Sep 032012
 

PRESS RELEASE

OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs meet with the Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan

PARIS, 3 September 2012 – The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group (Ambassadors Robert Bradtke of the United States of America, Igor Popov of the Russian Federation, and Jacques Faure of France) and the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-office, Ambassador Andrzej Kasprzyk, met on September 2 with the Foreign Minister of Armenia, Edward Nalbandian, and on September 3 with the Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan, Elmar Mammadyarov, to address recent events in the region and efforts to peacefully resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

The Co-Chairs discussed with the two Ministers the August 31 decision of the Government of Azerbaijan to pardon Ramil Safarov, an Azerbaijani army officer who had been serving a life sentence in Hungary for the brutal 2004 murder of an Armenian officer in Budapest. They expressed their deep concern and regret for the damage the pardon and any attempts to glorify the crime have done to the peace process and trust between the sides.

The Co-Chairs reiterated to both Ministers that, as their Presidents stated in Los Cabos on June 19, there is no alternative to a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. They will continue to maintain contacts with the sides to reduce tensions and advance the peace process.


Source: OSCE Minsk Group page

Sep 032012
 

 

In Russia, which is the co-chairman of the OSCE Minsk Group on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement, received reports with deep concern regarding the clemency of Baku Azeri serviceman Ramil Safarov, who was sentenced to life imprisonment for the commission of the murder of an Armenian officer with an extreme atrocity in Hungary in the 2004, as well as regarding the preceded decision of the Hungarian authorities to extradite him to Azerbaijan.

We believe that these actions of Azerbaijan, as well as the Hungarian authorities to run counter to the efforts agreed at international level, particularly through the OSCE Minsk Group, directed to reduce tension in the region.

We also expect that appropriate assessment of the situation will be given by the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group in the near future.

3 September, 2012


Source: MFA of Russia: 1. in English; 2. in Russian.

Sep 032012
 

Azerbaijan – Pardon granted to M.Safarov – Statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesman (September 3, 2012)

France expresses her concern following the announcement of the pardon granted to M. Safarov by the Azerbaijani authorities on Friday, 31 August. In Hungary in 2006 the Hungarian courts sentenced him to life imprisonment for the unspeakable murder of an Armenian officer in Budapest in 2004.

France, who, like the other co-chairs of the Minsk Group, is strongly committed to a peaceful solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, believes that this decision risks seriously damaging the negotiation efforts and the establishment of a climate of trust between the parties.


Source: France Diplomatie: 1. in English; 2. in French.

Aug 312012
 

President Obama is deeply concerned by today’s announcement that the President of Azerbaijan has pardoned Ramil Safarov following his return from Hungary. Safarov confessed to the murder of Armenian Army officer Gurgen Margaryan in Budapest in 2004, and was serving a life sentence in Hungary for this brutal crime. We are communicating to Azerbaijani authorities our disappointment about the decision to pardon Safarov. This action is contrary to ongoing efforts to reduce regional tensions and promote reconciliation. The United States is also requesting an explanation from Hungary regarding its decision to transfer Safarov to Azerbaijan.


Source: The White House

Aug 312012
 

On 31 August, 2012 the Ministry of Public Administration and Justice of Hungary has announced about its authorisation to transfer Ramil Sahib Safarov, an Azerbaijani national imprisoned in Hungary since 19 February 2004, sentenced to life imprisonment for murdering Gurgen Margaryan, an Armenian national, to Azerbaijan.

In adopting such decision, the Ministry referred to the Strasburg Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons.

The transfer of Ramil Sahib Safarov has been executed without delay. Furthermore, President of Azerbaijan has issued a decree granting pardon to Ramil Sahib Safarov, who already enjoys freedom in Azerbaijan.

Ramil Sahib Safarov has been sentenced to life imprisonment by the Courts of Hungary for committing an act of murder against Gurgen Margaryan, an Armenian national. Both Safarov and Margaryan have been visiting Budapest to participate in a NATO PfP language training course. While the Government of Hungary as the host state, has failed to ensure the security of the Armenian participant at an international event on its territory, its law enforcement institutions and Courts have acted promptly to bring the perpetrator to justice.

