In his address to NATO Council, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov accused Armenia of torpedoing Karabakh talks. How would you comment on this?
The fact is that NATO Council meetings are usually held behind closed doors and their minutes are not made public, so I’m not sure that the Azerbaijani media quoted Foreign Minister Mammadyarov correctly. It looks like Azerbaijan has violated this rule and Mr. Mammadyarov, impressed by the speech delivered by the Armenian Foreign Minister in the UN, decided to ascribe Azerbaijan’s provocations and blunders to Armenia. Groundless accusations of torpedoing the process to maintain the status quo cannot help. Azerbaijan has to observe the international law norms spelling the right of nations to self-determination, non-use of force and the principle of territorial integrity. Baku denies the right to self-determination, however, it’s not Azerbaijan but the people of NKR to decide on their fate. With continuous threats and provocations at the line of contact between the Azerbaijani and NKR armed forces, Baku ignores the principle of non-use of force. The only principle Azerbaijan pretends to understand is territorial integrity. However, the UN Charter clearly says that this principle cannot be opposed to the right of nations to self-determination. The part 2 of Article 1 of the UN Charter reads: To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace. In this context, it’s worth noting that the ruling of the International Court of Justice on Kosovo could not be different, as the Court is guided by the UN Charter.
What do you think Azerbaijan should do for resolution of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict?
If Azerbaijan really wants to resolve the Karabakh problem, it should first of all shoulder the responsibility for the consequences of the war it unleashed against Nagorno Karabakh and launch direct talks with NKR as a full-fledged party to process. Baku must give up saber-rattling and renounce absurd ideas like the one that the Armenian state was built “on Azerbaijani lands.” Following their logic, one can presume that Azeris have lived in Armenian territories for thousands of years. So how can “One nation, two states” slogan be explained, if Turks admit that they came to these lands relatively recently. Well, let them count the nations and states then. The fact remains that destruction of historical heritage of aboriginal peoples of the region is not for the benefit of Azerbaijan, which was artificially created at the beginning of the last century to claim the others’ lands.
Azerbaijani media reported about the “suicide” of Armenian captive Manvel Saribekyan…
This is another outrageous act when a kidnapped shepherd is presented as a subversive and then killed. It’s grave violation of the international humanitarian law. Representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross were not allowed to the captive, what clearly indicates that conditions in Azeri torture chambers are no better than in Nazi concentration camps. The authorities in our neighboring country ride roughshod over people, even if the matter concerns their own population. Azerbaijan rejects any calls to strengthen the ceasefire and withdraw snipers, because it's interested in inspiring hatred even at expense of its own citizens' lives.
The RA parliament debated the bill on recognition of NKR's independence by Armenia. What's your opinion about the issue?
The Nagorno Karabakh (Artsakh) Republic is an independent state which withstood the Azerbaijani aggression. The Republic of Armenia builds its relations with NKR as an equal partner. The issue of recognition is on the agenda. However, the Armenian government does not find adoption of the bill judicious at the moment.
What do you expect from the OSCE MG Field Assessment Mission?
The mission will be in Yerevan on October 6. Then they will leave for Stepanakert. The OSCE Minsk Group Co-chairs have to study the situation on the spot. The rest will be clear when the mission is completed.
There is a rumor that Azerbaijan’s resolution “on the occupied territories” will be discussed in the UN General Assembly on December 13.
This resolution is dead, although Azerbaijan can submit a new one. Resolutions can be submitted and withdrawn, it's the right of each member country. Anyway, Armenia will give an adequate response in any situation.