( By Editor Foreign Affairs ) – :
(Dr Albert Hayrapetyan, Assistant Professor in Armenian State University of Economics contacted The London Post and requested to respond to an interview of Dr Kavus Abushov, Associate professor, ADA University, Baku, Azerbaijan published on 2nd October 2020. We appreciate a healthy debate with the existing laws, UN resolutions and international conventions without ‘biblical’ or ancient history claims in the current border disputes and occupations as BBC Hard Talk Presenter Stephen Sackur told Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian. The current Turkish Government on record have agreed to create an international panel of experts to investigate the claimed ‘Armenian Genocide’. However, the international community also can not ignore the most recent ‘Khojaly Genocide’, on 26 February 1992 against ethnic Azerbaijani civilians. ).
Nikol Pashinyan – Prime Minister of Armenia – BBC HARDtalk
The international community demands complete withdrawal of Armenian military forces from the illegally occupied territories of Azerbaijan as stated in UNSC resolutions adopted in 1993. Below is the response of Armenian expert Dr Albert Hayrapetyan:
Where current tensions between Azerbaijan and Armenia heading and its regional impact?
First of all, it has to be mentioned that it is not a conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, despite all the efforts from Azerbaijani side to engage Armenia and other regional countries in the full scale war. Armenian people in Artsakh (also known as Nagorno-Karabakh) are waging an undeclared war for their right of self-determination, which is a principle enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations. As for Armenia, Armenian volunteers are in Artsakh, without any exaggeration, are currently preventing another Armenian Genocide. Any impartial scholarly analysis of the statements released by the officials from Baku and Yerevan will clearly show which side is dovish and which is hawkish. Azerbaijan’s Ilham Aliyev bluntly and blatantly declared that large parts of Armenia’s territory are Azerbaijan’s “historic lands,” vowing to return to them.
On the other hand, the leaders of both Artsakh and Armenia repeatedly stated that the war is not against Azerbaijani people. The Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan, who took the office following the non-violent ‘’Velvet Revolution’’ of Armenia repeatedly stated that any solution in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict should be acceptable to the people of Armenia, the people of Karabakh and the people of Azerbaijan. Furthermore, a simple search on Google suffices to realize the difference between democracy levels and human rights protection in Artsakh, Armenia and Azerbaijan and Freedom House indices are the best indicators. Therefore, it is unsurprising that people of Artsakh decisively reject the perspective to be part of the country where Ramil Safarov, an Azerbaijani officer who chopped by axe a sleeping Armenian soldier (in the framework of NATO drills in Budapest) is considered to be a national hero.
As for the regional impact, it must be mentioned that due to the efforts of Azerbaijan conflict elevated to the regional level. Armenians in Artsakh are fighting not only against the Azerbaijani army, but also against the Syrian mercenaries. As The President of France Emmanuel Macron truly mentioned “jihadist groups” in Syria had passed through Turkey en route to Azerbaijan. And on top of that Azerbaijan enjoys Turkish full political and military support.
The photo above was tweeted and later deleted by the Assistant of the President of Azerbaijan Hikmet Hajiyev from Azerbaijani city Ganja. A man on the photo wears Turkish military uniform with Turkish insignia. However, the game of chicken is not within Turkish interests either as Azerbaijan already threatened to strike the nuclear power plant in Armenia, which would definitely cause a Chernobyl-style catastrophe. Therefore, taking into account the sensitivity of the conflict, international community has to take all the possible measures to stop the conflict as the further escalation is fraught with both humanitarian and ecological disaster.
What is the difference in current conflict and in 1990s?
I second Dr. Abushov, who gave an interview to your media outlet that emotional-psychological level is extremely high. Moreover, it is beyond any doubt that along with scientific-technological progress the weapons used are more perilous able to cause unpredictable and undesirable repercussions for the region. Putting scientifically, another variable that was not existent in 1990s is Baku-Tbilisi Ceyhan crude oil pipeline, which is a crucial infrastructure for both Azerbaijan and the entire region, which raises the stakes as many superpowers and multinational corporations have vested interests. In addition, besides Russia, Armenia is the only country who possesses deadliest ‘’Iskander’’ ballistic missile in its arsenal, not counting the dinky arsenal allegedly existent in Algeria. Armenia has not used it so far, nevertheless I do not exclude its usage in case of an imminent existential threat to Armenia and/or people of Artsakh.
Do you think Russia will act differently this time due to the gas pipeline attacks recently?
The four day-long conflict in April, 2016 ended up with a ceasefire reached as a result of meeting between the chiefs of the armed forces of Armenia and Azerbaijan on 5 April, 2016. The war between the local Armenian self-defense forces of Artsakh and Azerbaijan is currently carrying on for already a week and it seems that Russia is not motivated to take the plunge. Nevertheless, Armenia and Russia are strategic allies and members of Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). Hence, in case if the security of Armenia becomes at stake, it is expected that Russia shall do its obligations according the international treaties.
What you think about Iran’s role in the region?
Iran avoids siding with any of the parties overtly and exhorts to end the military actions.
Do you think EU, UN and international community accepting your position on Nagorno – Karabakh?
I believe that the four resolution of the UN SC (882; 853; 874 and 884) were commented interpreted by Baku arbitrarily. It shall be highlighted that in none of those resolutions it is mentioned that Armenia is a party of the conflict. Let us take the resolution 884, where it is stated that the UN SC Calls upon the Government of Armenia to use its influence to ensure that the forces involved are not provided with the means to extend their military campaign further. It is also called Armenia to use its influence over Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh. Armenia followed the mentioned call by participating in the negotiations in the framework of the OSCE Minsk group co-chairmanship, since Azerbaijan was reluctant to talk with the leaders of non-recognized Artsakh. Furthermore, Armenia refrained of recognizing the independence of Artsakh for about three decades lest violent conflict unleashes. In addition, the resolutions imply that the UN SC tacitly acquiesced with the presence of local Armenian forces at least in the territories that used to be part of Nagorno-Karabakh Oblast in Soviet era, as it called to withdraw the local Armenian forces only from those territories that fell under the effective control of those forces as a result of the war (Horazid for example under UN SC resolution 884). As for the ongoing conflict, a number of MP both from the EU parliament and from the national parliaments and other high-ranking officials condemned the actions of Azerbaijan.
In particular, the Secretary General of the organization of American States Luis Almagro called on Azerbaijan to immediately cease hostilities, especially those directed towards civilians. Azerbaijani atrocities were strongly condemned by Cypriot deputy and the head of Delegation of Cyprus to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Nikos Tornaritis, Congressman Frank Pallone, Members of EU Parliament Tonino Picula, Michael Gahler and Charlie Weimers, Member of Dutch Parliament, Vice-Chairperson of Foreign Relations committee Joel Voordewind and many other politicians and parliamentarians. It must be clearly stated that criticizing the perpetrator and the aggressor shelling the residential areas and schools is not being one-sided. Last but not least, the application of Armenia to ECtHR with a request to apply interim measures against Azerbaijan in connection with the aggravation of the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh was already satisfied.
(Albert Hayrapetyan, is Assistant Professor in Armenian State University of Economics, Ph.D in Economics, Senior Researcher in Amberd Research Centre of Armenian State University of Economics)
Disclaimer : Views expressed are not of The London.