Elkhan Suleymanov: PACE Officially Identifies Armenia as Occupying Power of Nagorno-Karabakh and Adjacent Areas of Azerbaijan, Requests Immediate Withdrawal of Armenian Forces from the Region
What follows is a recent, firsthand account of
new and historically significantdevelopments at the Parliamentary
Assembly of the Council of Europe. We are pleased at the opportunity to carry
this important recollection here.
(Strasbourg, January 30, 2016) Two draft
reports, related to Nagorno-Karabakh and other territories of Azerbaijan
occupied by Armenia, were debated and put to the vote during the winter
part-session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in
Strasbourg. Both reports were the result of motions tabled by Elkhan
Suleymanov, who has been fighting in Strasbourg for two years to have the
forgotten issue of occupied Nagorno-Karabakh and adjacent territories back on
the international agenda.
The first draft report put the focus on the
escalation of violence at the contact line on the front with Armenian armed
forces, and the second emphasized the humanitarian crisis Azerbaijani citizens
are facing in regions close to the Sarsang reservoir, as these Azerbaijani
citizens are being deliberately deprived of water.
The first draft report on escalation of
violence at the front line was narrowly not adopted, as many MP?s gave in to
the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) argument that
this item is only under their responsibility, not PACE?s. The OSCE Minsk
Co-Chairs indeed sent virulent open letters and press statements to Council of
Europe parliamentarians, never seen before, “warning? them not to interfere in
what they call “their business?.
Many MP?s, under the impression of so much
pressure by the administrations in Washington, Paris, and Moscow, eventually
did not take a standpoint at all. This was reflected in the voting result,
where not less than 45 MPs abstained, a unique number of abstentions in PACE?s
history. It is of course regrettable for both parties in the occupation,
Azerbaijan and Armenia, that PACE turns a blind eye to the escalation of
violence at the line of contact at the front, as almost on a daily basis military
and civilian casualties are noted, on both sides.
As the Armenians ? obviously supported by the
OSCE Minsk Group administrations in their attempt to silence the discussion in
PACE ? were mainly focusing on the first report on the escalation of violence
at the line of contact, calling both parties to take up responsibilities to
find solutions, all of them gave less attention to the second report. But the
Armenians would strongly regret that mistake afterwards.
The second report, also initiated by Elkhan Suleymanov,
was indeed of a different nature. This report clearly puts full and sole
responsibility on the Armenian authorities as aggressor, and identifies
Azerbaijani citizens as the victims of Armenian aggression.
The Resolution points at Armenian authorities
abusing the water of the Sarsang basin and bad condition of the dam and
irrigation canals as an environmental aggression, a hostile act aiming at
creating environmental disaster for the citizens of Azerbaijan living in the
Lower Karabakh Valley:
“Par. 7.2 The Assembly requeststheArmenian
authoritiesto cease using water resources as tools of political influence
or an instrument of pressure benefiting only one of the parties to the
In this Resolution, it is NOT mentioned that
this aggression is a shared responsibility, as it was the case in all previous
Resolutions. Today, it?s Armenian authorities alone who are clearly confronted
with their responsibility for this aggression, and Armenia is urged to meet
At the same time, and clearly the most
important part of this adopted Resolution (No. 2085 (2016)), PACE clearly
identifies “Armenia as occupier of Nagorno-Karabakh and other adjacent areas of
Azerbaijan?, and PACE adopts the official “request for the immediate withdrawal
of Armenian armed forces from the region?.
Moreover, the Parliamentary Assembly of the
Council of Europe did not include any part in the adopted text which goes
against the interest of Azerbaijan, as all 21 amendments tabled by Armenia were
defeated by a landslide majority, or eventually withdrawn. In the newly adopted
Resolution, there is no longer any mention of “separatist forces? who “are in
control?, as it was mentioned in the previous Resolutions, which became a
classic reference in this matter.
Since the 2016 adoption of this Resolution,
the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe is indeed finally stating ?
beyond any ambiguity! ? that “Armenia is occupying Nagorno-Karabakh and other
adjacent areas of Azerbaijan?.
This standpoint being considered in paragraph
4 of the draft Resolution made Armenians boil with rage during the debate, as
they perfectly understood the terrible range of this paragraph, and the
political consequence for their future position, but the Assembly voted the
related Armenian amendment ? to delete that paragraph ? down with 109 votes to
37, and 36 abstentions.
This Resolution?s text as a whole was
eventually adopted in the Plenary Chamber by 98 votes in favor, 71 against and
40 abstentions. Since January 26, 2016, this Resolution carries official numberNo.
2085 (2016)and can be found in the category “Adopted texts? on the PACE
homepage. This new Resolution is from now a final, unchangeable, and official
document by the Parliamentary Assembly. This new 2016 Resolution serves as
legal support for any Azerbaijani stakeholder or friends of Azerbaijan as a new
legal reference in any debate in any format.
Compared to all so-far existing Resolutions on
matters related to Nagorno-Karabakh, whether by PACE, UNSC, EP or OSCE, it is
crystal clear that this initiative has finally led to the strongest and fairest
official international standpoint in the history of the occupation of
Nagorno-Karabakh and other territories of Azerbaijan by Armenia.
In addition, in this 2016 Resolution, PACE is no
longer officially calling on Azerbaijan to establish contact with the so-called
“political representatives? of the so-called separatists, to discuss with them
“the future status of the region?, and in particular to do that “without
preconditions?. The new Resolution is not mentioning this at all, and is
putting full and sole responsibility for aggression on the Armenian
authorities, without any ambiguity.
Azerbaijan can now rely on a new, very strong
and clear Resolution, today archived as official PACENo. 2085 (2016)Resolution,
reflecting a fair and fresh, additional and clarifying official position by the
Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
Thus, on January 26, 2016, it was officially
confirmed by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe by adopting
that Resolution, specifically in paragraph 4, thatArmenia is occupying
Nagorno-Karabakh and other adjacent areas of Azerbaijan, and the Assembly is
expressing a clearrequest to Armenia to withdraw immediately their armed
forces from the region.
During the last months, all Armenian
communities and diasporas, including political and religious leaders, media
stakeholders, international civil society, opposition parties, all their
diplomats all over Europe and US were mobilized against both these reports.
Nevertheless, on January 26, 2016, around
noon, the final voting result lighted up on the big screens in the Plenary
Chamber, more than 200 MPs participating in that vote, the Resolution was
largely adopted, and thus the victory finally and definitely confirmed. For
Azerbaijan, after 11 years of complete silence, this newly adopted2085
(2016)Resolution is most welcome!
In the meantime, this new Resolution is
already getting many reactions from different European sides. It obviously
served the cause of Azerbaijan, having for last two years the occupation of
Azerbaijani territories by Armenia again under the full attention of the
international community, in particular since the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs
haven?t made any progress in 21 years.
This Resolution has indeed raised
international awareness for the ongoing injustice, and is finally clarifying,
after so many years, that all this is not about a so-called frozen war. This
initiative resulted in a Resolution, officially confirming that for all these
years, this is clearly about one neighbor state ? Armenia ? occupying
territories from another neighbor state ? Azerbaijan ? through armed
aggression, thus against all international law principles.
Moreover, thanks to this new Resolution2085
(2016), the international community and particularly European community is
realizing that not only Nagorno-Karabakh but also seven other territories of
Azerbaijan are suffering from the unjustified and unlawful armed occupation by
We express sincere hope that this victory will
give new hope to Azerbaijan and will be a contribution to the freedom of all
occupied Azerbaijani territories!