(sources: Armenian Weekly, Public Radio of Armenia) On Jan. 26, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) held a debate on two reports on Nagorno-Karabagh: “Escalation of violence in Nagorno-Karabagh and the other occupied territories of Azerbaijan,” by rapporteur Robert Walter (UK), and “Inhabitants of frontier regions of Azerbaijan are deliberately deprived of water,” by rapporteur Milica Marković (Bosnia and Herzegovina). The Parliamentary Assembly rejected the report by Walter and adopted the report by Marković.
Speaking on the voting process, ARF-D Bureau member, ARF-D International Secretariat Director, Giro Manoyan stressed that the Socialist Group adhered to the Armenian delegation’s view, while the European People’s Party, of which three Armenian parties holding an observer membership status– the Republican Party of Armenia, the Country of Law and Heritage parties – voted for it.
Before the debate and vote on the resolution, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE) Minsk Group that deals with the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, called on its PACE colleagues not to adopt the resolutions, saying that they could complicate the Karabakh peace process.
Manoyan also stated that the anti-Armenian resolution at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) will not restrain Azerbaijan’s aggression. “They [Azerbaijan] have to divert attention from a growing number of problems inside the country,” Manoyan told reporters. “Rejection of one anti-Armenian report and adoption of another one is like keeping the false balance,” he added.
According to Manoyan, “One thing clear is that Armenia should make corrections in its foreign policy.” He suggested initiating new reports emphasizing Azerbaijan’s violence at the Armenian border, as well as spotlighting their actions against the peaceful population and the anti-Armenian statements of Azeri leaders.
According to the European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy, the resolution violated several rules of the code of conduct of PACE members, including the principle of neutrality, impartiality, and objectivity (rules 1.1; 1.1.1.; 1.1.4); the principle of avoiding conflict of interest (rule 8); the principle of not using one’s position as a PACE member to further one’s own, another person’s, or an entity’s interest (rule 12); as well as the principle of respecting the values of the Council of Europe (rule 7).
Soon after the vote, another resolution based on a report prepared by Milica Marković of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which claimed that the inhabitants of the frontier regions of Azerbaijan are deliberately deprived of water, was discussed.
According to the EAFJD, the draft resolution written by Marković lacked impartial and thorough research. “Despite the prompt invitations [to Marković] of both the Armenian and Nagorno-Karabagh authorities to visit Sarsang reservoir (at ‘any time convenient for the rapporteur’), as initially requested by rapporteur Milica Marković, neither Ms. Marković nor technical expert Dr. Lydia S. Vamvakeridou-Lyroudia were on the ground. Thus both the draft resolution and the technical report (which is supposed to be the basis of the draft resolution) are based on the rather approximate simulations of the corresponding Azerbaijani Ministry based on the data of 1993 and hearsay, although there was clearly an opportunity to visit the reservoir and get acquainted with the actual state of things,” read a statement released by the EAFJD earlier this month.
Rustamyan: Adoption Will Hinder Minsk Group’s Efforts
During deliberations prior to the vote, Armen Rustamyan, a member of Armenia’s PACE delegation, ARF-D Bureau member, and head of the party’s political affairs, addressed the delegates, noting that it is, in fact, Azerbaijan who is using heavy weaponry on the Line of Contact (LoC) and escalating violence—not the opposite, as the proposed resolution outlined.
“[By accepting] this report, PACE will hinder the OSCE [Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe] Minsk Group’s efforts, which is unacceptable, since [the OSCE] is the only recognized platform of solving the conflict,” Rustamyan noted. He went on to say that the reports were biased and that their adoption would reflect poorly on the Council of Europe.