Artsakh recognized by foreign cities even after Karabakh returns to Azerbaijan

By | Rachel Brooks

November 29, 2020 

Above “File:Belgium MFA.jpg” by Belgium Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Develop from Belgium is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

In recent developments, multiple western cities have motioned to recognize the Karabakh territory of Azerbaijan as the Republic of Artsakh. This is after Karabakh was reclaimed both de juro and de facto by the Azerbaijani Republic, the legal sovereign over the territory as per U.N. Charter. Brussels, Belgium is among the European cities to recognize Artsakh as a self-governing body. In addition to Brussels, Glendale, Ryde, Australia, and Santa Ana, California have also motioned to recognize Artsakh from their city councils. Glendale and Santa Ana did not respond to Republic Underground’s request for comment. Likewise, the Armenian National Committee of America, ANCA, did not return our request for comment at the time of this report. 

Artsakh put to a vote 

Tomorrow, November 30, the Belgium government will reportedly cast a vote on several civic issues. Belgium has already been under the foreign limelight for reportedly telling Palestinian leadership to undermine the Oslo Accords, see the JNS for op-ed on the subject. Belgium’s foreign policy is being watched 

The Belgian session reports is citing a Russian-language article posted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Artsakh Republic (illegal settlement in Karabakh) on November 25. The article details how the “French Senate” will adopt a resolution to formally recognize Artsakh. This has happened even after the Russian-mitigated ceasefire which places Karabakh in the de facto as well as de juro control of the Azerbaijan republic. The statement regarding the French senate is describing the votes in Belgium that will include a direct diplomatic relationship with Artsakh. The adoption will recognize the independence of Artsakh even though Artsakh has never legally existed. There is no meeting of the French National Assembly scheduled for November 30. 

The statement by the Artsakh proxy government stated the following: 

“It is noteworthy that, among other important points in the adopted resolution, the Senate condemns the Azerbaijani-Turkish military aggression unleashed against Artsakh on September 27 with the participation of terrorist mercenaries and calls on the French authorities to take all possible measures to ensure the restoration of the borders established in 1994, which, in fact, were enshrined in an indefinite tripartite ceasefire agreement signed by the Republic of Artsakh, Armenia, and Azerbaijan.”

The statements made by the Artsakh ministry are a provocative scenario in which Europe, and especially France and the French-influenced sectors such as Belgium, could provoke other diplomatic members of the European Union via directly condemning Azerbaijan and Turkey, both members of the Minsk Group, and taking a partial preferential stance on behalf of Armenia. This has the potential to provoke Turkish relations with Belgium and France, as well as to provoke European-French relations with Russia, who has made its political presence known in the region throughout the conflict. 

The above statement by the Artsakh public ministry is being reviewed by Republic Underground News, fact checked, and screened for propaganda. The Belgian Foreign Ministry will be approached post-session for additional comments. 

The problem of Artsakh 

City councils motioning to recognize Artsakh is problematic to international law because Artsakh has never existed as a legal entity. Artsakh was the name of the illegal settlement of the Armenian republic in the Karabakh region. At the time of the Russian mitigated ceasefire, Karabakh was returned to Azerbaijani control, and the ethnic Armenians who occupied the territory were repatriated to the Armenian republic. 

Recognition of Artsakh is an agenda of the Armenian republic and the Armenian national movement abroad. In each city listed above where Artsakh was officially recognized and acknowledged, ethnic Armenians serve on the city council and have prominent decision making roles. This reflects a bias to the interests of Armenia in the recognition of Artsakh, which has always been contested as an “independent, self-defining” body of ethnic Armenians in the Karabakh. 

City of Ryde illegal entry 

Foreign intervention in the complex politics of the Karabakh creates greater problems for international diplomacy in the region. Examples are violations of the laws and ethics of conflict zones. An example of this is the illegal entry of the Ryde City Council of Australia in the region. In a letter sent from the locals of Ryde City to the neighbors of the community, concerned citizens alleged that the City of Ryde donated ratepayer funds to “finance a foreign war.”

The individual who submitted the following letter to the record requested to remain anonymous for their privacy. The letter proceeds as follows: 

Dear Neighbors, 

I write to you as I was alarmed to recently learn that, during these difficult Covid-19 times, on October 20, 2020, the City of Ryde donated $5,000.00 of our ratepayer funds to finance a foreign war. This donation was to the All Armenian Fund spent from our local Civic Services base budget. 

One month later, on November 18, 2020, the Deputy Prime Minister of Armenia Mher Grigoryan confirmed that recent donations made to the All Armenian Fund were transferred to the Armenian government which used the funds to procure weapons, including banned munitions such as cluster bombs during their recent war with Azerbaijan. 

According to a Human Rights Watch article published October 20, 2020, Armenia fired said banned cluster bombs at civilians in Azerbaijan killing 21 (including women and children) and seriously injuring 70 more. An Amnesty International article published on October 29, 2020, reported “confirmed use of cluster munitions by Armenia cruel and reckless.” 

The letter refers to a series of back-to-back reports from Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International which detail the events of the Halloween Barda City shelling. During the shelling of Barda, a second-grader aged child was disemboweled by missile ordinance, and many other civilians were killed or injured. This had followed directly on the heels of the brutal shelling of Ganja, Azerbaijan’s second-largest city. 

Problems with All-Armenian Fund 

The All Armenian fund described in this letter is the Hayastan All Armenian Fund, which has a board of directors that are almost entirely members of the Armenian government. The fund has external affiliates, the most well-known being in Greater Los Angeles, California. It is called the Armenia Fund. 

The distinction of affiliates operating under their own nation’s NGO laws has allowed All Armenian Fund to skim from legitimate charity organization programs. One major concern has been the Armenia Fund USA, Inc.’s participation in the Amazon Smile program. The Armenia Fund’s participation in the Amazon Smile program has been criticized because, under the Amazon Smile Participation Agreement, charitable organizations that are registered with the program “may not be supporting organizations.” Armenia Fund does not meet the requirements of this participation agreement because Armenia Fund, USA are factual and legal subsidiaries of Hayastan All Armenian Fund. The Armenian Fund was established first, in Armenia, in 1992.