BAKU, Azerbaijan, June 19, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --
The man behind the push to have Armenia face the same sanctions over its occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh as applied to Russia over its annexation of Crimea, today warned Europe not to squander its "historical choice".
In April, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) passed a resolution suspending Russia's voting rights due to its interference in Crimea and eastern Ukraine. Ahead of the PACE summer session in Strasbourg next week, Azerbaijani PACE delegate Elkhan Suleymanov has tabled a motion calling for a similar treatment of Armenia, given its occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding Azerbaijani territories for more than two decades.
The motion reads in part: "The Assembly should apply one single standard and adopt exactly similar sanctions against the Armenian delegation by suspending its voting rights and excluding it from Assembly's leading bodies, until the end of the illegal occupation of Azerbaijani territories".
Suleymanov has been encouraged by the 58 signatures from 14 PACE member countries supporting the motion, but he is also mindful that there are no guarantees a fair hearing will ensue. After it is discussed in the Presidential Committee on June 22 and in the Bureau on June 27, it could lead to the appointment of a special rapporteur or be referred to the Monitoring Committee for Information. The latter option, Suleymanov said, would be an example of discrimination against Baku.
He also noted that the motion could be vetoed outright by PACE President Anne Brasseur.
"Although the great number of MPs signing the motion for resolution is morally restricting PACE President Ms Anne Brasseur's right to veto, there is still probability and it can't be excluded," he cautioned.
Thus he has challenged his fellow PACE members not to spurn this moment in history.
"The motion for resolution demanding the application of sanctions against Armenia will place PACE before a historical choice," he said.
"This document is the first motion for resolution demanding the application of sanctions against Armenia for its occupation of Azerbaijani territories, tabled in an international organization, i.e. within PACE for 22 years."
PACE has in the past adopted resolutions calling for Armenia's withdrawal from Nagorno-Karabakh, as has the UN Security Council, the Organisation of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the European Parliament.
SOURCE Azerbaijan Monitor