Mehmood Ul Hassan Khan
February 2017 marks the 25th anniversary of the Khojaly genocide, which is one of the blackest and bloodiest pages of human history. Even after 25 years, the scars remain raw and the trauma as stark as ever.
The Khojaly massacre is one of the most heinous and bloodiest events of the 20th century. It is still a black spot on the collective human conscious of the region and the globe as well. It is an act of barbarism and discrimination. The town of Khojaly came under intensive fire from the town of Khankendi and Askeran already occupied by Armenian armed forces February 25, 1992. According to an official report, 613 civilians were killed, including 106 women, 70 elderly and 83 children, and a total of 1,000 civilians were disabled. Moreover, 1,275 innocent people were taken hostage.
Khojaly tragedy is another terrible example of the policy of ethnic cleansing and genocide against the Azerbaijani people, which is pursued by the Armenian nationalists and their patrons for a long time.
Khojaly: Integral Part of Azerbaijan
“The Khojaly genocide was an integral part of the occupation policy of Armenia against Azerbaijan, and this led to the massive and gross violation of the norms and principles of international law and human rights and freedoms,”
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan strongly condemned Armenia plans to conduct so-called “referendum on constitutional changes” in the puppet illegal regime it has established in the temporarily occupied territories of Azerbaijan. It reiterates that through aggression and occupation Armenia established an illegal regime in the temporarily occupied territories of Azerbaijan which is under its military, political and financial obligations as as was confirmed by the European Court of Human Rights in its judgment of 16 June 2015 on the case of Chiragov and others v. Armenia.
Armenia’s Provocative Step
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan termed it as provocative step Armenia’s deliberate attempts to change the name of integral Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan. It is yet another clear manifestation that Armenia is not genuinely interested in seeking a political settlement of the armed conflict, it added. It is of the view that Armenia always pursues the path of escalation. It undertakes consistent measures to consolidate the results of its occupation policy and to maintain unacceptable and unsustainable status quo. It undermines efforts for the peaceful resolution of the conflict through substantive talks. It illegally changes the demographic, cultural and physical character of the occupied territories. Moreover, it engages in negative economic and other activities, including transfer of Armenian population into these territories with the ultimate goal change the nature of demography. Armenia also undermines and puts under jeopardy the regional and international peace and security. It is also against the true spirits of international law.
International Organizations Resolutions Year Confirmation of Azerbaijan’s Stance
United Nations Security Council 822 1993 UN accepted and endorsed the legitimate stance of Azerbaijan towards illegal occupation of Armenia to its territories.
853 1993 It once again reaffirmed that the Nagorno-Karabakh region is an inalienable part of Azerbaijan and demanded immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal of the occupying forces from all occupied territories of Azerbaijan.
874 1993 It called for the withdrawal of Armenian troops from Kelbajar, Agdam, Fizuli, Jabrayil, Qubadli and Zangilan.
General Assembly 62/243 2008 It condemned the use of force against Azerbaijan and occupation of its territories and reaffirmed the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and the inviolability of its internationally recognized borders
The illegal “referendum” constitutes a clear violation of the Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the norms and principles of international law, and, therefore, has no legal effect whatsoever. This so-called “referendum” is also being conducted in the seized lands under situation created through the use of force and threat of force against the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan by Armenia and accompanied by the notorious practice of ethnic cleansing and other flagrant violations of the norms and principles of international law, the foreign ministry of Azerbaijan.
Responsibility of International Community
It calls upon the international community to reject this fabricated illegal “referendum” exercise and to exert political and diplomatic pressure on Armenia with a view to drop its futile attempts to mislead its own people and the wider international community, cease its policy of occupation and annexation, engage constructively in the conflict settlement process and comply with its international obligations
Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh conflict
Azerbaijan and Armenia has been fighting for Nagorno-Karabakh conflict for so many years. But reconciliatory efforts have not yet been succeeded due to many reasons. On the other hand Armenia’s media wars, propaganda missions and active role of lobbyists are conflicting around the clock due to which human stakes are at risk in the said occupied areas. Still human misery, poverty, unemployment, backwardness and above all strategic isolation are the ultimate dividends of the persistent conflict of Nagorno-Karabakh in the South Caucasus for Armenia where poverty, unemployment and human capital flight is rampant. Now the continued occupation of Azerbaijani territories by Armenian armed forces is a threat to peace and stability in the South Caucasus, as well as a source of destabilization for the region and beyond in the future.
