By Abdul Kerimkhanov
Armenia can not call itself democratic since it has occupied another country’s territories, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov has said.
"A country can’t call itself democratic when it occupies 20 percent of another country’s territories, turning over one million people into refugee and IDP," Mammadyarov said during the High-Level Ministerial Seminar on “A New Political vision for Eastern Partnership" (EaP) held in Stockholm on November 5.
He reminded that under the European Parliament’s 2013 resolution on European Neighbourhood Policy, the occupation of one Eastern Partnership country’s territories by another member country violates the fundamental principles and objectives of EaP.
"We cannot tolerate anymore the occupation and abuse of the core principles of EaP. Armenia not only maintains the occupation of Azerbaijani territories, but also derails the [peace] process both in words and deeds, and disrupts the efforts of finding the soonest peaceful settlement of the conflict," Mammadyarov stressed.
The minister added that Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict must be resolved in line with UN Security Council Resolutions 822, 853, 874, 884 of 199 that require the withdrawal of Armenian troops from occupied territories.
Upholding the principles of international law and rule-based global order is the best way to tackle challenges and remove security threats in the region, Mammadyarov said. He reminded the unanimous agreement reached in 2009 that the EaP would be based on commitments to the principles of international law.
"Moreover, in the annual reports of Common Foreign and Security Policy, the EP consistently reiterates the EU’s commitment to the territorial integrity of all EaP countries within its internationally recognized borders. So, if the agenda of the next decade of EaP doesn’t have a strong security component, there will be less of value in the process for Azerbaijan," Mammadyarov said.
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, Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts. One million Azerbaijanis were expelled from their homes as a result of the occupation.
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 Nagorno Karabakh and the surrounding districts.
Peace talks brokered by Minsk Group co-chairs representing the United States, Russia and France have been largely fruitless so far.
The negotiations are underway on the basis of a peace outline proposed by the Minsk Group co-chairs and d Madrid Principles, also known as Basic Principles. The document envisions a return of the territories surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh to Azerbaijani control; determining the final legal status of Nagorno-Karabakh; a corridor linking Armenia to the region; and the right of all internally displaced persons to return home.
Abdul Kerimkhanov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AbdulKerim94
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