Politics 12:44 29/09/2021 Region

Harut Sassounian: Aliyev-Pashinyan duel via video at United Nations General Assembly

Just days before the first anniversary of the 44-day war, the Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan and the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev clashed once again, this time in a bloodless confrontation via video at the United Nations General Assembly in New York City.

In my opinion, both Aliyev and Pashinyan made the mistake of not appearing in person at the UN meeting. The issue is not just the speech which they delivered by video, but their absence from an important international gathering of close to 200 leaders from around the world. This was an important opportunity, particularly for Armenia’s Prime Minister, to rub shoulders with many of these leaders in private and public settings to transmit to them Armenia’s grievances and publicize Azerbaijan’s brutal violations during last year’s war.

Fortunately, Pashinyan dispatched to the UN Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan who held several important meetings with his counterparts from many countries, including Azerbaijan, the Co-Chairs of the Minsk Group, and the Secretary General of the UN.

While Armenia and Azerbaijan were not represented at the UN by their heads of state, Turkey was wisely represented by Pres. Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu who took advantage of the opportunity to meet with dozens of heads of state and inaugurate the new Turkish Center's high-rise building across the UN headquarters which was attended by many dignitaries and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. Erdogan’s only setback was the refusal of Pres. Biden to meet with him at the UN.

Turning to the speeches, Pres. Aliyev addressed the UN General Assembly on Sept. 23 delivering a 38-minute speech in English by video. Pashinyan’s video speech was much shorter -- it lasted less than 12 minutes. Aliyev’s lengthy speech was not necessarily a good thing. He probably bored to death the dignitaries at the General Assembly who were listening to non-stop speeches day after day. Whereas it was smart of Aliyev to speak in English, Pashinyan, despite his knowledge of English, chose to speak in Armenian which means that the attendees had to listen to the translation of his speech via earphones, not the best way to communicate. Nevertheless, Pashinyan wisely used a teleprompter to read his speech which made it much more interesting to watch, versus Aliyev who was looking down the whole time, while reading the speech from a paper in front of him. This prompted a non-Armenian to comment sarcastically on YouTube, under the video of Aliyev’s speech: “What happened to Aliyev’s petrodollars? Couldn’t he afford to buy a teleprompter?”

In his lengthy speech, Aliyev told dozens of lies:

1)  That Armenia, not Azerbaijan, started last September’s war. Aliyev must have forgotten that he had previously admitted proudly that he started the war. He also accused Armenia of initiating an attack on Azerbaijan in July 2020. Armenia had no reason to start a war neither in July nor September 2020.

2)  Aliyev referred to the 12th century poet Nizami Ganjavi as “the great Azerbaijani poet.” Ganjavi is in fact Persian, not Azeri (see Wikipedia’s numerous sources). In the 12th century, Azerbaijan did not even exist. Ganjavi was born in Ganja (Kantzag in Armenian) which at the time was “densely populated with Iranians and a small number of Christians,” according to Armenian historian Guiragos Kantzagetsi (1200 – 1271).

3)  Aliyev falsely described Azerbaijan “as an example of tolerance and peaceful coexistence of representatives of various religious and ethnic groups living in our country.” On the contrary, Azerbaijan is a very intolerant and violent country. Its history is full of repeated massacres of Armenians. Yet, shamelessly, Aliyev accused Armenia of committing “genocide, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity!”

4)  Aliyev also accused Armenia of “gross violation of international law, including the Geneva Convention.” This is the exact description of Azerbaijan’s own violations and crimes. He falsely claimed Armenia used “white phosphorus and cluster munitions” and attacked civilians. Once again, Aliyev was describing Azerbaijan’s own war crimes against Armenian civilians, hospitals and churches.

5)  Aliyev also claimed that Armenia recruited “mercenaries and foreign fighters from abroad.” As is widely known, this is exactly what Azerbaijan did.

6)  Aliyev lied about Armenians engaging in “the full destruction of cities and villages, including the cultural and religious heritage sites of Azerbaijani people.” The truth is the exact opposite.

7)  Aliyev claimed that Azerbaijan “started taking legal actions against [foreign companies] for illegally exploiting our natural resources in the formerly occupied lands.” Hopefully, these companies will countersue Azerbaijan for confiscating their properties.