Visit of Representatives of Diplomatic Missions of Foreign Countries
Most recently, representatives of diplomatic missions of foreign countries and heads of international organizations in Azerbaijan visited the liberated Jojug Marjanli village in the country’s Jabrayil region. The village was fully liberated from the Armenian occupation in April 2016, when Azerbaijani Armed Forces prevented an Armenian provocation on the contact line. To protect civilian population, the Azerbaijani army launched counter attacks and as a result, the Azerbaijani troops retook hills around the village of Talish, as well as Seysulan settlement, and also took over Leletepe hill located in the direction of Fizuli region. The State Committee for Affairs of Refugees and IDPs informed that the delegation got acquainted with the ongoing reconstruction work in Jojug Marjanli.
Decisive Role of USA President Trump
Globally, USA President Trump has the historic opportunity to truly earn Nobel Price by using his self-proclaimed mastery of deal-making to resolve one of the world’s intractable conflicts of the former Soviet Union; namely, the “frozen conflict” between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. In 1991, full-scale war broke out between Armenia and Azerbaijan and despite a cease-fire in 1994, border skirmishes and fighting has continued. Over one million people have been displaced as a result of the conflict and today close to 20 percent of Azerbaijan’s territory is occupied by Armenian forces.
The United States, along with Russia and France, is the co-chair of the Minsk Group tasked with resolving this conflict. Russia has not only sabotaged numerous attempts at resolution of the conflict but has provided military support to Armenia thus prolonging the conflict. Washington has been too busy with distractions in the Middle East to take a lead role in establishing a lasting peace between Yerevan and Baku. And yet, both Armenia and Azerbaijan deserve a permanent peace.
Trump can deliver this dream of a new beginning to the people of Armenia and Azerbaijan by leading a robust diplomatic initiative resulting in a permanent solution that is fair to both sides. Mr. Trump’s success would signal to the world that America is back in the business of policing the world to maintain global stability.
For its successful conflict resolution the key is Armenia and Mr. Trump’s ability to persuade Mr. Putin the President of Russia to get Armenian President Sargsyan to agree to a permanent peace settlement.
Azerbaijan’s Foreign Policy
Resolution of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno Karabakh conflict remains the primary objective for Azerbaijan’s foreign policy. This conflict has already defied regional boundaries and now poses a great threat for the political configuration across a wider geography. Meanwhile, the Armenian side aims to mislead the world by persisting that the conflict has religious roots and to that end it is engaged in a broad international propaganda.
Armenians’ Groundless Territorial Claims
Regrettably, this lie aimed at disguising Armenians’ groundless territorial claims has found support among certain quarters in the West. In the modern world, with increasing religious and cultural phobias, such attitude is indicator of the impact of phobia instead of truth in the international system. This in turn places Nagorno Karabakh conflict that has already spilled across the regional boundaries in the category of conflicts with global relevance.
Deadly Clashes of 2016
During 2016 unprecedented developments took place both in terms of military and peaceful resolution of the said conflict. The parties have never been so close to either all-out war or public peace initiatives since the ceasefire deal was reached back in 1994.
President of Azerbaijan H.E. Ilham Aliyev
The President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev highlighted the significance of April events in shattering the Armenian myth, by saying: “The April battles are a brilliant victory for us. They have demonstrated the power of the Azerbaijani state again. At the same time, they showed once again that we will never put up with this situation. We will give an adequate response to all provocations. At the same time, we have completely dispelled the myth Armenia had been creating for years. Without receiving the weapons, money and other assistance from outside, they can’t cope with us even for a week. They recognize that themselves”.
