TEAS welcomes OSCE Minsk Group statement on Nagorno-Karabakh ‘elections’ – but criticises one element as “illogical and unhelpful”

Press Release: The European Azerbaijan Society (TEAS) today (20 July 2012) welcomed the main points in a statement from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group Co-Chairs on yesterday’s ‘presidential elections’ in Nagorno-Karabakh.

The OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs, representing the United States, Russia and France “noted reports about the conduct of ‘elections’ that took place yesterday in Nagorno-Karabakh”, but emphasised that “none of their three countries, nor any other country, recognises Nagorno-Karabakh as an independent and sovereign state.” This is in line with the principles of international law and the fact that the whole Nagorno-Karabakh region is an internationally recognised territory of Azerbaijan.

Leon Cook, Director of Communications, TEAS, said: “As the Co-Chairs rightly point out, Nagorno-Karabakh does not exist as a legitimate sovereign entity. This being the case, it is illogical and unhelpful for the Co-Chairs to accept the need for the ‘de facto authorities’ to “try to organise democratically the lives of their population.”

He continued: “Any support – no matter how tangential – given to the illegal occupation of Azerbaijani soil has the effect of slowing down the glacial progress towards a negotiated settlement, and further delays the return to their homes and lands of 875,000 Azerbaijani refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs).”

In line with yesterday’s European Union statement by Baroness Ashton, the Co-Chairs also emphasised that the so-called ‘presidential elections’ held yesterday “in no way prejudge the final legal status of Nagorno-Karabakh or the outcome of the ongoing negotiations to bring a peaceful settlement to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.”