2.5. Pressure continuous against PACE members recognizing Armenia as an aggressor

The frantic situation in Armenia’s political environment did not subside for a long time after PACE’s January session adopted Resolution 2085 (2016) titled “Inhabitants of frontier regions of Azerbaijan are deliberately deprived of water”.

Taking advantage of any opportunities, representatives of the Armenian elite did not hesitate to openly humiliate, slander and insult Azerbaijan, the PACE members who voted for the resolution, everyone who referred to this resolution, as well as PACE leadership. This time, Pedro Agramunt, who became PACE’s new president in early 2016, was the target of Armenia’s “voice of truth”.

Addressing the Council of Europe Committee of Representatives in February 2016 and during his official visit to Baku in early March, Mr. Agramunt openly declared that Nagorno-Karabakh and other territories of Azerbaijan have been occupied by Armenia with Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding districts being under occupation for over 20 years in violation of international norms.

Following the PACE president’s speeches, the Armenian media claimed “the PACE president was unaware of his duties”. Mr. Agramunt was described as someone “serving Azerbaijan’s interests”, unworthy and baseless expressions of him were designed to humiliate him.

There arose a logical question: Why were Armenian officials and politicians infuriated by speeches of Mr. Agramunt?! The point is that reiterating the expression “Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh and other occupied territories”, as envisaged in Resolution 2085 (2016), PACE President Pedro Agramunt said that Armenia’s international limit of “untouchability” was over.

By saying this, he declared that the policy aimed at preventing Armenia’s recognition as an aggressor state since 1990s failed. This was one of the most serious issues that panicked and annoyed Armenia.

Besides, PACE President Pedro Agramunt was first among the leaders of international organizations and high-rankingofficials, who officially announced the occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh and other territories of Azerbaijan by Armenia. Exactly for this reason, he was targeted by the Armenian government, the media and politicians.

Armenia was claiming that the adoption of the document, reflecting the occupation, damaged the activities of the OSCE Minsk Group, and it was only the OSCE Minsk Group that must deal with this problem. The failure of the OSCE Minsk Group to make gains for 25 years for the resolution of the problem and Armenia’s efforts to hide its aggressive policies under the “Nagorno-Karabakh conflict” directly serves Armenia’s interests. Though relevant or irrelevant, Armenia was unnecessarily pointing to a peaceful resolution of the problem, claiming that the adoption of the resolution by PACE was hampering the peace process. On the contrary, the admission that the document, calling for an end to the occupation and the withdrawal of the Armenian armed forces from the occupied lands does not hamper a peaceful solution of the problem. Actually, Resolution 2085 (2016) is a contribution to a peaceful settlement of the problem.

Finally, being branded as an occupier was exasperating Armenia. Therefore, by all means, the officials of this country are trying to keep the expression “Nagorno-Karabakh conflict” in use to cover up their occupying policies, and to prevent the useof “Nagorno-Karabakh and other occupied territories of Azerbaijan”, though late, from being endorsed in the public, political and scientific circles.

In general, Azerbaijan’s recent foreign policy achievements, particularly, in international organizations on various issues, have caused tense nervousness among the Armenian lobby and other anti-Azerbaijani forces. Two issues are main sources of these successes – the failure of the efforts to put pressure through the alleged human rights violations and political prisoners’ issues and the adoption of the resolutions on the ongoing occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh and other seven districts of Azerbaijan.

While one of the indicators of these successes was the rejection of Christoph Strässer’s report on “The follow-up to the issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan” overwhelmingly by PACE members, the other one was the stipulation in provisions of different documents of the occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh and other territories of Azerbaijan by Armenia.

The latest document that was endorsed was Resolution 2085 (2016), entitled “Inhabitants of frontier regions of Azerbaijan are deliberately deprived of water” prepared by MP Milica Markovic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The resolution confirmed the occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh and other territories of Azerbaijan by Armenia and demanded the immediate withdrawal of the Armenian armed forces from the occupied lands.

