STEPANAKERT—The foreign ministry of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic issued an announcement on Saturday urging Azerbaijan to recognize the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and engage in direct negotiations with officials from Stepanekert.
The announcement also points to Azeri efforts to advance the notion “inter-community,” as in the respect for rights of Azeris living in Nagorno-Karabakh without taking responsibility or addressing the issue of the more than 500,000 Armenians displaced as a direct result of Azeri aggression.
Azerbaijani authorities are actively inserting the notion of “inter-community” aimed at distorting the essence of the Karabakh question and transforming the actual trilateral format of the conflict into a bilateral one, which is favorable to official Baku.
The Azerbaijani-Karabakh conflict is the consequence of official Baku’s inability to display civilized approaches to the solution of the issue, which occurred as a result of the natural processes of disintegration at the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union. The Nagorno Karabakh Republic, which had been established in full accordance with the legislation of the time and all the international norms, became an object of Azerbaijan’s full-scale aggression aimed at physical extermination of Nagorno-Karabakh Republic citizens. Having lost the war, which it had unleashed, Baku, unfortunately, became more sophisticated in its provocations on the political front.
The attempts to introduce the Karabakh conflict as “inter-community” are propaganda tactics of official Baku, which is attempting to distract the international community from the real essence of the issue. This again attests to the Azerbaijani authorities’ lack of political will and desire for a peaceful resolution of the conflict.
The “inter-community” format pursues far-reaching goals, in particular, the unilateral return of Azerbaijani refugees to Nagorno Karabakh without resolving the issue of the 500,000 Armenians deported from Azerbaijan; turning the issue of former “colony” and former “metropolis” into inter-ethnic problems of the region’s inhabitants, while it is a consequence of the general discrimination policy of the Azerbaijani authorities toward Karabakh Armenians. Baku ignores the factor that the Nagorno Karabakh Republic is an entity, and introduces the established Karabakh state as a region in Azerbaijan’s structure with equal rights of two communities. Official Baku considers that the aforementioned should ultimately become the basis for the conclift’s solution in the radically unviable format of “self-determination of Nagorno Karabakh within Azerbaijan.”
Karabakh considers the “inter-community” approach not only non-essential, but also extremely dangerous, as it leads the peacemaking process to deadlock and discredits the very idea of peacemaking, causing additional tension and non-confidence between the societies of the conflicting sides.
The attempt of artificially granting this status to the Azerbaijani minority has no legal basis; it contradicts, in particular, the OSCE Budapest Summit resolution (1994) on the recognition of Nagorno Karabakh as an independent party to the conflict, without noting the “communities.” The right of the Nagorno Karabakh population to self-determination did not depend on the existence of consensus between the Armenians and Azerbaijanis. The former citizens of Nagorno Karabakh of Azerbaijani origin, to whom the Karabakh authorities gave the chance of participating in the voting and resolving the future fate of the region, preferred leaving Karabakh and becoming citizens of the newly proclaimed Azerbaijani Republic.
A constructive dialogue between the citizens of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and former Azerbaijani citizens of Nagorno Karabakh is possible only after the legal recognition of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic. Only direct negotiations between the political leadership of Nagorno Karabakh and Azerbaijan can give specific results on the comprehensive settlement of the issue and establishment of long-term peace in the region.