Azerbaijan says elections in Nagorno-Karabakh illegal

Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry rejects results of ‘illegal’ election in disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, violating international law

Updated Jul 28, 2015

The results of Sunday’s election in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region are illegal and null, says spokesman of Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry.

The self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh region held elections on Sunday, but Azerbaijani foreign ministry immediately declared the election results were null and void since the Nagorno-Karabakh region was still regarded internationally as part of Baku’s territorial integrity.

“The so-called elections violate the Constitution of Azerbaijan, as well as principles of international law,” said Hikmet Hajiyev, spokesman of the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry on Sunday.

“Therefore, the elections will have no legal validity,” said Hajiyev.

Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh region and some adjacent territory have been under the control of Armenian soldiers and local Armenian forces since a 1994 Russian-mediated cease-fire that ended the six-year war between the parties.

Since then Azerbaijan and Armenia have been hostile to one another due to the occupation of the Nagorno-Karabakh oblast.

Hajiyev accused Armenia for undermining peace efforts brokered by the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) as Yerevan supported the Nagorno-Karabakh’s election move.

“This provocation aims to harm the negotiation process and to mask the occupation and attacks on Azerbaijan,” Hajiyev said.

The de facto independent Nagorno-Karabakh declared itself a republic via a plebiscite in 1992 to which only local Armenian population attended, but it was never recognised as a state by the United Nations member states, even by Armenia itself.

Once, the area consisted of ethnically cleansed Azerbaijani population and inhabited by Armenians now , but was also a part of  Azerbaijani Socialist Republic during the reign of the Soviet Union in which both countries were constituent states.

The United States administration was also concerned with the issue and the state department on Friday declared they would not recognize the election in Azerbaijan’s occupied territories of Nagorno-Karabakh since the self-proclaimed republic is not recognised by the international law.

“We will not accept the results of the elections on May 3 as affecting the legal status of Nagorno- Karabakh,” the US State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke told reporters on Friday.

Turkish Foreign Ministry also announced that ahead of the election Ankara would not accept such a move because it would “violate the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.”

Baku demands Yerevan the return of a quarter of its territory which is illegally  occupied and recognised as being part of post-Soviet independent Azerbaijan according to international law.

Russia's military and political support has so far kept Armenia defiant against Azerbaijan, despite the fact that Azerbaijan’s military capacity has developed rapidly through the use of its  substantial oil and gas revenues.

Armenia is the only South Caucasian member of Russia’s Collective Security Treaty Organization  (CSTO) which is regarded as Moscow’s new Warsaw Pact. Yerevan’s membership in the CSTO enables Russia to deploy its 102nd military base in Gymru near the Turkish border.

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group, consisting of Russia, France and the US, is the peace-broker regarding the Nagorno-Karabakh issue, but the bloc could not have succeeded in resolving the dispute due to clashing interests of the parties in the South Caucasus.



TRTWorld and agencies