STRASBOURG (PanARMENIAN.Net)–Thirty member states of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe signed onto declaration introduced by Armenia during its winter session confirming that Nagorno-Karabakh has never constituted a part of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Armenian news agencies reported Thursday.
The declaration, signed by thirty PACE-member states, was drafted and submitted by Armenian PACE delegate Zaruhi Postanjyan of the Heritage Party.
The document says, in part, “Azerbaijan declared itself the successor of the Azerbaijani Republic that existed from 1918-1920. But Mountainous Karabakh (Artsakh) was never a part of that state, and it was because of the Kemalist-Bolshevik ‘deal’ that Artsakh had become a part of Soviet Azerbaijan.”
The declaration goes on to discuss the 1991 referendum in Karabakh that led to its declaration of independence as the Soviet Union was collapsing.
“In 1991, the people of Karabakh voted ‘yes’ to independence through a referendum that was observed and recognized by numerous international observers,” it states. “But refusing to accept the Artsakh Armenians’ lawful exercise of their right to self-determination, Azerbaijan launched a large-scale attack, which ended with the 1994 ceasefire.”
The statement goes on to hail the people of Karabakh for their determination to build a democratic state despite the looming threat of war from Azerbaijan.
“Even though Azerbaijan still violates this ceasefire, Karabakh Armenians continue to peacefully build their democratic state and are guided by international norms and standards, one of the most important of which was the 2006 constitutional referendum,” the declaration reads.
It also underscores the many “international observers, experts and journalists” who “certified this referendum and several subsequent presidential, parliamentary, and local elections as democratic, free and fair.” It also notes that “dozens of political parties, media and NGOs function in Artsakh, and its market economy and national legislation meet international standards.”
“With its objective of building a democratic state, the Mountainous Karabakh Republic is an established state, and deserves international recognition and membership in all international organizations,” the statement concludes.
The declaration was signed by the following members of PACE: Postanjyan Zaruhi, Armenia; Aghajanyan Artsruni, Armenia; Badea Viorel Riceard, Romania; Badré Denis, France; Blum Roland, France; Err Lydie, Luxembourg; Fischerová Jana, Czech Republic; Fořt Stanislav, Slovak Republic; Fournier Bernard, France; Gautier Gisèle, France; Greff Claude, France; Harutyunyan Davit, Armenia; Kalmár Ferenc, Hungary; Kanelli Liana, Greece, Uel; Kuodytė Dalia, Lithuania; Loepfe Arthur, Switzerland; Maissen Theo, Switzerland; Margaryan Grigori, Armenia; Marland-Militello Muriel, France; Melikyan Armen, Armenia; Naghdalyan Hermine, Armenia; Oscarsson Mikael, Sweden; Pelegrini Peter, Slovak Republic; Rochebloine François, France; Rouquet René, France; Rustamyan Armen, Armenia; Stolfi Fiorenzo, San Marino; Stump Doris, Switzerland; Zohrabyan Naira, Armenia
In related news, PACE is scheduled to discuss the reactivation of a subcommittee dealing with the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict at its plenary session on Friday, ArmeniaNow reported.
The move, strongly opposed by Armenia is believed to be the result of the Azerbaijan-backed lobbying activities of PACE’s incumbent President Mevlut Cavusoglu, a representative of Turkey.
According to Cavusoglu, if reestablished the Karabakh subcommittee will continue to work within the scope of the powers of its predecessor that dealt with the same issue.
Naira Zohrabyan, a member of the Armenian delegation to PACE, says Cavusoglu is making a reference to PACE’s resolution 1416 that suggests setting up a subcommittee on the Nagorno-Karabakh issue. The resolution adopted by PACE in 2005 urges the parties to the conflict to abide by the UN Security Council resolution on Karabakh and calls for “the withdrawal of Armenian troops from the Azerbaijani territory”.
Presidency in the PACE Ministerial Committee belongs to Turkey from November 10 to May 15. Zohrabyan, head of the Armenian National Assembly’s Committee on European Integration Affairs, says Azerbaijan will use this period of Turkish presidency to solve issues that it has on its the agenda.
“They will advance the issues of the Turkish-Azeri lobby, in particular, finally approving the reopening of the work of the subcommittee on Karabakh affairs at the January session,” Zohrabyan was quoted by ArmeniaNow as saying.
The Armenian MP believes the Armenian delegation should boycott the work of the PACE subcommittee on Nagorno-Karabakh if it is resumed.
Zohrabyan, representing the Prosperous Armenia Party, says shifting the Karabakh issue from the format of the OSCE Minsk Group to any other format is unacceptable. She says this is the position shared by all members of the Armenian delegation representing the ruling Republican Party, as well as the Country of Law Party, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, and the Heritage Party.