This is Azerbaijan’s position of principle. In the meantime, the military junta in Armenia is capitalizing on the conflict to retain power. This is why it resorts to derailing of negotiations and provocations at crucial moments thus evoking growing discontent within the Armenian society. Forced protraction of the conflict increases negativity on the part of the Armenian people who are living under severe economic constraints and are frustrated due to constant pressure by the military junta.
On its part, Pakistan does not recognize Armenia as an independent state because of its occupation of Azerbaijani territories. Most recently, the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs demonstrate Solidarity with the Government and People of the Republic of Azerbaijan which was unanimously approved by the Standing Committee. It condemned the occupation of Azerbaijani territories by Armenia and the genocide committed by Armenian armed forces in the Azerbaijani town of Khojaly on February 26, 1992 against civilian population.
The Committee reaffirmed the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Azerbaijan within its internationally recognized borders. The Committee demanded implementation of resolutions of the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly on immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal of all Armenian forces from all the occupied territories of Azerbaijan and calls upon the international community and international organizations to urge Armenia for the implementation of these decisions.
The Committee supported the efforts of the Republic of Azerbaijan to resolve the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict by peaceful means.
The resolutions adopted by international organizations on conflicts are very important, as they are one of the main sources of international law. International principles and the resolutions of international organizations are in favor of Azerbaijan, and there is no example of an international organization that has adopted a resolution in favor of Armenia. This is why Russia and other strong members of international system are obliged to fulfill the resolutions of international organizations.
Khojaly genocide was an ethnic cleansing of Armenia forces against helpless Azerbaijanis. It was an act of barbarism and naked use of military power but it could not produce any dint to the spirits of Azerbaijanis who are still trying to liberate its occupied areas from Armenia.
The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has carried a geopolitical significance and a risk of degenerating into a regional conflagration that is arguably larger than any other conflict in post-Soviet Eurasia. Indeed, it is the single conflict that has led to threats actually being voiced of a ‘Third World War. Power politics and its chessboard have already produced havocs for the Azeri people live in the occupied areas. It has also marginalized its just conflict resolution due to vested interests of the power brokers in the region and beyond.
Karabakh is located midway between the Azerbaijani, Armenian and Iranian borders. In terms of geography, Karabakh is the door to Turkey, Iran and Azerbaijan. Moreover, Karabakh has a special importance for Azerbaijan. Karabakh is very important for Azerbaijan, because, they claim that this region is a historical Azerbaijani land. In addition to this, Karabakh forms approximately 30 percent of the Azerbaijan territory. So, Karabakh is very big loss for Azerbaijan.
Europe holds the “wild card” and ultimately America. Transactional diplomacy by the Trump Administration may see challenges to Karabakh that could tip the issue a number of ways. Keeping Karabakh simmering is a major factor. Finally, how Arab states see Karabakh is ultimately important too given the strengthening of the Armenian diaspora in MENA vs those Arab states that actually support Baku on Karabakh”.
The United Nations (UN) supports peaceful settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Azerbaijan has numerously stated its readiness to discuss the status of Nagorno-Karabakh while talking to Sputnik news agency, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev said “There can be a compromise on the issues of local self-government of the Nagorno-Karabakh, and in the future, if we agree, it can be an autonomous republic”. President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev he firmly stated that there can be no compromise on the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.
The occupation of Azerbaijani lands harms Armenia itself due to its policy, the country cannot benefit from the international projects. If that continues, Armenia will be even more ignored by its neighbors. Moreover, this also hinders a deeper economic cooperation between the countries of the region. If Armenia is interested in the prosperity of Karabakh, it must stop the occupation, withdraw the troops, and then Baku will do everything possible to develop the region in the interests of all nations living there.
Nagorno-Karabakh issue is frozen conflict which should be resolved because it can erupt into a full-scale confrontation at any time and remains the most dangerous unresolved conflict in wider Europe, Last year, the conflict did erupt. Nevertheless, the international community still neglects to pay sufficient attention to this conflict.” The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts. The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.