By Nia S. Amira
The 25-year-old status-quo of the Nagorno-Karabakh armed conflict has made the people of the two countries, Armenia and Azerbaijan, feel exhausted.
After the Republic of Azerbaijan proclaimed its independence on 18 October 1991 from USSR, the country was faced with Armenian claims over Nagorno-Karabakh region which caused a 4 years long war between the two countries resulted with a death toll of 20.000 innocent people, nearly 1 million of Azerbaijanis were forced to move from their own lands and twenty percent of the internationally recognized territories of Azerbaijan (Nagorno-Karabakh and the seven surrounding districts) have been occupied by the Armenian armed forces.
The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations with the mediation of the OSCE Minsk Group, co-chaired by USA, Russia and France and it continues until today without generating any little improvement on the ground due to the absence of an objective approach that must be undertaken by the countries that are co-chairing this process.
The April 2016 Armenian provocations caused high tensions between the two countries and could have led to a full-fledged war that could have definitely caused the rapid restoration of the full sovereignty of Azerbaijan over its territories, but it could have meant more blood and humanitarian devastation for both nations.
Young Armenian and Azerbaijan soldiers are in their full military positions. We don’t expect such a worst event to occur again and it stands far away from the thoughts of the majority of the people who currently live in the two states and who are striving for peace.
The international conference on Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was recently held in Baku (on November 8th, 2016) it was attended by many participants representing civil societies of the two conflicting states. Rauf Zeyni, President of Azerbaijan National NGO Forum stated that the conference has played a critical role in an effort to resolve this conflict and it was carried out for the first time in the history of the Armenian-Azerbaijan conflict.
Mr. Vahe Avetyan, a well-known Armenian human rights activist said that humanism is the foundation upon which peace can be built between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Avetyan added that his personal attendance to Baku was considered as doing a pilgrim and he sent his deep sympathy to the Khojaly genocide victims. Khojaly genocide was committed at the Khojaly town by the Armenian army with the help of the former Soviet 366th Motor Rifle Regiment during the occupation of the Nagorno-Karabakh. Now Mr. Avetyan, as a human rights activist, is making a good impact to the improvement of bilateral relations and it will bring a successful outcome through his persisting humanitarian mission.
While the Head of Armenian Intra-Nation Liberation Movement Organization, Mr. Vahan Matirosyan who also attended in the conference stated that the people with power in Armenia who have committed the genocide of Khojaly are those who are against the entire Armenian people. Matirosyan added that he has met with 30.000 Armenians residing in Baku and states that the government authority in Azerbaijan preserves and respects the Armenian Church in Baku. Matirosyan emphasized that the situation in Armenia is totally the opposite; mosques are damaged and history is rewritten and the communications media in Armenia is silent. He also said that no one of the Armenian people get the benefit from the conflict, but those who profit are the elite who exert their power and their number is less than 500 people.
Professor Kamil Salimov stated that the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict must be in line with the international law. This Doctor of laws added that it would be better to discuss the future plan rather than to flashback the inherited problems of the past. He reminded us that the negotiations process has started since 1991 but so far there has not been accomplished any positive result, even the OSCE MINSK Group has been created since 24 years ago.
At the present time, after 25 years of liberation, the people of Azerbaijan are hopeful for the settlement of the conflict in a serious and conducive stage, while reminding us of the threat of Nuclear weapons and other radioactive materials, which have been smuggled by the Armenian government from some neighboring countries since 1999 up until now.
The Nuclear and Radioactive materials that are related to the Metsamor NPP are part of the nuclear technology built in 1976 and have the same characteristics with the technology that has been used in Chernobyl NPP. Such an information has been stressed during the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington from March 31 to April 1, 2016. According to Peter Tase, an International Security Expert: “Even though Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant was built to resist an earthquake with a high magnitude, its safety measures; infrastructure security and geological-seismic instability; place this facility in a vulnerable position. The safety level of this Armenian nuclear power plant is very precarious and it could be disastrous for the surrounding environment and the overall regional safety in the Caucasus.”
The trafficking of nuclear and other radioactive materials by Armenians in Armenia is against the commitment of Armenia within the framework of the agreement signed between the Republic of Armenia and IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) for the Application of Safeguarding nuclear materials and in connection with the Treaty of the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and a number of Conventions and Supplementary Guidances on the Import and Export of Radioactive Materials, as well as the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council 1373 (2001) and 1540 (2004) on the prevention of proliferation of nuclear, chemical, biological weapons and their delivery systems.
The current threat of Nuclear and Radioactive weapons is the real danger for the regions of the Caucasus, Europe, Middle East, and the entire world. International Organizations must act quickly in order to stop the Armenian Government from expanding its nuclear and radioactive materials destined to be used for civilian and military purposes.