Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in focus of UNSC debates

By: Sara Rajabova

The Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was discussed during the open debate at the UN Security Council.

Yashar Aliyev, the Permanent Representative of Azerbaijan to the United Nations delivered a speech at the open debate of the UNSC dedicated to the subject of “Conflict prevention,” AzerTag news agency reported.

He highlighted the close relationship between the concept of conflict prevention and principle of peaceful settlement of international disputes. The envoy stated that in circumstances where one state neglects its obligations before the international law and has resorted to use of force to occupy the territory of another state, the victim state – as subject to this aggression – is entitled to the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense enshrined in Article 51 of the UN Charter.

Aliyev also reminded the council members that the international law requires not just an outcome in preventing or resolving conflicts, but that such an outcome is, most importantly, preceded by a process that is consistent with particular norms. In this context, he underlined the importance of the fact that conflict settlement mechanisms may not be used as a tool to consolidate a priori illegal and fait accompli-based solutions.

“Attempts to impose or encourage such solutions will fail to provide the necessary foundations for enduring peace and long-term stability,” Aliyev said.

He also highlighted the need for working out a comprehensive international approach to the problem of aggressive separatism. He said that special attention should be given to the implementation of resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council, principle assessment of key issue of responsibility and fighting against impunity for crimes committed during the conflict.

Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, Permanent Representative of Armenia to the United Nations, spoke next with an attempt to counter the arguments of the Azerbaijani side with the usual set of unsubstantiated accusations.

Aliyev, who took the floor next to respond to the rhetoric of the Armenian representative, drew attention of the council members to yet another unsuccessful attempt of the Armenian diplomat to mislead the international community and divert the attention from the annexationist policies of his country, fact of occupation of substantial part of Azerbaijan’s territory and ethnic cleansing of big part of Azerbaijani population by Armenian armed forces.

“Armenia’s unconstructiveness in the negotiations, its interest in maintaining the status quo, its evasion of the Madrid peace plan, its refusal to comply with the relevant resolutions of the UNSC, its policy of ruthless ethnic cleansing and its latest provocative actions aimed at undermining the peace process – all these provide the strongest grounds to impose substantial sanctions against Armenia by the international community,” Aliyev said.

He noted that the continued presence of Armenia’s armed forces on the occupied territories of Azerbaijan remains the biggest threat to the peace process.

“Therefore, first and foremost, the armed forces of Armenia must withdraw from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan. The earlier Armenia realizes this, the sooner peace, stability and predictability can be restored in the region,” Aliyev concluded.

Armenia captured Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding districts from Azerbaijan in a war that followed the Soviet breakup in 1991. More than 20,000 Azerbaijanis were killed and nearly 1 million were displaced as a result of the war.

Large-scale hostilities ended with a Russia-brokered ceasefire in 1994 but Armenia continued the occupation in defiance of four UN Security Council resolutions calling for immediate and unconditional withdrawal.

Peace talks mediated by Russia, France and the U.S. have produced no results so far.