Heiko Langner: "Referendum in Nagorno-Karabakh is provocation"
"The current referendum in the so-called 'Nagorno Karabakh Republic' is invalid in its entirety from a legal point of view, just like all the previous referendums held by this regime," the Berlin political scientist, Heiko Langner, told Vestnik Kavkaza, commenting 'the will of the people', arranged by the Karabakh separatists. "This region, mainly populated by Armenians, unilaterally declared its independence in the 1990s and forcibly separated from Azerbaijan as a result of a war with Armenia's military assistance.
The Azerbaijani population of Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions occupied by Armenia, has been completely expelled and could not participate in any of the referendums held so far. When everyone who would vote against was excluded from the process, it is not so difficult to achieve almost 100% success at the referendum," the expert noted. Langner also emphasized that in terms of international law, Nagorno Karabakh has always been a part of Azerbaijan, since there has been no juridical separation of the region from the country to this day. "This legal opinion is confirmed by several UN Security Council resolutions," the analyst recalled.
"Determination of the final political status of Nagorno Karabakh is one of the central components of the peace talks under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group. For this purpose, according to the current political positions, they must hold a binding referendum with the participation of both affected populations and under the supervision of the international community. This, in turn, requires a return of seven districts outside Nagorno-Karabakh to Azerbaijan, which are currently under the occupation of Armenia and the internationally unrecognized separatist regime, as well as the safe return of Azerbaijani displaced persons to their previous places of residence. Against this background, the current referendum is a provocation of the Armenian side against the ongoing OSCE efforts exerted by equal Minsk group co-chairs - Russia, the United States and France," Heiko Langner summed up.