A country with genocidal tendencies can never ensure the safety of the people it has always attempted to annihilate, Armenia’s first Human Rights Defender Larisa Alaverdyan said, commenting on the recent statement of Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov.
The Azerbaijan FM said on Tuesday Baku is ready to grant ‘high-level autonomy’ to Artsakh and ensure the security of the Artsakh Armenians just like it ensures the safety of the ethnic minority representatives in the country.
Speaking to a Panorama.am correspondent, Alaverdyan, who heads the Foundation Against the Violation of Law NGO, stressed Azerbaijan has no rights regarding the Artsakh Republic in terms of the international law.
“These encroachments are based solely on political decisions that were voiced in the 1990s, and which Armenia has agreed with by signing various documents. Now, in a much vaguer way, Mammadyarov reserves a right to Azerbaijan to exercise some rights over territories that are not part of that country. The vague status is inferior to what Artsakh has achieved due to its fair national liberation struggle under a genocide threats from Azerbaijan,” she said.
The ex-ombudsman recalled Mammadyarov is not the first official to make similar statements on the status of Artsakh.
“Back in 1991-1992, as the first president of Armenia and before that as the Supreme Council chairman, Levon Ter-Petrosyan clearly stated that Armenia agreed that Nagoro-Karabakh remain as part of Azerbaijan, but its status be increased to an autonomous republic,” she said.
“Now Mammadyarov simply repeats this idea without detailing what a high status he is talking about. For example, he doesn’t say it should be an autonomous republic just like Nakhichevan. This is the difference. If Armenia’s first president agreed to leave Artsakh as a part of Azerbaijan in the status of an autonomous republic, Mammadyarov spoke indefinitely.”
She stressed the Armenian authorities should voice a clear position on similar statements of top Azerbaijani officials.
Interview by Ani Ghazaryan
“As it is known, Mammadyarov’s statement on granting high level of self-government to Artsakh has been followed by another statement saying Baku expects Yerevan to withdraw its troops from Artsakh as soon as possible. We must realize that the first and second statements are directly linked. This is the continuation of the retreating position that Armenia expressed back in 90s – a status in exchange for territories. This slogan is not regressive but totally defeatist which puts at risk not only the Artsakh Armenians but also the whole Armenians in the region,” she stressed.
“This is simply a new threat. In 1918, Azerbaijan showed itself as a genocidal state created just when Turkey was perpetrating a genocide against Armenians. Azerbaijan has been created with a single purpose and mission: to complete the Armenian Genocide this time in the eastern part. This is so clear that Azerbaijan’s cunning plans cannot convince anyone today,” Alaverdyan said.
“Armenia and Artsakh now have the opportunity to sum up all this and bring Azerbaijan to justice both for the Maragha genocide and all the threats made by Azerbaijan’s leader, including the statement that Azerbaijan is ready ‘to return’ even Yerevan. Such statements open new opportunities for the Armenian side to hold Azerbaijan to account for all the genocidal acts committed against Armenians in Sumgait, Baku, Gandzak and over 320 other settlements. In addition, the 2016 atrocities that Azerbaijan hasn’t returned the heads of Armenian soldiers and a citizen to Armenia. If not now, when will the Armenian side finally make such a move?’ she said.