The document also underlined that the environmental crisis committed by Armenia against Azerbaijan was an environmental aggression, indicating that the current situation on the Sarsang water reservoir, located in an area of Azerbaijan occupied by Armenia, might result in a humanitarian disaster.

The resolution, as a whole, unanimously determines that Armenia is responsible for the occupation of Azerbaijan’s territories and its consequences. To challenge these successes, the Armenian lobby and other anti-Azerbaijani forces invented bogus investigation, called “caviar diplomacy” to claim that all the achievements were possible thanks to bribing of European MPs. Regrettably, this issue was also in the media of countries, where the pro-Armenian and anti-Azerbaijani forces were strong.

Italian media and TV programs under influence of the Armenian lobby were mobilized in this regard. One of them was “Report” program aired on Rai 3 TV Channel. The program presenter, Milena Gabanelli, was regularly engaged in anti-Azerbaijani activities. She repeatedly interviewed an Armenian, who illegally visited occupied Azerbaijani territories and Armenia, whereas, she did not interview anyone from Azerbaijan and broadcast one-sided, biased and unfair report about Azerbaijan. The majority of those, who attended the program as experts, were Armenians.

Later Milena Gabanelli’s “Report” program was taken off the air for regular biased, severe and unfair opinions, and it was even revealed that a 300-million euro lawsuit was filed against the channel and the program. As the program spread biased and slanderous information about individuals, “Report” program and Rai 3 TV Channel were sued several times, and a large amount of compensation lawsuits were brought against them.

Armenians have continued their large-scale provocations against Azerbaijan. Milica Markovic, the author of PACE Resolution 2085 (2016), titled “Inhabitants of frontier regions of Azerbaijan are deliberately deprived of water”, was subjected to various pressure and a campaign of blackmail.

Thus, as Bosnia and Herzegovina media reported, an anonymous letter was sent to the parliament and the media outlets of the country late in 2016. The letter claimed that in early 2016 when PACE-approved Resolution 2085 was under preparation, the author of the resolution, MP Milica Markovic, did not collaborate with Armenians and prepared a fully biased for Armenians report. The letter accused Milica Markovic directly of taking bribe when drawing up the resolution.

We should note that the author of the letter tried to purposefully deceive the country’s parliamentarians and the public. Thus, while Resolution 2085 was in the pipeline, Armenians refused to collaborate with the rapporteur despite the insistence of the rapporteur and the leadership of PACE.

Namely, for this reason, Item 8 of the resolution read: “The Assembly firmly condemns the lack of co-operation by the Armenian parliamentary delegation and the Armenian authorities during the preparation of the report on this issue. The Assembly regards such behavior as incompatible with the obligations and commitments of a country which is a full member of the Council of Europe. The Assembly will consider what measures to take in this and in any similar cases, which may arise during the terms of office of its parliamentarians.”

The anonymous letter sent to the Parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina was immediately made public and disseminated by MP Mladen Bosic. Interviewed on the letter, Mladen Bosic said he had met Armenian delegates and heard the same allegations, accusing Ms. Markovic of preparing a document against Armenians as a Christian.

For her turn, Ms. Markovic in her interview to the local media noted that she had investigated and found out that the author of the letter was not Armenians, but Ambassador of Permanent Delegation of Bosnia and Herzegovina to PACE Mr. Predrag Grgic.

According to the media reports, Ms. Markovic immediately got in touch with the ambassador. Though he refused it first, later he admitted to writing the letter at request of Mr. Mladen Bosic. Mr. Predrag Grgic said that the letter was not meant to be made public, adding it was just prepared to inform Mr. Bosic.

According to the Bosnia and Herzegovina media, former rapporteur Ms. Markovic sued both the head of delegation of this country to PACE, Bosic, and Ambassador Grgic. Being seriously anxious about developments, Ambassador Grgic through the media outlets announced that MP Mladen Bosic had deceived him and acted irresponsibly by forwarding the letter to the media. The local media also informed that Mladen Bosic did not answer phone calls by journalist after this statement of Grgic.

Armenians continued their propaganda against our country in different places and contexts…