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Nagorno-Karabakh Flag Raised At UN, Briefly

The flag of the unrecognized republic of Nagorno-Karabakh -- not acceptable at UN headquarters.

The flag of the unrecognized republic of Nagorno-Karabakh -- not acceptable at UN headquarters.

Azerbaijan's ambassador to the United Nations has complained that on September 27 Armenia raised the flag of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh republic on the premises of Yerevan's UN mission in New York.

In a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Azerbaijani Ambassador Agshin Mehdiyev accused Armenia of violating the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and the UN Charter.

Baku diplomats apparently acted swiftly on their disapproval and the flag was taken down a few hours after it was raised. The letter notes that Armenia's mission "carefully covered up the tracks of its existence."

Azerbaijani mission spokesman Samir Sharifov said that the mission requested the flag's removal through the "appropriate channels." Whether through the UN Secretariat or through the U.S. State Department, he didn't specify.

According to the Vienna Convention, diplomatic missions enjoy immunity and their premises are considered sovereign, but they can only display one flag -- that of the country they represent.

There are exceptions; for example, all European Union member states display their flags and that of the EU and this is acceptable. The Armenian mission has declined to comment.

Since the cease-fire agreement in 1994 over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, both Armenia and Azerbaijan have subscribed to a monthly ritual of sending a letter to the UN secretary-general in which all violations of the cease-fire agreement are meticulously recorded.

Despite numerous resolutions by the UN General Assembly and the Security Council, there has been no progress on the conflict's resolution.

-- Nikola Krastev

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