Ansar Mahmood Bhatti
The world has changed since last month. The Ukraine crisis represents the most recent culmination of an extended process of estrangement between Russia and the West.After the annexation of Crimea by Russia that was veiled by referendum the tension raised in South-Eastern parts of Ukraine as well. As it was the case in the WWII that one European country annexed a part of another European state. This move disseminated a fear in Europe and pushed leading world players to retaliate.
The response of the US and EU was expectedly hard-lined. They threatened to turn away from Russia, imposed individual sanctions and warned to move further ahead if situation is not deescalated. Russia vetoed resolution that strongly condemned annexation of Crimea. Even China didn’t support and chose to abstain during voting.
The Parliamentary Assembly for the Council of Europe (PACE) has suspended Russia’s right to vote until the end of the year, in retaliation for Crimea voting to join Russia. The Russian delegation will also be omitted from all positions of leadership, the Bureau, Presidential and Permanent committees.
There is no doubt that loud reaction of the world community to the blatant violation of international law can only be welcomed. But the question however is why this triumph of justice is selective?
Turning back to the recent history one can find a number of longstanding regional conflicts such as Jammu and Kashmir, Palestine, Nagorno-Karabakh where the international law is simply ignored. At the same time the resolutions of UNSC as far as the East Timor, South Sudan, Kosovo concerned were implemented with no delay.
Other conflicts that still remain unresolved, some of them are mentioned in above lines need world attention, however the issue of Armenian-Azerbaijan conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh needs special attention. The fact here remains that both conflicting parties are the members of Council of Europe. It is of today witnessed that Armenia is simply buying time, trying to maintain the status of “neither war nor peace”, while international mediators, unfortunately, are not putting serious pressure on it.
In essence, international sanctions should have been applied to Armenia long ago because Armenia has been occupying Azerbaijan’s internationally recognized territory for 20 years now. A policy of ethnic cleansing has been unleashed against Azerbaijani people. Four UN Security Council resolutions are being flouted. No heed is being paid to the resolutions of other international organizations – the Council of Europe, the European Parliament, NATO, Non-Aligned Movement, the OSCE, OIC as well. They are simply ignored. Thousands of Azerbaijani citizens have been killed. One million people were expelled from their homes. An act of genocide has been perpetrated against civilian population in Azerbaijani Khojaly town. But at the end of the day Armenia is not faced with sanctions.
Isn’t it a clear demonstration of double standards? Why hasn’t the aggressor been condemned to this day and why doesn’t the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe discuss the issue of suspending the credentials of the Armenian delegation? The occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh, ethnic cleansing and so-called referendum held there. Isn’t it that the Crimean event then seems to be a déjà vu?
What is the reason for that? Why those who are directly involved in committing crimes, aggression have not be been placed under sanctions. They are free to travel to the West?
The world is perhaps tired of double standards because double standards lead to insecurity, chaos and cold wars. They ostensibly pose a direct challenge to the pillars of international order, constituting a naked threat to the peace and security.
The writer is a senor journalist and author of book ”A deep insight into European Union”.