The Azerbaijani government has commended NATO for reaffirming its declared support for Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict at its latest summit held in Wales.
“Allies also remain committed in their support to the territorial integrity, independence, and sovereignty of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and the Republic of Moldova,” U.S. President Barack Obama and the leaders of NATO’s 27 other member states said in a joint declaration adopted on Friday.
“In this context, we will continue to support efforts towards a peaceful settlement of the conflicts in the south Caucasus, as well as in the Republic of Moldova, based upon these principles and the norms of international law, the UN Charter, and the Helsinki Final Act,” read the declaration.
NATO had added virtually identical language to similar statements adopted at its previous summits. President Serzh Sarkisian shunned those gatherings in protest against the alliance’s failure to also cite the principle of people’s self-determination championed by Armenia in the Karabakh conflict. A combination of self-determination and territorial integrity has been at the heart of Karabakh peace proposals made by the United States, France, and Russia over the past decade.
Addressing the summit on Thursday, Sarkisian warned the NATO leaders against including pro-Azerbaijani wordings in the declaration which he said are sought by NATO member Turkey. He urged them to adopt instead “the language of the OSCE Minsk Group” co-chaired by the U.S., Russia and France.
Sarkisian’s appeal clearly fell on deaf ears, however. Armenia has yet to react to the NATO declaration.
Azerbaijan, by contrast, has been quick to welcome the document. President Ilham Aliyev’s chief foreign policy aide, Novruz Mammadov, said late on Friday that “NATO’s position has not changed.” “Given that NATO is today the number one military-political organization, its support is very important,” the APA news agency quoted him as saying.