The document, which the UN General Assembly is due to consider next week, upholds Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity in the unresolved dispute and the right of Azerbaijanis “expelled” from Karabakh and Armenian-controlled territories surrounding it to return to their homes.
Azerbaijani media reported on Thursday that Aliyev discussed the matter at a meeting with the Baku-based ambassadors of Islamic states earlier this week. “Muslim countries must always demonstrate solidarity both in bilateral ties and within the framework of international organizations,” he said, according to the official AzerTaj news agency.
“In difficult times, we must constantly stand together. That way, the influence of Muslim countries on processes going on in the world will become even stronger and our national interests will be better protected.”
Aliyev added that Baku already enjoys the Muslim world’s backing in the Karabakh conflict, pointing to statements condemning “Armenian aggression” against his country that have repeatedly been adopted by the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC). “We are grateful to all of our brothers for this support,” he said.
The Azerbaijani leader noted in that regard that OIC support was “decisive” for a similar non-binding resolution which Baku pushed through the General Assembly in March 2008. It referred to Karabakh as an internationally recognized part of Azerbaijan and demanded an “immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal of Armenian forces” from occupied Azerbaijani lands.
Only 39 UN member states, most of them having predominantly Muslim populations, voted for that document, while over 150 other nations abstained or did not vote at all. The United States, Russia and France, the three co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, voted against.
Speaking in Karabakh on Sunday, President Serzh Sarkisian predicted that “several dozen” mostly Islamic nations will likely again side with Muslim Azerbaijan at the UN assembly. “But I’m sure that all those countries that want the problem to be solved peacefully and through negotiations will vote against this resolution,” he said.