"Azerbaijan's Territorial Integrity Is Just as Valid as Ukraine's"
BRUSSELS, March 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --
Azerbaijan has Wednesday declared its support for the territorial integrity of Ukraine but it has also demanded that the same principles of international law apply to its annexed territories of Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding regions, which have been occupied by Armenia for more than 20 years.
In an open letter addressed to all European institutions, Elkhan Suleymanov, member of the Azerbaijani Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, said if Ukraine's territorial integrity is being used as the legal basis for the international response against Russia, then that must also apply to Armenia, which has for more than two decades ignored resolutions by the United Nations, the European Parliament, the OSCE and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
"A law is a law and should never be interpreted differently for different countries," he wrote in the wake of Russia's formal claim on Crimea.
"Azerbaijan has almost one fifth of its territory under occupation for 24 years now by Armenian soldiers. Where are then the sanctions against Armenia?"
While the world's television cameras are trained on Crimea, Suleymanov said the victims of the Armenia occupation continue to suffer away from the international media glare.
"We have over four hundred thousand people facing humanitarian catastrophe due to the Armenian occupation of the Sarsang Water Reservoir," he said.
"We have 410.000 citizens of the Autonomous Republic of Nakhchivan who are being blockaded and threatened by Armenia. I demand the European Institutions show the same level of support, through declarations and supportive actions for Azerbaijan and its territorial integrity, as is done for Ukraine today."
Suleymanov, who has long-campaigned for the one million victims of Armenia's occupation of his nation, said Nagorno-Karabakh cannot be dismissed as a frozen conflict noting that "shots are fired by Armenian snipers daily". He added that Europe's response to his letter would be a chance to show there are no double standards, hypocrisy, or discrimination.
"Give Azerbaijan the same level of support as you do Ukraine. Let's respect the principle of territorial integrity everywhere in the world, and show that you truly respect the values the European Union is built upon," he concluded.
His letter was addressed to Jose Manuel Barroso, Martin Schulz, Anne Brasseur, and Catherine Ashton among others.
NOTE: The four United Nations Security Council Resolutions against Armenia's occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh are UNSC 822, 853, 874 and 887/1993.
SOURCE Azerbaijan Monitor