[THREAD] #Azerbaijan says #Artsakh’s right to self-determination violates its territorial integrity. Here’s why such claims are invalid and even irrelevant.
The principle of territorial integrity means that the land of a state should be viewed as one unit. It prohibits other states from using force – or threatening to use force – to take land away from another state.

In other words, it deals with the relations between two states.
The principle of the right to self-determination means that people have the right to decide their own international political status, or how they wish to be governed.

In other words, it deals with the relations between a state and a people within that state.
Self-determination is exactly what happened in the 1990s when the Soviet Union was starting to fall apart. Back then, Azerbaijan was known as the Azerbaijani Soviet Socialist Republic, which had an autonomous region known as the Nagorno Karabakh Autonomous Oblast.
The people of Nagorno Karabakh, or Artsakh, exercised their right to self-determination in 1991. By resolution adopted on Sept 2, 1991, affirmed by referendum on Dec 10, 1991, the people of Artsakh made clear their wish to be an independent state: Nagorno Karabakh Republic.
This was not a matter of 2 states grabbing land from each other, but a matter of a people within a state declaring independence from that state.

In addition to gaining independence under int'l law through self-determination, the people of Artsakh followed national laws as well.
Soviet Union (SU) was in existence until Dec 26, 1991, and so Soviet laws were still the laws of the land until then. In Apr 1990, anticipating the dissolution of Soviet Union, a law was adopted on seceding from the USSR.
That law provided that if a soviet republic had an autonomous oblast within its territory, then a separate referendum must be held in that autonomous oblast, allowing the people of that oblast to decide whether they wish to: (a) remain within SU,
(b) remain as part of the seceding soviet republic, or (c) raise the issue of statehood. And that is exactly what happened: the people of Artsakh, then an autonomous oblast within the soviet republic of Azerbaijan, voted for independent statehood through a separate referendum.
In fact, Azerbaijan seceded from SU much later than Artsakh. While Artsakh adopted its indep. resolution on Sept 2, affirmed by referendum on Dec 10, Az adopted its indep. resolution on Oct 18, affirmed by referendum on Dec 29 – 3 days after SU had officially ceased to exist.
The current state of Az never included Artsakh. Artsakh became an independent state much sooner than Az, according to int'l & nat. laws.

So, Az claims that Artsakh can't be independent bc it violates its territorial integrity are not just invalid; they are completely irrelevant.
P.S. Recognizing the independence of the Republic of Artsakh means recognizing it w/ its entire territory, under the concept of remedial recognition. This & the matter of “occupied territories” under the oft-cited UN Sec. Council resolutions will be discussed in upcoming thread.
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