8)  Indirectly admitting that Azerbaijan has encroached on the territory of Armenia, Aliyev boasted that “the country has been weakened to the extent that it cannot even guard its own borders by itself.”

9)  Instead of respecting the agreement signed on Nov. 9, 2020 by Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia, to release all prisoners of war, Aliyev demanded that Armenia “provide us with accurate mine maps of all liberated territories.” There is no mention of such a requirement in the Nov. 9 agreement.

10)  After telling all these lies and many others too numerous to mention, Aliyev has the audacity to urge Armenia to sign a “peace agreement … based on mutual recognition of sovereignty and territorial integrity of each other.” He is thus pursuing a total abandonment of Artsakh by Armenia.

Prime Minister Pashinyan delivered his speech at the UN on Sept. 24. He started by setting the record straight, stating that “in the fall of 2020, Nagorno-Karabakh was subjected to aggression… [which] was accompanied by numerous gross violations of international law by the Azerbaijani armed forces, including deliberate targeting of civilians and vital infrastructure, extrajudicial killings of prisoners of war and civilian hostages, torture and many other documented crimes. As a result of these actions, in the parts of Nagorno-Karabakh, which came under the control of Azerbaijan, the Armenian people were subjected to complete ethnic cleansing.”

Pashinyan went on to highlight Armenia’s democratic credentials, vainly hoping that the international community will be impressed and take positive steps to protect the country against Azerbaijan’s aggression. Armenia’s Prime Minister also spoke of his country’s readiness for peace with its neighbors, again hoping for support from UN member states. He does not seem to realize that the world does not care about such niceties. The only thing the world respects is strength.

Pashinyan next condemned Azerbaijan for holding Armenian prisoners of war as hostages in Baku and spoke about Azeri videos that show “decapitated bodies or shot bodies of these soldiers.”

Pashinyan also mentioned “reopening transport links” between Armenia and Azerbaijan. He naively added that “if the railway connecting Armenia to Turkey is opened too, then the topic of opening regional communications will cover broader scope.”

The Prime Minister made one more pitch “to resume the peace process for the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs.” Regrettably, this process has reached a dead end, as Aliyev claims to have solved the Artsakh issue by force and sees no need to engage in any further negotiations on this subject.

Pashinyan mentioned “with regret” that Azerbaijan’s forces crossed Armenia’s borders on May 12, 2021 and have refused to leave. He suggested that both countries withdraw from “the Soviet times border” and invite the deployment of “international observers” along the border. It is not clear why Armenia should withdraw from its own border!

Unfortunately, nice words do not mean much in realpolitik. The world believes only in power. While Azerbaijan and Turkey speak from a position of strength, Armenia is obliged to submit to the imposition of its more powerful and brutal enemies.


By Harut Sassounian

Publisher, The California Courier


Translation by Ruzanna Avagyan




Source Panorama.am
Share |
Տեքստում սխալ կամ վրիպակ նկատելու դեպքում, ուղարկեք խմբագրին հաղորդագրություն` նշելով տվյալ սխալը, այնուհետև սեղմելով Ctrl-Enter:


Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas welcome first child via surrogate
Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas have welcomed their first baby, The Hollywood Reporter said. The couple announced on their respective...
Surgeon and economist start a new business
For two friends - Sevak Shahbazyan and Armen Hovhannisyan - agriculture is a new field of activity. Sevak is Yerevan’s chief surgeon,...
Pashinyan, Putin hold phone call
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday held a telephone conversation with Nikol Pashinyan at the initiative of the Armenian...
Iran holding talks with Russia on construction of new Bushehr NPP units
Iran is holding negotiations with Russia on constructing new units of the Bushehr nuclear power plant, Sputnik said on Saturday, citing media...
Electricity generation on the decline in Armenia
A total of 6 billion 848.4 million kilowatt-hours of electricity were generated in Armenia in January-November 2021, down by 2% from the same...
Tigran Abrahamyan: Turkey's ‘appetite’ hasn't been limited to South Caucasus for a long time
China, Russia and Iran have launched joint military drills amid new confrontation between Russia and the West, Armenian MP Tigran Abrahamyan,...
New requirement for vaccination proof to enter restaurants, other places comes into force in Armenia
The new requirement for people to either show proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test to enter a number of public places in Armenia...
US denies visa to Russian cosmonaut Nikolay Chub
The United States denied an entry visa to Russian cosmonaut Nikolay Chub, who was to undergo training at NASA's Johnson Space Center, a...
Armenia reports no Covid-19 deaths for second day in a row
Armenia has confirmed 940 new cases of coronavirus in 24 hours, bringing the national tally to 350,897 as of 11 a.m. Saturday, January 22, the...
Snowstorm hits some roads in Armenia
Several roads are closed and difficult to pass in Armenia as of Saturday morning, the Ministry of Emergency Situations reports. In...
Arnold Schwarzenegger involved in car crash
Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger has been involved in a car accident in Los Angeles, BBC News reports, citing his spokesman. The...
Armenia has new deputy minister of justice
By Nikol Pashinyan's decision, Arpine Sargsyan has been appointed Armenia’s new Deputy Minister of Justice. Previously, she served...
Armenian Church commemorates Patriarchs St. Athanasius and St. Cyril
The Armenian Apostolic Church commemorates Patriarchs St. Athanasius and St. Cyril of Alexandria on Saturday, January 22, Qahana.am reports....
U.S. and Russia agree to keep talking after meeting on Ukraine
The top U.S. and Russian diplomats made no major breakthrough at talks on Ukraine on Friday but agreed to keep talking to try to resolve a...
Armenian peacekeeping contingent back from Kosovo
The Armenian servicemen, who have carried out a peacekeeping mission in Kosovo, have returned to Armenia, the press department at the ministry...
Russia is active in addressing the problem of Armenian prisoners - Sergey Lavrov
"We are consistently making efforts to resolve the situation on the border between Azerbaijan and Armenia, but unfortunately, armed clashes...
Delegation from the European Union visiting Armenia
A delegation led by Isabelle Dumont, representative of the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union and advisor to the French...
Russia reports 49,513 daily Covid cases, a new high since start of pandemic
Russia’s COVID-19 case tally surged by 49,513 over the past day to 10,987,774, the anti-coronavirus crisis center told reporters on...
Roma congratulates Mkhitaryan on birthday anniversary
AS Roma  has congratulated Armenian national football team captain and its midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan on his 33rd birthday anniversary...
Hatred against LGBTI people in the South Caucasus on the agenda of PACE Winter session
Debates on combating rising hate against LGBTI people in Europe and on alleged violations of their rights in the Southern Caucasus, are among...
Blinken and Lavrov convene in Geneva over Ukraine crisis
Round two of US-Russia talks over Ukraine and security have started on Friday, AFP reports.  Anthony Blinken and Sergei Lavrov,...
Germany wants to attract 400,000 qualified workers from abroad each year
Germany's new coalition government wants to attract 400,000 qualified workers from abroad each year to tackle both a demographic imbalance...
CSTO chief: Practical work on Armenian-Azerbaijani border delimitation needed to normalize situation
CSTO Secretary General Stanislav Zas on Thursday held a meeting with UN Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Miroslav Jenča via...
MP: Armenia must either force Azerbaijan to pull back its troops or use CSTO military component
Armenia must either force Azerbaijan to pull back its troops from Armenia's sovereign territory or ask for military assistance from the...
FBI raid on Congressman Henry Cuellar's home linked to Azerbaijan probe
The FBI on Wednesday raided Democratic Congressman Henry Cuellar's home and campaign office in Texas as part of a wide-ranging federal probe...
NBA veteran Rex Kalamian to head Armenian national team
Detroit Pistons assistant coach Rex Kalamian has been named the new head coach of the Armenian national team, the Basketball Federation of...
Armenian defense minister goes on five-day vacation
Armenia’s Defense Minister Suren Papikyan has gone on a five-day vacation, according to a degree signed by Nikol Pashinyan. He is set...
Boris Johnson lifts COVID restrictions in England
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the end of COVID-19 measures including mandatory face masks in England as he looks to live with...
Armenian parliament passes five bills at Friday’s session
The Armenian National Assembly adopted five bills at the begging of its plenary session on Friday. In particular, lawmakers approved in the...
Some roads closed, difficult to pass in Armenia
Some roads are closed and difficult to pass in Armenia as of Friday morning, the Ministry of Emergency Situations reports. In particular,...

Follow us and get updates!

Most popular articles

{"core.blocks.header.spell_message1":"Selected mistake: ","core.blocks.header.spell_message2":"Send a message about the mistake?"}