UNITED NATIONS (AP/Reuters/AFP)–The foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan accused each other’s governmen’s on Sunday of "delusional manipulation" in their long running dispute over the Nagorno-Karabagh region.
Azerbaijan’s Vilayat Guliev accused Armenia of trying "to camouflage its annexationist policy by appeals to the principle of the right of peoples to self-determination." Guliev said the right to self-determination does not imply the right of secession and should not lead to the disintegration of sovereign and independent states.
The failure of Armenia and Azerbaijan to settle the conflict has stifled the economies of both struggling former Soviet republics. Potential investors worry there could be another war over the enclave and regional trade has been disrupted by the closure of the Azerbaijan-Armenia border.
In his speech–Guliev also accused the UN Security Council of having created an "explosive situation" by failing to implement resolutions aimed at resolving the long-simmering territorial dispute. "Azerbaijan sees an urgent necessity for a new–resolute intervention by the U.N. Security Council which so far has not used its potential to effectively contribute to the settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict," he said.
The Azerbaijani minister further reiterated Baku’s condemnation of recent presidential elections held in Karabagh–saying: "Decisions taken by the illegal separatist regime in the Nagorno-Karabagh region–so-called referendums and elections held by it… have no international legal effect."
The latest bitter exchange between the two Caucasus foes came a month and aday after the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan held a four-hour summit–their first meeting for a year. President Robert Kocharian and his Azeri counterpart–Heydar Aliev–told reporters after the meeting – held in Azerbaijan – that the mood was good–although they achieved no breakthrough on the dispute.
Oskanian Responds Sternly
In his statement to the United Nation’s 57 General Assembly–Armenia’s Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian responded to the Azeri foreign minister’s accusations.
The following are excerpts from that September 16 statement. We will feature the full text of his speech in Saturday–September 21 edition of Asbarez:
What the people of Nagorno Karabagh and the whole region are still waiting for is lasting peace.
And I would have thought that this is what the leadership of Azerbaijan would want–as well. Based on the very hopeful meetings which take place between the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan–we have reason to be positive.
However–having followed the commen’s of my colleague from Azerbaijan–made from this podium–I’m not just shocked–I’m also dismayed that he is not keeping pace with the progress being made in the region by his and my presidents.
Azerbaijan has a choice: To continue with crude delusional manipulation and nave wishful thinking–and hope for a return to a historical–military and political situation that is long gone. Or–join the international community–through the offices of the OSCE’s Minsk Group co-chairmen–to continue in the hard search for peace.
The people on the ground–on all sides–have demonstrated their readiness for peace–for political and economic stability. The leaders at the very top persist with an honest dialog that will chip away at the political obstacles. We who are entrusted with transforming these efforts and desires into a just peace must approach our task honestly and responsibly.
Let me say the following: Nagorno Karabagh has never been a part of independent Azerbaijan. Whether we consider history or geography–whether we adopt a long-term political perspective–or whether we face the reality of the facts on the ground–the men–women and children of Nagorno Karabagh have earned the right to live peacefully on their historic lands.
Thanks Countries–Lawmakers For Genocide Recognition
I wish to take the opportunity this podium provides to re-iterate President Kocharian’s statement before this General Assembly two years ago to work for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide and to prevent the repetition of such human atrocity. We extend our profound appreciation to all those governmen’s–legislatures–and international bodies that have recognized the Armenian Genocide–and pledge our cooperation to all those that are currently in the process of reaffirming the facts of this crime against humanity.
As a signatory of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide–the Armenian Government places a high priority on the struggle to prevent future genocides and to stand up against all attempts to deny past genocides. We support all initiatives that reinforce the international consensus behind this landmark treaty.
From the vantage point of a country with our resources and limitations–we realize that peace is not possible without social justice–sustainable development and respect for the rights of all individuals and peoples in the community of nations.