Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 233

Karabakh’s Foreign Ministry and National Assembly have warned in almost identical statements that they "question the advisability of Karabakh’s further participation in the [OSCE-sponsored] negotiating process" to settle the conflict with Azerbaijan. Deploring the recent OSCE summit’s acceptance of Azerbaijan’s position, the Karabakh statements rejected OSCE chairman-in-office Flavio Cotti’s concluding document on conflict settlement principles as "one-sided, contravening the essence of international mediation," "totally ignoring the international-legal and historic aspects of the problem, and offending against justice and common sense." The OSCE is ignoring the right of peoples to self-determination, the Karabakh statements charged, and added that Karabakh has won that right at high cost and will never give up its security by becoming again a part of Azerbaijan. (Interfax, December 11-12)

The statements represent an internationally unprecedented rebuff to the OSCE’s authority. The organization’s biannual summit, held in Lisbon last week, cemented the consensus in favor of the territorial integrity of states at the expense of the right of peoples to self-determination. Armenia found itself alone in opposing the document on the principles of settling the Karabakh conflict as defined in Cotti’s statement: territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, a high degree of autonomy for Karabakh within that country, and mutual security guarantees. This stance, which has taken increasingly firm shape over the last year, has encouraged Azerbaijan’s intransigence and can only delay a political settlement of the conflict, since Armenian historical experience and that of Karabakh in particular preclude acceptance of Azerbaijani rule.

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