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Baku Slams Illegal 'Elections' in Occupied Azerbaijani Lands

By Mushvig Mehdiyev April 18, 2020

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The central Khankendi city in the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan. Khankendi was occupied by Armenia on December 26, 1991 / Youtube

The government of Azerbaijan and the international community have denounced and rejected the results of the so-called "presidential elections" held in Azerbaijan's occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region on Tuesday.

“Referring to the unequivocal position of the international community on this illegal act held in the temporarily occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region of our country, I would like to remind that the so-called "elections" and their results have been firmly rejected by leading international organizations and numerous states,” Leyla Abdullayeva, a spokesperson for Azerbaijan's Foreign Ministry told local media on Tuesday, referring to a statement issued by the country's foreign ministry on March 31, which described the so-called "elections" as a sham with no legal basis.

“Members of the international community still continue to release statements about the so-called "elections", expressing support for Azerbaijan's sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders," the ministry's website quoted Abdullayeva as saying.

She pointed out that Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev commented on the matter in a video conference on the socio-economic results of the first quarter of 2020 on April 14, noting that the so-called "elections" would not be recognized.

Armenians living in the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan headed to the illegal polls for a second time on Tuesday to cast their votes. According to reports, Arayik Harutyunyan, a former so-called prime minister of the unrecognized bogus regime, was said to have won the runoff "election" after claiming 88 percent of the votes.

The first round of illegal "elections" took place on March 31 - when none of the two leading candidates, including Harutyunyan and the self-declared foreign minister of the separatist regime Masis Mailyan, managed to win the vote.

After the first round, the government of Azerbaijan and the international community, including the governments of the United Kingdom, Germany, Norway, Georgia, and Moldova, as well as the organizations such as the OSCE Minsk Group, which mediates the political negotiations for Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the European Union, NATO, the Organization for Islamic Cooperation, and the Turkic Council, have all rejected the said “elections" held in the occupied region.

During a video conference with government ministers in Baku on Tuesday, President Ilham Aliyev dedicated a part of his speech to the illegal "polls”, saying the fact that the illegitimate "election" was not recognized affirmed the Nagorno-Karabakh region's status as an inseparable part of Azerbaijan.

“I have said this, I want to say again that Nagorno-Karabakh is Azerbaijan and an exclamation mark,” President Aliyev said, according to President.az. “There is one way to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and that is to restore the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. The reaction of the entire international community to these so-called "elections" strengthens our position.”

The occupation of Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh region by Armenia took place after both countries gained independence following the Soviet Union’s dissolution in 1991. The fully-armed military of Armenia forcibly entered Azerbaijan’s territory and the two countries had fought a bloody war until a ceasefire in 1994. The outcomes of war were quite tragic for Azerbaijan.

The Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven adjacent districts or 20 percent of Azerbaijan’s sovereign territory were occupied, while more than 30,000 ethnic Azerbaijanis, the indigenous people of the occupied lands, were killed and one million more were expelled from their homeland.

Today, Armenia keeps historically and internationally recognized Azerbaijani lands under its occupation despite four UN resolutions and international mediation by the U.S., France, and Russia for a political solution. Armenia set up the bogus separatist regime in the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region which is not recognized by any state in the world, including Armenia.

The so-called "elections" in the Nagorno-Karabakh region took place amid a state of emergency declared by its separatist regime due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Sixteen people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus so far in the occupied Azerbaijani lands.