Lt. General Hayk Kotanjian

Silence on the Eve of Azerbaijan`s New Aggression: Vladivostok’s Eastern Economic Forum

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By Hayk Kotanjian

Special to the Mirror-Spectator

On September 7, 2022, President Vladimir Putin provided international legal argumentation for the legitimacy of self-determination of Kosovo during his speech at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Russia, after the speech of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia. The relevance of this argumentation is due to its applicability to the issue of self-determination of Crimea, Donbas, and Nagorno-Karabakh in the context of the genocidal wars in Ukraine and Artsakh, and the new aggression unleashed by Azerbaijan against Armenia on September 13, 2022.

In connection with the particular importance of this brief and, at the same time, precise international legal argumentation, I would like to provide an authentic transcript of this fragment in its entirety: “The UN Charter has a provision about the right of nations to self-determination. During the Kosovo crisis, the International Court of Justice ruled that if a portion of a territory, a portion of a country chooses to declare independence, it does not have to ask the central government of that country for permission. This was the case in Kosovo. Is the situation with the Donetsk Republic and the Lugansk Republic not the same? It is the same.”

Our comparative analysis of the Kosovo and Nagorno-Karabakh conflicts presented during a hearing at the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) Scientific and Expert Council and at the international conference “Dynamics of Regional Security in the South Caucasus” in the fall of 2011 confirms the undeniable applicability to the situation around Nagorno Karabakh Republic (NKR) of the arguments of President Putin, the leader of an Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Minsk Group Co-chair country.

In continuation of President Putin’s comments on the self-determination of Kosovo, the prime minister of Armenia had every reason to appeal to the president of Russia as the head of a OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair country with a call to consider the possibility of using reprisals against Azerbaijan as a violator of one of the main principles of the conflict settlement put forward by the co-chairs – the principle of non-use of force and threat by force. The prime minister of Armenia, relying on the commentary of President Putin, had to make this statement concerning the initiator of the genocidal war against the legally self-determined NKR, unleashed in violation of international legal principles. We are talking about the principles that were present in almost all documents on Nagorno-Karabakh adopted at the level of the heads of co-chair states, including the president of the Russian Federation.

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An additional reason for addressing from the rostrum of the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairmanship represented by the president of Russia on the use of international legal reprisals against Azerbaijan could be the fact of involvement in the genocidal aggression against the NKR of thousands of terrorists from organizations banned in Russia, which are part of Al-Qaeda and ISIS. The basis for this could be the official statements of the director of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service and the president of France.

In conclusion, I consider it necessary to support the bewilderment of colleagues from the scientific and expert community due to the lack of response of the prime minister of the Republic of Armenia to the international legal commentary of the president of Russia on self-determination concerning the example of Kosovo. The puzzlement of colleagues by the silence of the Armenian prime minister, who was present at that same time, is due to the apparent demand for the announcement of the above common truth, which is that the recognition of Kosovo’s independence is based on the model of identifying and resolving the Karabakh conflict under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairmanship.

Lieutenant General Hayk Kotanjian (retired) is a Doctor of Political Science, Professor in State Security and Strategic Studies (Russian Academy of Public Administration under the President of the Russian Federation) and International Counterterrorism Fellow (US National Defense University).

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