By Paul Goble
In an open letter addressed to the UN, the European Parliament, PACE, OSCE and NATO, a group of Azerbaijani politicians and experts argue that Russian peacekeepers in Qarabagh must be withdrawn because their presence represents a flagrant violation of international law.
Under international law, they point out, no country that has been a party to the conflict can send peacekeepers into the territory afterwards. Instead, such personnel must come from other countries which were not involved and remained neutral (doshdu.com/v-azerbajdzhane-potrebovali-vyvoda-rossijskih-mirotvorcev-iz-nagornogo-karabaha/).
They argue that Russia supported Armenia’s occupation of Qarabagh and the seven other Azerbaijanai districts and therefore was and remains a party to the conflict and must not be allowed to have its peacekeepers on Azerbaijani territory even if Baku was forced to agree to that to end the current round of fighting.
Among the signatories are Gadzhibaba Azimov, head of the National Unity Party, Ali Aliyev, head of the Citizens Party, Akhmed Orudzh, head of the Freedom Party, Murmakhmud Mirzaliogdu, head of the Classical Peoples Front, Gubad Ibadoglu, head of the Movement for Democracy, and Tofig Shatiakhtinsky, a senior professor.
While their objection is unlikely to have any immediate impact, its appearance suggests that some Azerbaijanis are aware of what international law says and that they are convinced that Russia is in violation of that law regardless of any agreement between Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Russian leader Vladimir Putin.