PACE Resolution Fallout: Strasbourg body’s reference to Karabakh irks Azerbaijan

PACE Resolution Fallout: Strasbourg body’s reference to Karabakh irks Azerbaijan


This week the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) adopted a resolution on the human rights situation in Azerbaijan, which, in fact, qualifies the regime in this country as anti-democratic and authoritarian. In Baku they took the resolution as a manifestation of double standards, and officials of the Presidential Administration and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan even said that it is time to consider the expediency of Azerbaijan’s continued membership in the Council of Europe.

This is not the first time such a resolution has been passed against Azerbaijan, but this one was special. In the initial draft resolution it was said that the PACE knows “about the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding areas.” However, the final draft included the phrase “aware of the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh.”

It caused a real shock in Baku: the country’s Foreign Ministry called the resolution a manifestation of “Islamophobia”. It claimed that the PACE adopted the resolution because it does not like the dynamically developing Islamic country. At the same time, Azerbaijan’s saw a shar change in Europe’s attitude towards the Karabakh conflict.

Whereas earlier such resolutions contained no doubt about the “occupation of Karabakh by Armenian forces”, then now for the first time this term was removed from the text of the resolution. The newspaper believes that the West has decided to conduct “Kosovization” of the Karabakh conflict, in other words, to recognize its independence.

The thing is that unlike other post-Soviet projects - Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Transnistria, the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is not directly connected with Russia. That is why it is considered separately from them.

Besides, the threat of escalation is increasing in the Karabakh conflict zone: Russian experts predict military provocations by Azerbaijan after the European Games end in Baku on Sunday. The West does not have much leverage to influence the situation in this case.

Meanwhile, Russia has a military base in Armenia, besides, Armenia is a member of the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization, and its Secretary General Nikolay Bordyuzha stated recently that Armenia has the right to receive the necessary assistance in the event of the escalation of the situation.

In these circumstances, the most effective lever of the West is indeed involvement in the negotiation process on the Karabakh settlement, as well as the possible recognition of Karabakh’s independence.

No one on the official level yet speaks about how real it is, but as some experts say, the West actively offers to Armenia to diversify its security and foreign policy. Armenia responds to these calls. On June 25, for example, the president of Armenia and the minister of defense took part in the Brussels summit of the European People’s Party and the NATO ministerial. Moreover, Minister of Defense Seyran Ohanyan during that meeting met with his Georgian counterpart and discussed prospects of military cooperation. In July, NATO exercises will begin in Georgia.