UN General Assembly adopts resolution recognizing Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity and demanding Armenian forces’ withdrawal from occupied territories

UN General Assembly adopts resolution recognizing Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity and demanding Armenian forces’ withdrawal from occupied territories
# 15 March 2008 10:00 (UTC +04:00)
APA’s US bureau reports that the discussions started with speech of Azerbaijan’s ambassador to UN Agshin Mehdiyev. He said that Nagorno Karabakh had historically belonged to Azerbaijan, considered motherland of our ancestors Christian Albans from the 4th century till the Middle Ages, beginning from the 7th century Azerbaijani people converted to Islam, but Nagorno Karabakh Albans remained Christians. He stated that Ibrahim khan Karabakhli signed a treaty in 1805 and Nagorno Karabakh was annexed to Russia. The ambassador said the Armenians had come to the region after that. He mentioned that Alban patriarchate was abolished by Russians and their properties were given to Armenian churches in 1836. In 1936 Azerbaijan declared its independence and yielded the town of Irevan to Armenia basing on its friendship policy with the country. According to ambassador, beginning from 1987 Azerbaijanis were deported from Armenia, 220 Azerbaijanis were killed, over 1100 were wounded and 250,000 people were displaced. He said separatism in Nagorno Karabakh had been supported by Armenia and the decision passed by Armenian parliament in 1989 on unification with Nagorno Karabakh proved this.
“Later, Armenia with the help of foreign military units and terrorist groups occupied Nagorno Karabakh and seven regions adjacent to it. It was accompanied by ethnic cleansing policy, as a result of which, one million people were displaced,” he said.
The ambassador said Armenians’ policy was also condemned by the UN and mentioned the adoption of four UN resolutions, which demanded the immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal of forces from the occupied territories.
Agshin Mehdiyev said in 1996 OSCE Lisbon Summit made a statement on the principles for the settlement of the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, which included the territorial integrity of the countries and legal status of Nagorno Karabakh defined in an agreement based on self-determination which confers on Nagorno Karabakh the highest degree of self-rule within Azerbaijan. The ambassador said it had been supported by all (53) members of OSCE except Armenia.
“But Armenians illegally settle people in the occupied territories, plunder the territory’s natural resources with the help of foreign companies and destroy all historical monuments of Azerbaijan. In 2004 OSCE fact-finding mission visited the region in connection with the facts of illegal settlement of Armenians in the occupied territories. The mission proved that Armenians had settled illegally and warned the opposite side against such cases,” he said.
The ambassador said the provocation of Armenians on March 4 led to the casualties from both sides.
“The Armenians’ provocation aimed at diverting the attention of the people from the political crisis in the country. Unfortunately, using military force has become one of the main methods of Armenia’s domestic and foreign policy,” he said.
Agshin Mehdiyev said Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity was out of discussion, and underlined that illegal units should be withdrawn from the territories in order to establish peace and achieve return of local people. Agshin Mehdiyev especially noted that discussion of Nagorno Karabakh in the UN did not mean that Azerbaijan refused the current format of negotiations.
“Discussion of the issue in the General Assembly aims at demonstrating commitment to the core principles ensuring the settlement of the conflict, showing support to the mediators and getting more productive results,” he said.
The ambassador said the mediators wanted to find the solution ensuring the interests of both sides.
“But in order to reach this goal the sides should base on the same principles. Azerbaijan bases on the international legal norms and will carry out negotiations basing on them. The principle of self-determination should not contradict the principle of territorial integrity,” the ambassador said.
Mehdiyev expressed his anxiety that OSCE MG co-chairs had not proper proposals. Ambassador noted that the state had not right to sacrifice the territorial integrity to protect co-chairs neutral position and made strict statement on it.
“Co-chairs spoke about neutralism during the negotiations on Nagorno Karabakh. But this neutralism is not a position. On the contrary, this is a good pretext to avoid from concrete political position. We asked to obey international law. If the international law is violated, there will not be neutralism,” he said.
Slovenian representative made a statement on the behalf of EU and stated that Azerbaijan has right to raise any issue in UN. He stressed that Nagorno Karabakh conflict should be solved within OSCE MG.US representative speaking on the behalf of co-chairs stated that core principles were presented to the conflict parties for the solution to the conflict in the assembly of OSCE in Madrid in November, 2007. Diplomat noted that those proposals were item for the negotiations between Azerbaijan and Armenia. US representative noted that resolution presented by Azerbaijan covered only one part of co-chairs’ proposals. He stated that co-chairs would not support the document raised in General Assembly. Diplomat stressed that they recognized the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and did not accept the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh.
Pakistani representative spoke on the behalf of Organization of Islamic Conference. He stated that they supported Azerbaijan’s position and noted that there were one million people exiled from their lands as a result of aggressive policy pursued by Armenia and stressed that Azerbaijani religious, historical heritage was ruined in Nagorno Karabakh. He noted that OIC condemned aggressive policy of Armenia every time and called members of organization to vote for resolution . Uganda representative stated that Azerbaijanis are the victim of the war and noted that they support them. Turkish and Ukrainian representatives stated the same position.
Armenian ambassador to UN Armen Martirosyan noted that official Baku caused damage to negotiations raising the resolution in UN. He protested position of Ukrainian, Turkish and OIC representatives. Irrespective of this, 39 states voted for the document, 7 sates voted against it. 100 states took neutral position. The states against resolution were Russia, US, France, India, Angola and Vanuatu.
The reolution adopted by UN General Assembly says:
1. General Assembly respected for sovereignty of Azerbaijan and recognized its territorial integrity within borders adopted by international laws.
2. General Assembly demands withdrawal of Armenian military forces from occupied lands urgently, completely and undoubtedly.
3. General Assembly recognizes the right on returning the population to their lands and paying compensation to them.
4. General Assembly supports to ensure security of Azerbaijani and Armenian Communities of Nagorno Karabakh and provide condition for their activity.
5. General assembly supports the activity of OSCE MG co-chairs within international legal norms and wished them to increase efforts to gain the peace.
6. General Assembly asked for UN General Secretary to make a report about execution of resolution on situation in Azerbaijani occupied lands in 63rd session.


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