UNITED NATIONS (Combined Sources)—Azerbaijan Thursday withdrew a draft resolution on Nagorno-Karabakh from the United Nations General Assembly agenda as the international body kicked off its 65th session, reported Panorama.am.
The draft resolution sought to uphold Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity and called for the return of so-called Azeri refugees to the liberated territories surrounding the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.
Azeri officials cited an announcement, made public Friday, by the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmen who announced an international fact-finding mission to the liberated territories surrounding the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. The Russian, US and French co-chairmen also reiterated that the Minsk Group was “the sole framework for a peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.”
Addressing the General Assembly, Azerbaijan’s permanent representative to the UN, Agshin Mehdiyev, asked the issue to be rescheduled for the assembly’s next year-long session which begins in mid-September. Mehdiyev told RFE/RL that the reason for the postponement is a “field assessment mission” to the occupied Azerbaijani lands planned by the Minsk Group co-chairs. He said that he hopes the mission outcome will support Azerbaijan’s position on the Karabakh conflict.
“As far as I know the Armenian side continues to bring people from abroad and to settle them in the occupied territories to change the demographic situation, to destroy the cultural heritage of Azerbaijan in the occupied territories,” Mehdiyev claimed to RFE/RL.
The Armenian Foreign Ministry insisted on Friday that the fact-finding visit is “in no way connected” to the Azerbaijani resolution, reported RFE/RL. It pointed to the mediators’ September 6 statement which said the mission had been agreed with all conflicting parties, in principle, weeks before the draft resolution was submitted to the General Assembly.
In a written statement, the ministry claimed that Baku withdrew it under pressure from the three mediating powers. “We are thankful to all those UN member states and in particular to the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair countries, which through their stance prevented Azerbaijan from deviating and damaging the negotiation process of the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh problem,” read the statement.
By introducing this resolution, Azerbaijan aimed to divert the peace process from its current OSCE Minsk Group to the UN, a move that has been opposed by international powers engaged in the process. After a cool reception from the international community, Azerbaijan aimed to promote its efforts within Muslim countries, aiming to secure support across religious lines.
Earlier this month, President Serzh Sarkisian warned that the adoption of such a resolution would be a “serious error” on Azerbaijan’s part. Armenia’s foreign ministry also warned that the resolution would “seriously damage” the peace process.
In 2008, Azerbaijan made a similar move at the UN General Assembly. The move, once again, was opposed by the co-chairing countries and was supported by Azerbaijan’s mainly Muslim allies.