Officials in Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh have taken in its stride Baku’s new attempt to secure the passage of a United Nations resolution calling for an end to ‘Armenian occupation’ of internationally recognized Azerbaijani territories.
The issue of ‘occupied Azerbaijani territories’ is expected to be on the agenda of the 64th session of the United Nations General Assembly to be held in New York, U.S., on September 23-30.
A spokesman for the president of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh republic described Azerbaijan’s move as ‘predictable’ and said it would only complicate the internationally mediated talks currently conducted between the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan.
“What they are doing makes impossible not only a compromise but also possible involvement of other states in this process. Because if one side does not want to make any concession, what unilateral concessions can we speak about?” David Babayan told RFE/RL. “Baku’s interpretation of the Madrid principles only implies the philosophy of unilateral concessions, which is unacceptable. By this manner of action Baku once again makes such a development impossible, which is positive for us.”
Meanwhile, Armenian Foreign Ministry acting spokesman Tigran Balayan commented very briefly on Azerbaijan’s expected move at the UN in September.
“The agenda of every UN General Assembly session is decided on the first day of this session,” said Balayan.
In March 2008, the 62nd session of the UN General Assembly passed a resolution that referred to Nagorno-Karabakh as an internationally recognized part of Azerbaijan. It also demanded an “immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal of Armenian forces” from occupied Azerbaijani lands.
The resolution was supported by 39 and rejected by seven UN member states. More than 150 other nations abstained or did not vote.
The passage of the resolution followed a major skirmish at the Armenian-Azerbaijani line of contact in Karabakh in early March, only days after authorities in Yerevan suppressed a massive opposition demonstration protesting the outcome of a presidential election.
Before that, Armenia’s then Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian had said Armenia would withdraw from the peace process if the Baku-submitted resolution were adopted. Armenia, however, continued talks with Azerbaijan later that year.
The Karabakh leader’s spokesman Babayan stressed in this regard that it was mainly Islamic states that voted in favor of the resolution last year and that the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairing countries, namely the United States, France and Russia, spoke and voted against the resolution. Babayan said Azerbaijan could also use the ‘Islamic factor’ at the upcoming session.
Meanwhile, Armenia’s former foreign minister and former representative to the UN Aleksandr Arzumanian slammed Armenia’s ‘reactive’ diplomacy in this matter and stressed that “no document that portrays Armenia as an occupier can be suitable for Yerevan or Stepanakert.”
“Armenian diplomacy should have taken counter steps to disrupt Azerbaijan’s consistent efforts. This is the result of the weak work by our diplomats,” said Arzumanian, currently a leading member of the Armenian opposition. “An attempt will be made at every session [of the UN General Assembly] to use sharper words and include new elements [in the resolution].”
Arzumanian said only a ‘pro-active’ diplomatic effort can change the situation at the UN.
“These questions could have been resolved years ago through Armenia’s trying to introduce own resolutions to the agenda of the UN General Assembly session. It isn’t yet late to do that. But nothing has been done in this direction,” concluded Arzumanian.