The United Nations will play no major role in international efforts to end the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict even after Azerbaijan became a member of its Security Council, Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian said on Thursday.
Nalbandian argued that the United States, Russia and France continue to share Armenia’s view that the OSCE Minsk Group co-headed by them must remain the key international body mediating Armenian-Azerbaijani peace talks.
“The three co-chair countries and permanent members of the Security Council -- the United Nations, France and Russia -- have repeatedly stated that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict must be solved within the framework of the Minsk Group and not moved to other structures,” he told Armenian lawmakers.
“So I think there is no need to get emotional because of statements coming from Azerbaijan,” he said during parliamentary discussions on Armenia’s state budget for next year.
Nalbandian referred to Azerbaijani leaders’ reported plans to use their two-year membership in the Security Council for attaining a solution to the Karabakh conflict desired by Baku.
Opposition politicians and some analysts in Yerevan have expressed serious concern over this fact. They have also criticized the Armenian government for failing to scuttle Azerbaijan’s election to the Security Council last week.
Nalbandian dismissed this reaction as too “emotional.” He said Yerevan is not troubled by the Azerbaijani seat on the council and will carry on with its Karabakh policy without “nervous convulsions.”
Armen Rustamian, the chairman of the parliament committee on foreign relations and a leader of the opposition Armenian Revolutionary Federation, rejected the minister’s arguments.
“I absolutely don’t share the view that we must not react emotionally to Azerbaijan’s becoming a non-permanent member of the Security Council,” he told journalists. “That is not an adequate response to the situation.”
Rustamian did not challenge Nalbandian when the latter addressed members of his and other standing committees of the National Assembly, though.
Capitalizing on strong support from many other Islamic nations, Azerbaijan already pushed through the UN General Assembly in 2008 a non-binding resolution that demanded an “immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal of Armenian forces” from occupied Azerbaijani lands.”
The Muslim world’s overwhelmingly pro-Azerbaijani stance is a key reason for Armenia’s strong opposition to any UN involvement in the Karabakh peace process.