Azerbaijan has summoned the British Ambassador to Baku and presented him with a protest note after news emerged that the President of the self-declared Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, Bako Sahakyan, will be visiting the United Kingdom next week, and is expected to speak at Chatham House on Wednesday, 8 July. The protest note was handed to British Ambassador Irfan Siddiq by Azerbaijani Deputy Foreign Minister Khalaf Khalafov.
Meanwhile, speaking at an event at the House of Lords in London on Wednesday evening (1 July), the Azerbaijani Ambassador to London said that the Azerbaijani government had received assurances from the British government that Sahakyan's visit was of a private nature and that the position of the British government on the Karabakh conflict and the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan remained unchanged. Ambassador Tahir Taghizadeh condemned Chatham House for inviting Sahakyan to speak, and said it was likely that there will be protestors outside Chatham House on the day of the event. Taghizadeh however also added that it was possible that a representative of the Azerbaijani community of Nagorno-Karabakh may be invited to speak at Chatham House at a later date.
The event at the House of Lords was connected to the launch of the book "Khojaly Witness of a war crime", and was organised by the The European Azerbaijan Society.
Speaking at the same event, Dennis Sammut, Director of LINKS and long time commentator on South Caucasus issues said that the region had seen serious violations of international humanitarian law and attrocities that amounted to war crimes over the last three decades. He called on Armenia and Azerbaijan to jointly agree to sign and ratify the Rome statute of the International Criminal Court and for the international community, including the OSCE Minsk Group, to help facilitate this.
photo: Bako Sahakyan, President of the self-declared Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (archive picture).