The Government of Hungary has been informed on numerous occasions by the authorities of Armenia about the environment of glorification and justification of the murderous act of Ramil Sahib Safarov, cultivated in Azerbaijan at official level, including the level of President of Azerbaijan. The Government of Hungary could not have failed to note the numerous public statements of the Azerbaijani officials at different levels to this effect, which should have been sufficient grounds for the doubt about the continuation of the enforcement of the sentence in Azerbaijan. Therefore, the Government of Hungary should have foreseen the implications of its decision to transfer Ramil Sahib Safarov, which effectively resulted in the termination of serving justice by a perpetrator of a murderous act. The Government of Hungary therefore shares moral responsibility for sponsoring a grave criminal act.

The Government of Hungary, at different levels, including the highest, have consistently and up until the last moment assured the Government of Armenia that it will not take any steps whatsoever, which would result in the termination of serving justice by the perpetrator of a heinous murder and explicitly excluded any option for the execution of the transfer. The manner, in which the Government of Hungary has acted in respect of this matter, is also a cause for a deep regret.

Armenia considers the above decision of the Government of Hungary as an unfriendly act, undermining the good co-operative relations between Armenia and Hungary. Today the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia notified the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Hungary about the decision of the Government of Armenia to suspend diplomatic relations between the two states.


Source: MFA of Armenian

Dec 012011
 

“Khojaly: Propaganda through Tragedy”

MIA Publishers, 2011
By NGO “Against Xenophobia and Violence”

One night of February 26, 1992, armed units from the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR) started a military operation to take out artillery positions and bring an end to the blockade of Khojaly airport. That same night, 12 kilometres away from Khojaly, in the area near the town of Aghdam, peaceful residents were found dead.
Until today, the Azerbaijani authorities have used their version of the events near Aghdam (so called “the events of Khojaly”) to incite ethnic hatred and racism [towards Armenians]. However, their version of events has been disputed on the basis of factual evidence by, first of all, numerous Azerbaijani sources, as well as by independent observers.

FILES:

Continue reading »

Jun 252011
 

The President of the Republic had stated in Strasbourg that it would be possible to expect positive results, progress in Kazan if Azerbaijan did not propose new amendments.

Yet, the Kazan summit didn’t achieve a breakthrough, because Azerbaijan was not ready to accept the last version of the Basic Principles proposed by the three Co-Chairs.

In Deauville the Co-Chair countries had urged the Presidents to come to an agreement in Kazan. President Obama in his phone conversations with the Presidents had made the same call. The President of France Sarkozy had sent messages to the Presidents, as well.

Despite of it the Azerbaijani side proposed approximately a dozen of amendments, and that is the reason why the Kazan meeting did not prove to be a breakthrough.

In any case, I think the meeting was useful in the sense that the detailed discussions continued. And the important point is that President Medvedev, who made a great input in this process during the last three years, expressed willingness to continue his efforts towards according the principles and achieving a final agreement over them.

This was already the 12th meeting between the parties during the last three years. But during this last year Azerbaijan has, in fact, repeated this scenario of coming up with new amendments and proposals at least four times. This is the reality.

Nonetheless, we will continue the negotiations, because there is no other way for the settlement. It is possible to solve the conflict only through peaceful means and negotiations.


Source: Armenian MFA

May 262011
 

We, the Presidents of the OSCE Minsk Group’s Co-Chair countries — France, the Russian Federation, and the United States of America — are convinced the time has arrived for all the sides to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict to take a decisive step towards a peaceful settlement.

We reiterate that only a negotiated settlement can lead to peace, stability, and reconciliation, opening opportunities for regional development and cooperation. The use of force created the current situation of confrontation and instability. Its use again would only bring more suffering and devastation, and would be condemned by the international community. We strongly urge the leaders of the sides to prepare their populations for peace, not war.

