Paradoxical West-Russia solidarity over Karabakh in light of Ukraine agenda
By Vafa Ismayilova
The most recent picture of current global and regional developments raises some questions. For instance, what brings together in the South Caucasus those who have now become adversaries as a result of the similar situation in Ukraine?
Those concerned about Donetsk, Luhansk, and Crimea in Ukraine, Abkhazia and South Ossetia in Georgia, once turned a blind eye to the Armenian occupation of Azerbaijan's Karabakh and surrounding regions and urged Baku to reconcile with the then reality.
Azerbaijani troops on sovereign territories
In his recent letter to U.S. President Joe Biden, President Ilham Aliyev said that Azerbaijan is a state pursuing independent policies based on the will and interests of its people.
"The liberation of Azerbaijan's historical lands ended almost 30 years of Armenia's military aggression against Azerbaijan, as our country itself implemented the relevant UN Security Council resolutions that had remained on paper for almost 30 years. As an adherent of peace, we are ready to launch negotiations on a peace treaty with Armenia based on fundamental principles of international law, such as the territorial integrity, sovereignty and inviolability of the internationally recognized borders of our country. We do hope that the United States will support Azerbaijan's peace agenda based on a vision for the future,” he said.
Azerbaijan continues its efforts to clarify the location of its positions and deployment points in the Karabakh region. The November 2020 ceasefire agreement signed by Baku, Yerevan, and Moscow, as well as the four UN resolutions adopted in the early 1990s, demand all Armenian armed forces to leave Azerbaijan's internationally recognized territories. And this has not been fully completed.
A few days ago, in response to senior U.S. official Jalina Porter’s recent statement of “concern” over the movement of Azerbaijani troops on the territory of Karabakh, Baku stressed that the United States, as the co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group has not taken any effective steps to end the military aggression of Armenia against Azerbaijan, which has lasted nearly for 30 years.
“Azerbaijan has restored its territorial integrity on the basis of international law and ensured the implementation of UN Security Council resolutions on its own. Currently, the administrative-territorial unit called ‘Nagorno-Karabakh’ does not exist, but there are Karabakh and Eastern Zangazur economic regions, which are part of Azerbaijan. It is irresponsible for a U.S. State Department official to make such a statement on the basis of fake Armenian propaganda. We would like to emphasize once again that the Republic of Azerbaijan is on its sovereign territories,” the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry recalled.
Double standards versus justice
It should be noted that other OSCE Minsk Group co-chairing countries, Russia and France, had a similar reaction. It should be emphasized that applying double standards to Azerbaijan, which is in the same boat with Ukraine is an answer to the above question. However, pursuing double standards while addressing problems of similar nature is incompatible with restoring global justice.
In a post on his official Twitter account, Azerbaijani Consul-General to Los Angeles Nasimi Aghayev shared a similar position.
“Selective application of international law by great powers, especially that of the principles of territorial integrity and inviolability of borders, has brought nothing but instability, wars and bloodshed, practically destroying post-WWII rule-based world order. Time to rectify,” the diplomat stressed.
Azerbaijani ambassador to the United States Khazar Ibrahim also underlined this “hypocrisy”.
“Hypocrisy at work. The statements by the [U.S.] State Department and the [Russian] Defence Ministry are almost identical regarding Azerbaijan these days. Apparently, one needs to be a secular and tolerant majority Muslim country with independent policies based on international law to unite the U.S. and Russia,” he tweeted.
Meanwhile, Turkish media reported that Armenia had handed over combat aircraft to Russia for anti-Ukraine operations. On March 25, four Su-30 fighters are said to have taken off from Armenia and flown to Russia to be used against Ukraine.
As it turns out, Armenia became a party to the conflict in Ukraine, and once again, Armenia contributed to the conflict's escalation rather than regional peace.
We wonder how the United States and other Western countries will respond to Armenia's move, after previously pledging serious consequences for countries providing any military, economic, or other assistance to Russia. Will Armenia also face sanctions?
The recent accident on the illegally laid gas pipeline from Armenia to Azerbaijan's Karabakh triggered yet another "glass storm" in the Armenian media. A true hysteria erupted in the neighboring country, and as expected, the ramifications spread to other countries thanks to the efforts of Armenian lobbyists.
The uproar over suspended gas supplies morphed into yet another issue that appears to unite Russia, the United States, and France.
Former Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Tofiq Zulfugarov touched on the topic in his Facebook post.
“So, what can I say about the topic of gas in Khankandi? It appears that this is the only topic today on which the Russian Federation, the United States, and France all agree... As a result, their conflict in Ukraine is not our concern.
On humanitarian issues, we stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine, but we remain neutral on the question of pro-Russian or pro-Western orientation... We have one pro-Azerbaijani stance!
P.S. Is Russian gas delivered illegally from Armenia to Azerbaijani territory exempt from sanctions?” Zulfugarov wrote.
It's strange that "humanitarian catastrophe" is the term most frequently used by Armenian politicians over the abovementioned issue. A country, which has held one million refugees hostage to its expansionist ambitions, suddenly remembers for the first time in 30 years, the humanitarian side of the problem. The country that polluted rivers (particularly Oxchuchay and others) with mining waste, destroyed forests, burned dry pastures in the summer, and contaminated vast areas with mine and chemical industry waste, remembered the humanitarian factor.
It is interesting where were that time the international "lawyers" of Armenian separatists, who use the word “humanitarian” today?
Why were their voices not heard at the time? So many deputies voted against the well-known PACE resolution on the Sarsang reservoir. Ultimately, despite the efforts of the Azerbaijani delegation, those who voted against it today are the most vocal about "humanitarian catastrophe".
It should be noted that accidents happen everywhere, including Azerbaijan and countries where Armenian lobbyists are active today. Emergencies must be handled calmly and without excessive hysteria. However, the Armenian reality, in keeping with its policy, attempts to blame Azerbaijan for everything that has occurred in this situation.
As earlier Baku stated Yerevan deliberately uses as an instrument for political manipulation of this technical problem.
"Armenia kept Azerbaijan’s Nakhchivan with a population of more than 400,000 people in a gas blockade for many years, for 30 years used the Sarsang Reservoir as a tool for environmental terror against the population of Azerbaijan, for a long time denied the existence of maps of minefields, continues to hide information about the fate of about 4,000 Azerbaijanis who went missing in the early 1990s. Now Armenia is making similar unfounded accusations against Azerbaijan, which is political hypocrisy," the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry said.
Support from other Western countries
In the meantime, independent political expert Elkhan Shahinoglu believes that Azerbaijan can get support from other Western countries over Karabakh.
“We are concerned that the U.S. and France have taken the same stance as the Kremlin on the Karabakh issue while imposing harsh sanctions on Russia over Ukraine. This contradictory solidarity against us has deservedly elicited our outrage. But we won't get anywhere if we keep complaining; we need to take action to break the co-chairs' unity. The West as a whole is not pro-Armenian. Azerbaijan has close ties with the United Kingdom, Poland, Hungary, Romania, and a number of other Western countries, and various agreements have been signed. When Moscow, Washington, or Paris issue statements condemning us for the events in Karabakh, we can ask our Western allies to issue statements in our support. It is possible; you simply need to work at a lower level,” the expert said on his Facebook page.
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