THE LEGAL ASPECTS OF TERRITORIAL AND BORDER SETTLEMENT USING ARMENIA’S TERRITORIAL CLAIMS AGAINST AZERBAIJAN AS AN EXAMPLE
Tofik Musaev, Second-rank aide, deputy head, International Law and Treaty Department of the Azerbaijan Foreign Ministry (Baku, Azerbaijan)
Armenia’s approach, which disputes that Nagorny Karabakh belongs to Azerbaijan, has been brought to the attention of international public opinion on numerous occasions, whereby at the most diverse levels, and mainly asserts that the former autonomy’s secession from Azerbaijan in 1991 was legal.
The Independent Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan ceased to exist on 28 April, 1920 when, following an invasion by the 11th Red Army of Bolsheviks, the foundation of the Azerbaijan S.S.R. was declared, which subsequently became part of the Soviet Union. The Caucasian Bureau of the Central Committee of the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks) reviewed the question of the Armenian S.S.R.’s territorial claims to the Azerbaijan S.S.R. several times, and at a meeting held on 5 July, 1921 it adopted a decision in which Nagorny Karabakh was to remain part of Azerbaijan, whereby the latter was supposed to grant Nagorny Karabakh broad autonomy. The following citation from the resolution part of the Bureau’s decisions shows precisely that Nagorny Karabakh was to remain part of the Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan, and not be transferred to it, as the Armenian side insistently maintains: “Based on the need for national peace between the Muslims and Armenians, as well as economic relations between Upper and Lower Karabakh and its permanent relations with Azerbaijan, Nagorny Karabakh shall remain part of the Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan, which shall grant it broad regional autonomy…”
According to the Armenian side, this decision was made by an entity that did not have the right to participate in the national state-building activities of another state and, consequently, constituted an act of gross intervention in the internal affairs of another sovereign Soviet republic.
It is difficult to say on what grounds official Erevan considers review of the Nagorny Karabakh question by the Caucasian Bureau of the Central Committee of the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks) to be interfering in the internal affairs of Soviet Armenia. What is more, it is still not clear what “entity,” according to the Armenian side, had the right in……………