Armenian paper blames OSCE factfinding mission for pro-Azeri stance

Hayots Ashkharh, Yerevan
2 Feb 05

Text of unattributed report by Armenian newspaper Hayots Ashkharh on 2
February headlined "Double standards of the OSCE"

The OSCE monitoring mission's visit to Nagornyy Karabakh and the
monitoring of the liberated territories give the impression at fight
sight that it is a technical measure. The members of the mission also
confirm that their task is to complete their monitoring and prepare a
relevant report. For this reason, they will not express any political
position or make any statement.

But it is more than strange that the purpose of the OSCE monitoring
mission is only to monitor the territories controlled by the Armenian
forces. In fact, the desire of the Armenian party to have the
territories of the Nagornyy Karabakh Republic [NKR] controlled by
Azerbaijan examined was ignored.

And the problem is not that this mission should undoubtedly pay
attention to the fact that Shaumyan District [Azerbaijan's Goranboy
District] and the Armenian villages in the northeastern part of
Mardakert District [Agdara District] are inhabited by Azerbaijanis. It
is not the position of the monitors on Karabakh, but the political
position of the OSCE that causes bewilderment.

The "ideology" of this monitoring mission is not clear, as it
obviously goes against the principles of the OSCE.

The OSCE ignores the fact that the subject of the conflict, i.e. the
territories controlled by the Armenian forces, or according to the
Azerbaijani party, the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, have the
same status as Shaumyan District and Getashen [the village of Caykand
in Azerbaijan's Xanlar District] or the northern part of Mardakert
District in terms of their possible settlement. They have the same
status, as according to all international norms, including the OSCE
standards, the recognition of the sovereign right of any state is not
the same as the right to the forcible settlement of a region.

That's to say, irrespective of the legal status the OSCE gives to
Karvachar (Kalbacar) or Shaumyan, the Azerbaijanis expelled from
Kalbacar and the Armenians expelled from Shaumyan following the war
have the same right to return to their former places of
residence. Thus, the following double standards that contradict the
OSCE principles have been used:

a) Azerbaijan's accusation that Armenians are settling in the
territories controlled by the Armenian forces is seen as a violation
of the sovereign right of the state to these territories;

b) The OSCE is not interested in the possible resettlement of the
Armenian villages and the NKR territories controlled by the
Azerbaijani forces, whereby they recognize the sovereign right of
Azerbaijan to expel the Armenians living there.

Refusing to monitor Getashen or Shaumyan, which are already populated
by Azerbaijanis, the OSCE de facto recognizes the sovereign right of
Azerbaijan to carry out ethnic cleansing, which is a gross violation
of all the norms of this organization. We think that by demonstrating
a selective approach towards the current Armenian-Azerbaijani dispute
about the possible settlement of the territories controlled as a
result of the war, the OSCE broke its own main principles. That's to
say, the OSCE took as a basis not the right of the Azerbaijanis and
Armenians to return to their former places of residence, but the
principle under which Armenians who are citizens of Azerbaijan are not
allowed to settle in the territory of Azerbaijan.

So the report of the OSCE monitoring mission cannot be
impartial. Moreover, it cannot serve as a basis for any serious
political conclusion if the monitoring group does not visit the
northeastern villages of Shaumyan, Getashen and Mardakert Districts
before accomplishing its mission.