By Abdul Kerimkhanov
Illegal referendum in Azerbaijan’s separatist Nagorno-Karabakh in 1991 was not constitutional and held without Azerbaijan’s consent and Azerbaijanis’ participation, Foreign Ministry’s Spokesperson Leyla Abdullayev has said.
“The so-called ‘referendum on independence’, held by separatists in Nagorno-Karabakh on December 10, 1991, was organized without Azerbaijan’s consent; the autonomous region was legally part of Azerbaijan and the Azerbaijani population of the region did not take part in it [referendum],” Abdullayeva said.
The spokesperson said that Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan seeks to deceive his own people with his recent statements where he alleged that Nagorno-Karabakh had the right to secede from Azerbaijan under the Soviet Constitution.
“Referring to the Constitution of the USSR once again, Pashinyan pretentiously claims that the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region allegedly had a constitutional right to secession,” the spokesperson said.
She recalled that in accordance with Article 78 of the USSR Constitution, USSR territory could not be changed without its consent.
She also cited the decisions by the USSR central authorities, which unequivocally stressed the impossibility of changing Azerbaijan’s borders.
The documents she referred to are: the decision (January 10, 1990) by the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR "On the inconsistency of decisions regarding Nagorno-Karabakh adopted by the Supreme Council of the Armenian SSR dated December 1, 1989 and January 9, 1990 with the Constitution of the USSR”, as well as the decision of the USSR State Council dated November 27, 1991 and the decision of the Committee of Constitutional Supervision of the USSR adopted the following day.
“Thus, the unilateral separation of the Armenians of the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region was contrary to the Soviet legislation… How can the prime minister’s attempts to justify this by the Constitution of the USSR be characterized? This can be characterized as misleading the Armenian population by Armenian prime minister,” Abdullayeva said.
Abdullayeva also slammed Pashinyan’s denial of the Khojaly genocide of February 1992.
She emphasized that Armenian PM ignores independent sources, including the Armenian, local and international media outlets, by casting doubt on the tragedy eyewitnesses’ testimony.
“Apparently, Pashinyan is not aware of the confession made in an interview with foreign journalists by the then Minister of Defense and Armenian ex-President Serzh Sargsyan,” Abdullayeva said. She went on quoting former Armenian President Serj Sargsyan who famously said that "Before Khojaly, the Azerbaijanis thought that the Armenians were unable to raise hand on civil population. And the Armenians managed to break this stereotype."
“As opposed to his predecessors, Pashinyan positions himself in front of the international community as a follower of democratic values. Now he must confirm this and withdraw the Armenian troops from the Azerbaijani territories for civilians to return to their native lands,” Abdullayeva concluded.
For over two decades, Azerbaijan and Armenia have been locked in a conflict, which emerged over Armenia's territorial claims against its South Caucasus neighbor in the 1980s. Since a war in the early 1990s, Armenian armed forces occupied around 20 percent of Azerbaijan's territories, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding regions. The occupation has displaced around one million Azerbaijanis.
Abdul Kerimkhanov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AbdulKerim94
Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz