Media hold #Armenia to account

| November 9, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Guest contributor

It is not often that Azerbaijanis are pleasantly surprised regarding the media’s reporting of the Nagorno-Karabakh issue. Yet the BBC’s recent HardTalk interview with Armenia’s Foreign Minister, Mr Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, did just that – writes Tale Heydarov.

For the first time in memory, a key player in the mainstream media highlighted legal facts instead of just partisan conjecture concerning the unresolved Armenian–Azerbaijani conflict.

I cannot remember a time when a representative of the Armenian government was so confronted by indisputable legal facts, namely that Nagorno-Karabakh is an internationally-recognised territory of Azerbaijan, and that its occupation by Armenia remains, to this day, in contravention of four UN Security Council resolutions. Mr Mnatsakanyan was repeatedly asked to acknowledge human rights violations and war crimes undertaken by Armenian military forces, as recognised by the UN and Human Rights Watch. He refused. Recent bellicose statements by Armenia’s Prime Minister, Nikol Pashinyan, clearly demonstrate the intransigence of Armenia’s current position.

There were, however, a number of oversights when referencing the conflict. It should be acknowledged that the conflict is not ‘stalemated’. There are, in fact, sniper casualties every day. During the programme, HardTalk’s presenter Stephen Sackur cited the alarming statistic that Armenian forces had violated the ceasefire more than 20 times in just one day.

It must also be remembered that the military occupation does not solely extend to Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh territory. Seven surrounding districts also remain under Armenian military occupation – equating to nearly 20 per cent of Azerbaijan’s territory.

Mr Mnatsakanyan was also unchallenged when referring to the security of the 150,000 inhabitants of Nagorno-Karabakh. The vast majority of Karabakh inhabitants today have been resettled to the territory by the Armenian government to artificially bolster local population numbers.

Surprisingly, there was also no reference to the estimated one million Azerbaijani internally-displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees who remain the principal victims of the ethnic cleansing policy undertaken by the occupying forces. This ranks as one of the highest per capita levels of displacement anywhere in the world. This human tragedy has had a profound impact, both economic and social, on Azerbaijan and its people.

Lastly, Mr Mnatsakanyan repeatedly referred to Nagorno-Karabakh, unchallenged, as a country with a political structure. It should be noted that ‘Nagorno-Karabakh’ is not recognised by any United Nations member state, including Armenia.

Calls for ‘new imagination’ towards resolving this longstanding issue are greatly appreciated and needed. It is my wish that all media were quite so even-handed in their reporting of this issue. Perhaps then the realities on the ground would truly come to light and a new impetus be found, via the international community, to end this ongoing occupation.

Source:: EU Reporter Feed

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