turn to the United Nations if France, Russia and the United States continue to “ignore” its internationally recognized sovereignty over Nagorno-Karabakh.
In televised remarks cited by the BBC on Friday, Novruz Mammadov, head of the foreign relations department of the Azerbaijani presidential administration, again indicated Baku’s unhappiness with a peaceful settlement favored by the three co-chairs of the Minsk Group.
“Unfortunately, we have never heard anything about Azerbaijan's territorial integrity from them,” Mammadov was quoted as telling an Azerbaijani TV channel. “Azerbaijan's territorial integrity should have been the mediators' main principle... but they are forgetting about that. Just like the whole world, the mediators are thinking only about their own countries' interests.”
Another top Azerbaijani official, Deputy Prime Minister Ali Hasanov, claimed for his part that the mediators are increasingly indifferent to the plight of hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijanis that were displaced during the 1991-1994 war for Karabakh. He complained that they no longer visit rundown refugee camps where a large part of them continue to reside. “This posture by the co-chairs must be regarded as pressure on the leadership of Azerbaijan,” Hasanov said, according to the Interfax news agency.
The Minsk Group’s existing peace plan calls for a gradual resolution of the conflict that would enable Karabakh’s predominantly Armenian population to determine the disputed territory’s status in a referendum. The vote would almost certainly formalize Karabakh’s secession from Azerbaijan.
Armenia has said that the peace plan is largely acceptable to it. Azerbaijan’s attitude to the proposed deal is less clear, with Aliev having repeatedly ruled out any solution that would not put Karabakh back under Azerbaijani control. “Azerbaijan will never -- neither today, nor tomorrow and under no circumstances -- agree to Nagorno-Karabakh’s secession from Azerbaijan,” Aliev told his cabinet on July 31.
While saying that Baku does not object to the referendum option, Mammadov accused the mediators of being biased against the Azerbaijanis. “They are thinking about the 100,000 ethnic Armenians of Karabakh, but what about the 50,000 Azerbaijanis of Karabakh?” he said.