As a result of efforts by the parties and the Co-Chair countries at all levels, significant progress has been made. The latest version of the Basic Principles, as discussed in Sochi on March 5, lays a just and balanced foundation for the drafting of a comprehensive peace settlement. This document, based on the Helsinki Final Act and elements outlined in our joint declarations in L’Aquila in July 2009 and Muskoka in June 2010, provides a way for all sides to move beyond the unacceptable status quo.

We therefore call upon the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan to demonstrate their political will by finalizing the Basic Principles during their upcoming summit in June. Further delay would only call into question the commitment of the sides to reach an agreement. Once an agreement has been reached, we stand ready to witness the formal acceptance of these Principles, to assist in the drafting of the peace agreement, and then to support its implementation with our international partners.


Source: OSCE Minsk Group page

Mar 312011
 

The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) was established by the Council of Europe. It is an independent human rights monitoring body specialised in questions relating to racism and intolerance. It is composed of independent and impartial members, who are appointed on the basis of their moral authority and recognised expertise in dealing with racism, xenophobia, antisemitism and intolerance.

In the framework of its statutory activities, ECRI conducts country-by-country monitoring work, which analyses the situation in each of the member States regarding racism and intolerance and draws up suggestions and proposals for dealing with the problems identified.

Here is what the 2011 ERCI report on Azerbaijan says about discrimination against persons of Armenian origin:

98. As mentioned in other parts of this report, persons of Armenian origin are at risk of being discriminated against in their daily lives. Certain people born of mixed Armenian-Azerbaijani marriages choose to use the name of their Azerbaijani parent so as to avoid problems in their contacts with officialdom; others who did not immediately apply for Azerbaijani identity documents when the former Soviet passports were done away with today encounter difficulties in obtaining identity papers. These problems and the prejudice reigning within society with regard to Armenians also cause serious difficulties of access to social rights.

99. ECRI is still deeply concerned about the fact that the constant negative official and media discourse concerning the Republic of Armenia helps to sustain a negative climate of opinion regarding people of Armenian origin coming under the Azerbaijani authorities’ jurisdiction. This prejudice is so ingrained that describing someone as an Armenian in the media is considered by some people – including by certain Armenians themselves – to qualify as an insult that justifies initiating judicial proceedings against the persons making such statements. ECRI underlines the seriousness of this situation, where it seems that persons belonging to the group discriminated against in this way may themselves have interiorised this discriminatory attitude.

100. ECRI is moreover puzzled by the contradictory information it has received as to the number of persons of Armenian origin currently living in Azerbaijan. On the basis of the previous census, 120 700 Armenians were living in Azerbaijan in 1999. The authorities have indicated that the number of Armenians living in Nagorno-Karabakh or the areas affected by the conflict over it could be estimated at about 120 000, in line with the results of the last census carried out in the region during the Soviet era. Outside those areas, 700 people declared themselves as being of Armenian origin. In view of the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh and the areas affected by the conflict over it, it was again not possible to count the real number of Armenians living in this part of the country during the census carried out in 2009; the estimated figure of 120 000 will accordingly be deemed still current for these areas and only the figure of 700, corresponding to the number of persons actually counted in the remainder of Azerbaijani territory, is likely to change. ECRI points out that these explanations, albeit clear, differ strikingly from the figure of 30 000 Armenians living in the parts of Azerbaijan under the Azerbaijani authorities’ effective control, which is regularly cited by the authorities. ECRI considers that questions can be raised as to the reasons why less than 3% of those concerned are prepared officially to declare themselves as belonging to this group. Thought should be given, inter alia, to the measures that might be taken to eliminate the prejudices and stereotyping existing within the majority population that can give rise to discriminatory attitudes towards persons of Armenian origin.

101. ECRI refers to the recommendations made in other parts of this report concerning the need to adopt an appropriate response to all cases of discrimination and hate speech against Armenians, and to its recommendations concerning the application of the relevant legal provisions. It considers that the Azerbaijani authorities should actively contribute to generating a climate where all persons of Armenian origin living in Azerbaijan can declare their ethnic origin without fear.


File: 2011 ERCI Report on Azerbaijan
Source: Publications, European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI)