BAKU: Azeris sceptical about Armenian claims to Naxcivan – paper

Azeris sceptical about Armenian claims to Naxcivan – paper

Ekho, Baku
17 Mar 04

Text of R. Orucov’s report by Azerbaijani newspaper Ekho on 17 March
headlined “Armenia again encroaches on Naxcivan”

The Union of Armenian Writers [UAW] intends to raise in the parliament
of that country the issue of declaring void the 1921 Russian-Turkish
treaty, which secured the cession of “Kars and some other Armenian
territories to Turkey, and of Naxcivan to Azerbaijan”. According to
the Armenian newspaper Azg, these statements were made at a meeting of
representatives of the Armenian intelligentsia, which was organized by
the UAW at the Armenian government session chamber.

According to UAW Chairman Levon Ananyan, one of the main objectives of
the meeting was to “prevent the aforementioned treaty from sinking
into oblivion”. He noted that the Russian-Turkish treaty “On
friendship and fraternity” dated 1921 was conducive to “extirpation of
Armenians in this region”. Ananyan said that the UAW was making
preparations for filing an appeal with the National Assembly of
Armenia that it should request the Russian State Duma to render the
treaty void. The head of the UAW underscored that “we have to put the
issues of Karabakh and Naxcivan at the same level”. In addition,
Ananyan claims that resolving this issue is “as important as it was 83
years ago”.

In Azerbaijan attitudes towards the UAW plans are sceptical. “The
Armenians always say what they want and what is advantageous to them,”
doctor of international law Rustam Mammadov said in a conversation
with Ekho. “First, they should not forget that two treaties were
sealed on 16 March 1921 simultaneously, the Russian-Turkish and
Armenian-Azerbaijani-Georgian ones. The second treaty reiterated the
same provisions as in the Russian-Turkish one. And separate clauses
were dedicated to the issue of Naxcivan in both treaties. It was
established that Naxcivan was a constituent part of Azerbaijan. In
fact, it was precisely because of this provision that the Turks agreed
to sign the peace treaty.” Second, Mammadov said, in this treaty
Soviet Russia guaranteed Naxcivan’s security and its being part of
Azerbaijan. It is effectively impossible to denounce this treaty now,
the expert said. “Because this document was not signed by the
modern-day Russian Federation. Even the Soviet Union did not exist at
the moment of its signing. The modern-day Russia, in turn, was created
as a result of the dissolution of the Soviet Union.” The most
important thing is that the Armenian side has no grounds to declare
separation of Naxcivan from Azerbaijan “because in 1921 Armenia signed
the trilateral agreement recognizing Naxcivan as part of
Azerbaijan. There is also an addendum to the treaty specifically
devoted to the status of Naxcivan. And it is too signed by Armenia,”
Rustam Mammadov emphasized.

As to the possibility of the Armenian National Assembly requesting the
Russian State Duma to annul the Russian-Turkish treaty of 1921, this
option is not considered as serious by the Russian diplomats either.
Commenting on this issue for Ekho, press attache of the embassy of the
Russian Federation in Baku Gennadiy Yevsyukov said that “there have
not yet been such precedents in the post-Soviet area. Therefore we, as
serious diplomats, find it hard to analyse hypothetical steps of
non-government organizations with respect to the regulatory and legal
framework of the early 20th century. Personally, I would not undertake
to get into discussions on revision of the regulatory and legal
framework of our historical past,” the diplomat said.

In turn, deputy executive secretary of the ruling New Azerbaijan Party
Bahar Muradova told Ekho that the voiced claims had to be viewed as
the continuation of the notorious Armenian expansionist policies. “It
also implies that even if Armenia, through international structures,
officially renounces its claims to our occupied territories tomorrow,
this does not mean that it will have given up the idea of
appropriating Azerbaijani or Turkish lands. I think that both the
government of our country and the international community should pay
close attention to this matter.” Muradova does not think that the
request to the State Duma of the Russian Federation will lead to the
results that the Armenians desire. She is confident that the Russian
State Duma will not take steps that could jeopardize Azerbaijan’s
territorial integrity.

Submitted by Janoyan Ana