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Source: Azerbaijan Monitor

Elkhan Suleymanov, a member of the Azerbaijani delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), has protested the decision by the Executive Committee Secretariat of PACE to table competing motions on Armenia’s occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh and other Azerbaijani provinces, as tensions between Azerbaijan and Armenia remain high following Armenian military incursions a few weeks ago.

The Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding provinces of Azerbaijan have been occupied by Armenia since the end of the war between the two countries two decades ago, despite resolutions by the United Nations, European Parliament, Council of Europe, and other bodies demanding that Armenia withdraw its forces from the region. Over one million Azerbaijanis have been displaced by the conflict.

In late June, Suleymanov introduced a motion in PACE to parallel the recent efforts against the illegal Russian occupation and annexation of Crimea. The Russian Federation lost its voting rights in the Council of Europe in sanction for its actions in Crimea. Azerbaijan’s motion would have leveled the same consequences on Armenia for its occupation of a fifth of Azerbaijani territory.

Although that motion had cleared the procedural requirements for a vote, the Secretariat asked the Azerbaijani delegation to submit a new motion, one that did not include a specific request for sanctions.

However, almost immediately after the new motion was submitted, a third motion was tabled. Entitled simply “The Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict,” the motion calls on PACE “to take up the issue again and, through a new report, remind both member States of the need to make progress towards a peaceful solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.”

The third motion refers only to the Nagorno-Karabakh region, and omits discussion not only of the other provinces occupied by Armenia’s armed forces, but of any consequence to Armenia for that occupation.

This confusion has further inflamed tensions. Suleymanov says PACE’s actions can only encourage Armenia to continue its occupation and aggressive posture, which, in turn, “encourages Armenia to commit new crimes against Azerbaijan.”

PACE must honor its principles, Suleymanov said, or “share the responsibility for this dangerous situation,” as the flames of war slowly re-ignite on the front of an old, rekindling war.

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