The parliament for the republic of Azerbaijan has rejected a vote by local Communist Party leadership in the disputed Armenian enclave of Nagorno Karabakh to secede from Azerbaijan and join the neighboring republic of Armenia, official sources said Wednesday.
Members of the Azerbaijan Supreme Soviet, or parliament, met Tuesday night in the Azeri capital of Baku and declared null and void the vote by the Nagorno Karabakh regional council to secede, said a parliamentary spokesman reached by telephone from Moscow.The spokesman said the presidium, or permanent administrative committee, of the Supreme Soviet overwhelmingly voted to reject the secession vote.
"The meeting immediately rejected this call with no debate," the spokesman said.
A spokesman for the Azerbaijan Republic mission in Moscow said the Nagorno Karabakh vote to leave the republic blatantly violated both the Azeri and the Soviet constitutions.
"This is not the first time that we have heard such a call. There is no legality in this move. This is unconstitutional," said Vagif Verziev, the deputy chief of the Azeri Republic mission in Moscow said.
There has been no formal reaction from the Kremlin, which has insisted the Supreme Soviet of the U.S.S.R. will be the final arbiter in the dispute.
Armenian nationalist sources in Moscow said the decision by the Nagorno Karabakh Council to break with Azerbaijan and join with Armenia will not be easy to implement.
"It is going to be difficult to overcome the Azeri resistance," one nationalist said.
The Kremlin has already shown its impatience with Armenian nationalists by sending non-Armenian army troops into Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh in the past two weeks to suppress unrest.
The Soviet media Wednesday reported the situation in the Armenian capital of Yerevan "tense" with a general strike continuing for a second week, but the main national daily newspapers such as Pravda and Trud failed to mention the secession vote.
Nagorno Karabakh, a region of 165,000 people, has been ruled by Moslem Azerbaijan under a 1923 treaty with Moscow. Ethnic Armenians comprise about 80 percent of the region's population.