What Luis Almagro doesnt know about Nagorno-Karabakh
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Recently the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uruguay, Luis Almagro, made an extremely concerning and provocative statement regarding the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict. In a conference, attended mainly by the Armenian ultranationalist organization Hay Dat, Almagro said that his country might recognize Nagorno-Karabakh as an independent country. He pointed out that the region is mainly inhabited by ethnic Armenians and that it historically belonged to them. If Mr. Almagro had bothered to pick up a history book he would have realized that in the 1990s Armenia and Azerbaijan were engaged in a war over Nagorno-Karabakh. Ever since 1994 Armenia has occupied some 20 percent of Azerbaijan’s territory. The number of deaths mounted up to 30.000 lives and more than a million Azerbaijani civilians were forced to leave their native lands in Karabakh. The biggest massacre, Khojaly Massacre, claimed the lives of 613 civilians, among them were 106 women and 83 children. They were all murdered without mercy by Armenian armed forces with the assistance of the Russian 366th Regiment. That is how Nagorno-Karabakh became “mainly inhabited by Armenians”, Mr. Almagro. What remains of Karabakh today is an impoverished mono-ethnic region with little more than nighty thousand ethnic Armenians.
The history of Karabakh has nothing to do with Armenia. In 1828 the Russian Empire started to relocate Armenians from the Ottoman and Persian Empire to Transcaucasia. Over the course of years Armenians were slowly becoming the majority in these areas, Karabakh was just one of them. The photo left below depicts an Armenian monument built in Karabakh in 1987, to honor the 150 years of Armenian settlement in Karabakh. The inscription reads in Armenian “Maragha 150”, which is the town in Iran where the Armenian immigrants originally came from. The photo right below is taken ten years later
in 1988, the inscription is removed and a new history was being written.
Recognizing Nagorno-Karabakh as an independent state is not a solution. This would only escalate the conflict. This is the reason why even Armenia does not recognize Nagorno-Karabakh. We believe that the perspectives of both sides must be respected. In 2010 the European Parliament recommended, in resolution INI/2009/2216, that Nagorno-Karabakh should have an autonomous status with the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. We concur with this compromise because it takes into account all the necessary elements: self-determination, sovereignty and territorial integrity. Only this solution can lead to a long lasting peaceful coexistence and cooperation of the Armenian and Azerbaijani community.
The United Nations, European Union, Council of Europe and other prominent international organizations recognize the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh. In 1993 the Security Council of the United Nations confirmed in 4 resolutions that’s Nagorno-Karabakh was Azerbaijan’s territory and condemned Armenia’s occupation; see resolution 822, 853, 874 and 884. Aside this the U.N. General Assembly also confirmed in several resolutions that Nagorno-Karabakh was part of Azerbaijan; see resolution 49/13 and 57/298. In 2008 the U.N. again reaffirmed the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and demanded the immediate withdrawal of Armenian troops from all occupied territories of Azerbaijan; see resolution GA/10693. In 2005 the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe said: “Considerable parts of the territory of Azerbaijan are still occupied by Armenian forces, and separatist forces are still in control of the Nagorno-Karabakh region.” There are dozens of similar resolutions which call for the withdrawal of Armenian soldiers from Karabakh. And yet they are all ignored by Armenia.
By supporting the recognition of Nagorno-Karabakh, Mr. Almagro neglects all of the above mentioned resolutions and thereby he neglects the international law. Recognizing Nagorno-Karabakh as an independent state is to give a green light to ethnic cleansing and annexation. Taking into account the friendly relations between Uruguay and Azerbaijan and their people, we Azerbaijanis call on Minister Almogro to retract his unjust and misleading statement.