Atkinson’s report will not save Azerbaijanis

PanArmenian News
Jan 27 2005


PACE resolution on Karabakh cannot be considered an achievement of
Azerbaijan dimplomacy.

Hearing the report on Karabakh, prepared by the British deputy David
Atkinson, the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly passed a
resolution. The Assembly accepted only one of the three amendments
proposed by Armenian delegation. Nevertheless, the final edition of
the text does not pose any threat to Armenia and cannot become a
ground for undesirable processes.

/PanARMENIAN.Net/ Baku leaders assert that they are satisfied with
the passed resolution and find the resolution quite acceptable for
Azerbaijan. However, Baku oppositionists and independent political
scientists do not hold the same opinion. They have detected a number
of points that are dangerous for Azerbaijan. In-depth study of the
resolution text allows to note that the Azerbaijani should have no
less pretensions to Atkinson than Armenians. To make sure, let us try
to go through some of the points of the passed resolution.

In the first point there is something not accepted for Yerevan, since
in this part of the document it is mentioned about the `occupation of
considerable parts of the territory of Azerbaijan’ and the `control
of separatist forces over Nagorno-Karabakh region’. But the
Azerbaijani didn’t manage to achieve mentioning of Armenia in that
point. Here the matter concerns `occupation’ by `Armenian forces’,
that is to say Karabakh with whom official Baku refuses to contact.

The second point is most problematic for Azerbaijan. In this part
PACE actually confirms that the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh will
be fully allowable if it is achieved through a lawful process. In the
resolution it is mentioned: `…independence and secession of a
regional territory from a state may only be achieved through a lawful
and peaceful process based on democratic support by the inhabitants
of such territory’. This formulation which is completely undesirable
for Azerbaijan was kept in the final version of the document.

The third point is about the necesseity of fulfilling the four
resolutions of the United Nations. It should be mentioned that all
the resolutions passed yet in the war did not only call Armenians to
quit the territories under control, but also demanded from Azerbaijan
to agree on armistice immediately. It was Baku that broke the
resolution first. This was admited also by the former co-chairmen of
OSCE Minsk group, for instance Nikolay Gribkov.

The fourth point of the resolution touches upon the inadmissibility
of the use of force and condemns aggressive appeals and `military
propaganda’. This cannot refer to Armenia since aggressive appeals
are made from Baku only. Thus, this point is also a stone thrown in
the garden of Azerbaijan.

In the fifth point it is mentioned about the necessity to create an
`ad hoc Committee’ within the frames of PACE for dealing with the
Karabakh conflict. Regardless of the wish of Azerbaijan to involve
European Union in the process of conflict resolution, the `ad hoc
Committee’ will not dublicate the mission of the Minsk group but will
become a bridge between the two mediators and the Assembly. The
Committee will be formed of the deputies representing the member
countries of the Minsk group and will `report annually to the
Assembly on the action of their governments in this respect’.

The sixth point of the resolution is about the inadmissibility of
armed conflict. It is common knowledge that Armenia is not interested
in recommencing military actions. Meanwhile on Monday president Ilham
Aliev again mentioned about the determination of Azeri authorities to
regain controll over Karabakh by means of military actions.

The eighth point mentions the importance of regional cooperation.
This doesn’t refer to Armenia since official Yerevan has always been
ready for any contacts with neighbouring countries including
Azerbaijan. It is Baku that rejects any cooperation with Armenia
within the frames of regional programmes.

The ninth point is not favorable for Armenia since it talks about the
existence of two communities in Karabakh. It means that the legally
elected president of NKR Arkadi Ghukasyan stands on the same level
with some Nizami Bakhmanov who introduces himself as the `leader of
Azerbaijan community of Nagorno Karabakh’. Nevertheless, in Baku they
are also not very happy with the formulation of this point since
according to the stated appeal, Ilham Aliev will have to enter into
negotiations with Arkadi Ghukasyan. In this case he may not be called
the president of NKR but the `political representative’ of Armenian
community of Nagorno Karabakh.

Quite important is the accent of the tenth point where it is talked
about the ethnic expulsions. Azerbaijan delegation didn’t manage to
achieve the mentioning of territories contolled by Karabakh forces.
It means that PACE condemns both the creation of conditions for
Azerbaijani to quit the security zones around NKR and the ethnic
expulsions carried out by Azerbaijan authorities in Shahumyan and

The eleventh point of the reolution condemns the propaganda of
hatred. PACE calls on Armenia and Azerbaijan to `foster
reconciliation, confidence-building and mutual understanding among
their peoples through schools, universities and the media’.
Meanwhile, it is widely known that it is Azerbaijan that hampers the
contacts between social and professional structures of the two
countries, their youth and journalists. Armenia anyway encourages any
attempts to establish dialogue on a non-governmental level.

Thus, it is absolutely obvious that together with all its
shortcomings, the resolution cannot be considered an achievement of
Azerbaijan diplomacy. The attempts of Baku parliamentarians to
convince their compatriots that they have won a serious victory over
Armenians is just a propaganda.

Artem Yerkanyan