Armenia’s Incompetent Actions at the UN Did More Damage Than Good
The United Nations Security Council is composed of 15 member states: Five are permanent members with veto power (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States), and the other 10, have a term of two years, on a rotational basis.
The Security Council’s powers include establishing peacekeeping operations, enacting international sanctions, and authorizing military action. It is the only UN organ with the authority to issue binding resolutions on member states.
With such extensive responsibilities, the Security Council is the right UN body to deal with Azerbaijan’s blockade of 120,000 Artsakh Armenians which risks their starvation resulting in genocide, according to the UN definition of that term.
Regrettably, the Armenian government, due to the mismanagement of its approach to the Security Council, mishandled this unique opportunity to get the UN body to adopt a resolution urging Azerbaijan to immediately unblock the Lachin Corridor. Otherwise, it would impose severe sanctions.
The proper way to have handled the petition to the Security Council would have been for Armenia to prepare the text of a draft resolution, meet with all 15 members, and try to get them to agree to the proposed resolution. Since the blockade has been going on for eight months, the Armenian government had plenty of time to do this work.
Without any preparations, petitioning the Security Council and expecting a positive outcome is unrealistic and self-defeating. The ambassadors of the 15 member countries always receive advance instructions from their foreign ministries on what to say during the UN meetings and if there is the pre-prepared text of a proposed resolution, they are told how to vote. Nothing is decided on the spot during the meeting and no action can be taken that has not been agreed upon in advance.
The Armenian government should have known these basic facts and have taken the proper steps before requesting a Security Council meeting in order to ensure a successful outcome. In this absence of such a preparatory work, it is not surprising that the Security Council did not adopt a resolution to warn Azerbaijan that unless it unblocks the Lachin Corridor immediately, severe sanctions will be imposed.
During the meeting, all 15 member states delivered speeches, many of them urging Azerbaijan to unblock the Lachin Corridor and resolve the issue through peaceful negotiations. The French Ambassador delivered the most favorable speech for Armenia, while the Russian Ambassador’s remarks were disappointing. When the meeting was over, everyone got up and went home without adopting a resolution and resolving the blockade. Azerbaijan and Turkey, which are non-members of the Security Council, repeated their myriad of lies about the Lachin Corridor, denying the obvious facts known to the whole world. To counter Turkey’s remarks, why didn’t Armenia arrange to have Cyprus or Greece attend the meeting to support its position?
Regrettably, the UN Security Council member states preferred to pursue their own narrow national interests rather than trying to save the lives of 120,000 starving Artsakh Armenians, thus abdicating their humanitarian responsibility and undermining the integrity of the United Nations Organization. Shamefully, the Security Council did not even bother to back up the two decisions of the International Court of Justice on unblocking the Lachin Corridor.
Armenia’s Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan, who flew to New York on this occasion, gave a proper speech, urging the Security Council “to act as genocide prevention body and not as genocide commemoration, when it might be too late.” Mirzoyan asked that the UN dispatch an interagency needs assessment mission to Artsakh, which was ignored. Nevertheless, he failed to request that the UN Security Council order Azerbaijan to open the Lachin Corridor and impose sanctions, if it did not comply. On the other hand, the Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan, Jeyhun Bayramov, did not bother to fly from Baku to New York, knowing full well that nothing will happen at the UN meeting.
Azerbaijan’s Ambassador falsely stated that since Artsakh is a part of his country’s territory, it can do as it pleases and no one has the right to interfere. The whole world knows that he is completely wrong. Human rights violations are of universal interest. They are of serious concern to the whole world and are not the internal issue of any one country.
While it is true that several Ambassadors urged Azerbaijan to unblock the Lachin Corridor, regrettably, these requests were mere words which fell on deaf ears. Azerbaijan ignored all such requests, as it has rejected similar pleas from several heads of states, foreign ministers, the European Union, European Council, European Court of Human Rights, World Court, and Secretary-General of the United Nations. Words without action are meaningless.
To save face, Prime Minister Pashinyan told Armenians after the UN meeting that now the whole world knows that Azerbaijan, contrary to its denials, was blocking the Lachin Corridor. This is a meaningless statement as everyone already knew that the Corridor was blocked. That was not the purpose of the UN Security Council meeting. The purpose was to adopt a resolution and impose sanctions on Azerbaijan. Armenia failed to accomplish that important objective.
The UN Security Council meeting was much more than a missed opportunity for Armenia and Artsakh. Having raised and then shattered the expectations of Armenians that the Security Council will lift the blockade further demoralized Armenians worldwide. It would have been far more preferable for Armenia to take no action rather than make a half-baked attempt which caused more damage.
Since last week’s failed meeting, Azeri officials have boasted that no one at the UN believed Armenia’s ‘baseless accusations,’ as a result of which no decision was taken. Regrettably, Azerbaijan is now emboldened more than ever to take further aggressive steps against Artsakh and Armenia, knowing full well that no one in the world will take any action against Azerbaijan.