PACE calls on Armenia to liberate Azerbaijan’s occupied lands

PACE calls on Armenia to liberate Azerbaijan’s occupied lands

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has called for the withdrawal of Armenian armed forces from Nagorno-Karabakh and the other occupied territories of Azerbaijan, as well as to recognize full sovereignty of Azerbaijan in these territories, in the framework of the OSCE Minsk process, the official website of PACE said.

Strongly condemning the deliberate targeting of civilian settlements close to the line of contact, the committee said it regretted that the Nagorno-Karabakh problem has been side-lined by other major international crises.

"Further procrastination only complicates the settlement of this unfrozen conflict which has claimed over a hundred human lives since the beginning of 2014, and which may escalate into a real war between two Council of Europe member states," Sputnik Azerbaijan cited the resolution as saying.

Recalling that both Armenia and Azerbaijan committed themselves, when joining the Council of Europe in 2001, to use only peaceful means for settling their conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, the committee urged both governments to refrain from using armed force and called for the establishment of an international peacekeeping force to maintain security within Nagorno-Karabakh and the other occupied territories and to ensure the safe return and resettlement of displaced persons, as well as the creation of a mechanism to investigate ceasefire violations.

The appeal to withdraw the Armenian armed forces from Nagorno-Karabakh and other occupied territories of Azerbaijan is a direct result of the foreign policy pursued by the President of Azerbaijan," Trend cited the head of Azerbaijani delegation to PACE, Samad Seyidov,  as saying.

He noted that Armenians have always spread false statements on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

"Recommendations of President Ilham Aliyev to pursue an offensive diplomacy in this direction have to be implemented. We always stand as a party seeking to restore the rule of law throughout Europe in this regard," Seyidov stressed.

Professor of the Western University, political scientist Fikret Sadykhov, told Vestnik Kavkaza that in any case, this decision is positive, it is connected with the legal support of Azerbaijan's position, or at least, its territorial integrity.

"Such decisions have already been taken in the past, but there won't be real, concrete steps from them. That is, it is important to put pressure on Armenia, to encourage it to implement the decision of the Security Council resolutions, maybe even introduce some sanctions," the expert said.

"Apparently, this is due to the presence of wealthy Armenian diasporas in a number of leading countries. I do not rule out the religious factor, and most importantly, the interests of the world's leading players," Fikret Sadikhov concluded.

A political scientist and MP of the Azerbaijani Majlis, Rasim Musabekov, in his turn, said he also doesn't expect a breakthrough in resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict from this resolution. "I do not expect that this resolution will lead to some actions from the Armenian side. But this resolution at least shows a more or less principled position of the PACE on this important issue," the analyst noted.

"Russia was deprived of the right to vote because of minor operations in Crimea. If such a decision was taken in relation to Armenia, it would have had a sobering effect on it," Rasim Musabekov stressed.

The scientific director of the International Discussion Club Valdai, editor-in-chief of Russia in Global Affairs, Fyodor Lukyanov, also noted that this decision will not have any significance for the settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict. "All these political statements are being made, because it is necessary to make them. What are the consequences of this statement, if it's about the conflict of deep, irreconcilable differences between the parties?" the expert said.

An expert of Vestnik Kavkaza, deputy head of the M.V. Lomonosov MSU Information and Analysis Center, Andrey Petrov, said that "the adoption of this resolution was expected."

"In this regard, the PACE resolution is a warning shot: PACE is an advisory body, which itself cannot exert real pressure on Armenia, but its appeals and demands usually reflect the mood of the authorities of the European countries – from which one can conclude that Europe has still decided to keep its word and implement the ECHR verdict on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict," the expert added.

"Armenia will definitely prefer to respond to the resolution in the same idle diplomatic wat, so the main intrigue now is what decisions will be taken by the really authorized pan-European body, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. It has such a powerful tool of pressure in its hands as economic sanctions, in particular, against the financial sector of Armenia. Whether it decides to use this tool is the main issue on the agenda of the European settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh today," Andrei Petrov concluded.