The recent hasty inaugural ceremony of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, who has predictably won his third term in a vote widely criticized by the US State Department[1] and major international watchdogs[2] of democracy, became another stage for pouring international threats of isolation of neighboring Armenia[3]—a policy in place already for two and half decades. Aliyev has repeatedly stated there was no secret in his country’s isolation policy against Armenia and that policy “must be continued”[4].

In order to legitimize Aliyev’s intentions, Azeri diplomats, when asked to explain their President’s statements, seek to justify the republic’s official policy[5] by referring to Chapter VII, Article 41 of the UN Charter.[6] The tactics would have been quite successful, if they didn’t contradict the article referred to.

The fact is that Article 41 is not relevant in this case, and cannot be used to justify Azerbaijan’s policy. The measures outlined in the article, in particular, state: “complete or partial interruption of economic relations and of rail, sea, air, postal, telegraphic, radio, and other means of communication, and the severance of diplomatic relations” may be enforced by a UN Member state only through a resolution of the UN Security Council (UNSC). None of the UNSC resolutions relating to the conflict in and around Nagorno Karabakh has ever sanctioned member states, including Azerbaijan, to resort to measures outlined in the Article 41. Moreover, the resolutions of the UN Security Council on the Karabakh conflict, frequently referred to by Azeri officials, explicitly ruled out any isolation policy, and called for cessation of hostilities and restoration of “economic, transport and energy links in the region.”

So far, Azerbaijan has rejected any international proposal that envisaged confidence-building and peace-enforcing initiatives, which, as agreed by the rest of parties involved, constitute a prerequisite for effective negations.

How such international behavior benefits Azerbaijan remains unclear. What is clear is that inaccurate and selective interpretation of international documents, unfortunately, remains a tool used by Azeri officials to mislead international audience and distort the essence of the Karabakh conflict. Meantime,   solving the complicated confrontation requires a more responsible approach.


[2] OSCE: Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights:

[3] Speech by President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev at the inauguration ceremony: 19 October, 2013:

[4] Speech by Ilham Aliyev at the fourth meeting of the heads of diplomatic service, 21 September, 2012:

[5] Woodrow Wilson Center, Connecting the Caucasus with the World: Railways & Pipelines event:

[6] Charter of the United Nations: Chapter VII: Action With Respect to Threats to the Peace, Breaches of the Peace, and Acts of Aggression: