BAKU, Azerbaijan, March 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --
The Head of the Azerbaijani delegation to the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly, Elkhan Suleymanov, called the recent elections in Armenia "illegitimate" due to the continued violation of human rights of one million ethnic Azerbaijanis who became refugees and internally displaced people in the wake of Armenia's occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh and seven other Azerbaijani districts more than 20 years ago.
"We are concerned and deeply regret the fact that the international community positively evaluates the presidential elections in Armenia in the light of democracy, human rights, and rule of law," Suleymanov said. "After all, that country conducted an armed aggression against its neighbour Azerbaijan and still keeps 20 percent of Azerbaijani territory under military occupation."
Resolutions by the UN, Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the European Parliament calling for Armenia's immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal from the occupied territories have not been enforced.
Suleymanov said his nation is further troubled that the recent Armenian elections returned to power President Serzh Sargsyan, a former military commander who "committed a brutal genocide against innocent civilians in the town of Khojaly in Azerbaijan on 26th February of 1992".
International observers had already found flaws with the poll, in which one candidate went on hunger strike to protest campaign violations and another was shot and wounded.
Sargsyan won the election against what the New York Times described as "relatively weak competition". It reported how the challenger Andreas Ghukasian staged the hunger strike and another, Paruir A. Airikyan, was shot in "what the authorities described as an assassination attempt". It further noted that supporters of President Sargsyan were involved in the "inappropriate use of government resources to promote his candidacy".
The re-election of Sargsyan will do nothing to promote peace in the region, Suleymanov said, given that President Sargsyan "acknowledges that he is one of the authors and participants of the bloody ethnic crimes against civilians".
In a challenge to the international community Suleymanov said: "We call on the international community and the official election observation missions to consider the presidential elections in Armenia and the election of Serzh Sargsyan illegitimate."
He also demanded the European Union block the signing of the Association Agreement with Armenia until the occupation of Azerbaijani territories cease and urged the issue to be discussed by the OSCE, PACE and European Parliament.
SOURCE Azerbaijan Monitor