Special to the Mirror-Spectator
UNITED NATIONS — Lies, distortions and propaganda took center stage on Friday, May 4, as Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev addressed the topic of “anti- terrorism” before the United Nations Security Council and accused Armenia of “terrorism against civilians, military aggression and ethnic cleansing.”
Possibly aware this diatribe would occur, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, as well as the German Foreign Minister and the ambassadors from Security Council members US, France and Germany, were not present.
After making the 5,000-mile journey to New York for this appearance, he was escorted into the UN through the basement garage, so that he would not have to see the more than 50 demonstrators from the New York/New Jersey ARF chapter who protested across the street from the UN, carrying the flags of Armenia and Artsakh (Nagorno Karabagh) and signs which read, “Turkey and Azerbaijan Guilty of Genocide,” “Baku Guilty of Ethnic Cleansing” and “Stop Destruction of Nakhichevan.”
Azerbaijan, which had been elected in October 2011 to a non-permanent seat on the Security Council, mostly with votes from Muslim member-nations of the UN, but none from European nations, is chairing the Security Council for the month of May and Aliyev seemed intent to get his message across while he was being watched.
Knowing that Armenia, which is not a Security Council member, could not respond, Aliyev accused Armenia of “dozens of terrorist acts against the civilian population and infrastructure of Azerbaijan,” which he said, “resulted in over 2,000 Azerbaijanis dead.” Armenia, he said, “orchestrated those acts with the direct involvement of its security agencies and by using international terrorist groups.” He continued by saying that during the Karabagh war, “Armenia widely practiced use of terrorist acts against the civilian population in conjunction with military aggression to achieve ethnic cleansing.”
Again he brought up the Khojaly issue, where he accused Armenia of “annihilating” 613 women, children and elderly. He also accused Armenia of “masterminding terror acts in public transport and critical infrastructure.”
Continuing his diatribe, he said Azerbaijan has largely neutralized this “terrorist threat from Armenia,” but there are “additional terrorist acts, including hitting civilian infrastructure, especially water reservoir dams and the oil pipeline network.” He also accused Armenia of harboring “elements of international terrorist organizations which are integrated into the security and defense sector of Armenia.”
And then in one of the most appalling statements, he said Armenia “that claims to share European and universal values has venerated operatives of international terrorist organizations as heroes, and even erected monuments to them.”
He finished his rant by accusing Armenia of “organized crime, drug trafficking, money laundering and illegal arms supply in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan.” (A similar harangue had occurred by his father President Heydar Aliyev at a press conference at the United Nations some years ago when as a UN correspondent, this reporter had asked him about the massacres of Armenians by Azerbaijan in Baku, Kirovabad and Sumgait. The face of the elder Aliyev, who was in the last years of his presidency, became enraged and he went into a 15-minute tirade against Armenia, finally storming out of the UN press conference.)
Armenia’s Foreign Ministry Responds
Following the current Azeri president’s appearance before the Security Council on May 4, Armenia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs immediately made the following statement. “The Azeri president’s statement is based on lies, distortions and groundless speculation. It causes deep regret that such an august platform can be used for such base statements. Instead of reaffirming his country’s commitment to a peaceful settlement of the Karabagh issues, he is abusing the authoritative tribune of the UN Security Council in order to repeat the overused thesis of anti-Armenia propaganda of Azerbaijan, just only forgetting to recall the Azeri leadership’s famous racist thesis that ‘Azerbaijan’s main enemies are the Armenians of the world.’”
The Armenian statement continued that “during the UN Security Council briefing on anti-terrorism, the president of Azerbaijan is making an unsuccessful attempt to lay its own responsibility of links with terrorist groups on others, being the leader of a country which actively used thousands of mercenaries closely linked to notorious international terrorist networks in its unleashed war aimed at the annihilation of the Karabagh population. It is cynical when vain accusations are voiced against Armenia by the leader of a country, the authorities of which masterminded massacres, ethnic cleansing against the Armenians by medieval methods; a country where cruel butchers of sleeping peo- ple are glorified as national heroes; a country where a captive is humiliated in front of cameras and then killed as it is done by well-known terrorist organizations; a country where centuries-old cultural monuments are barbarously destroyed by famous terrorists.”
The Armenian Foreign Ministry’s statement concluded by stating that “the continuous threats to regional peace and security, the bellicose and hatred disseminating provocative statements of the Azeri leadership which are in harsh contrast to the purpose and principles of the UN Charter, are not befitting a UN member state, and undermine the authority of the Security Council.”
UN Representative Decries Statements
Armenia’s Ambassador to the United Nations Garen Nazarian also released a statement which read that the Azerbaijani president should be reminded that “when using the term terrorism, his country was listed as one harboring terrorist groups, and is a logical route for extremists with ties to terrorist organizations. A number of recent reports by international and regional organizations clearly reflect that the territory of Azerbaijan is actively used by various terrorist and religious extremist structures, serving as a safe haven for criminal activities.”
To underscore this statement, Reporters Without Borders recently listed a list of “predator rulers of countries.” This list includes Vasif Talibov, leader of Nakhichevan, in addition to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.
And in a routine press conference at the United Nations on May 3, by Azerbaijani Ambassador to the UN Agshin Mehdiyev on press censorship, he admitted that he didn’t know that the day had been designated as Press Freedom Day. As reporters chuckled at his apparent ignorance, Mehdyev said, “Azerbaijan doesn’t need to mark this day due to its unrestricted media coverage. We have a free press.”
On May 2, the Committee to Protect Journalists named Azerbaijan as a “runner up” to their list of the “Ten Most Heavily Censured Countries in the World.”