Latest from the Region - Wednesday, June 15, 2011 0:01 - 0 Comments
Digest of Azerbaijani media for June 1-14
by News Digest
Tom de Waal believes that the declaration on Karabakh conflict adopted in Deauville by the three presidents and co- chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group has been an important development in the past years. According to de Waal, the basic principles of the document on the resolution of the Karabak conflict have been on the table for the last five years and precisely because of that, the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs begun doubting Armenia’s and Azerbaijan’s willingness in resolving the conflict.
This is an important year for the conflict believes de Waal, especially as the co- chairs have reached a consensus and will be going into the presidential elections.
Dr. Sabine Freizer, Director of the Europe Program at the International Crisis Group sees the upcoming meeting in Kazan as crucial especially as the presidents from Armenia and Azerbaijan actually decide in taking the historical step towards reconciliation. Freizer also reminds that these are just principles that would (if signed on June 25th) require meetings with experts on preparing a detailed plan of the actual withdrawals, ensuring safe return of displaced and refugees, and the interim status of Karabakh. According to Freizer, this might take months if not years.
Chief of the department for public policy under the Presidential Administration Ali Hasanov expressed his dissatisfaction with the international actors involved in the negotiations of Karabakh conflict. Hasanov sees no reason as to why US fails to consider the on- going Karabakh conflict as important as the war in Afghanistan ana Iraq and the anti missile defense in Europe. He further reiterated the point of military solution to the conflict adding, “if necessary, we are ready to die for the territorial integrity”.
According to the Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry, Armenian armed forces broke ceasefire 447 times in the past 5 months. Over the same period, Azerbaijan lost six soldiers. These violations only show that Armenia is provoking Azerbaijan to war noted the spokesman of the ministry. Armenian Defense Ministry argues that Azerbaijan broke ceasefire more than 5,000 times, ending lives of eight Armenian soldiers and seven wounded in 2011.
As a result of ceasefire violation on the front line, an Azerbaijani national Elmar Piriyev was killed. No official information is available. The newspaper article also refers to another murder that took place earlier in March- a nine- year- old child was killed as a result of ceasefire violation.
Elkhan Polukhov, spokesperson for the Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs while commenting on the current situation of the negotiation process and the basic principles document noted that it is incorrect to refer to the future status of Karabakh through a referendum especially when referendum refers to the entire country, while in the basic principles document the self- determination of Karabakh is discussed within the framework of Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity.
Igor Popov, member of the OSCE Minsk Group said to expect soon results with regard to the Karabakh conflict. Together with other members of the Minsk Group there is an overall agreement that often meetings between the conflicting parties and activation of the negotiations is crucial.
In his statement to the press, Azerbaijan’s Foreing Minister Elmar Mammadyarov spoke on the peacekeeping forces to be stationed in Karabakh. According to the minister, these forces wont be from the OSCE Minsk Group countries, nor they are going to be from the regional countries.
The stationing of the peacekeeping forces is part of the base principles.
Russia’s Ambassador to Azerbaijan, Vladimir Dorokhin says Russia is making maximum effort as OSCE Minsk Group co- chair in the negotiation process and is hopeful of the final resolution of the conflict. Russia supports the international law and is committed to the resolution especially as Russia wants to see strong and blossoming neighbor (referring to Azerbaijan).
Deputy Foreign Minister of Azerbajan, Araz Azimov spoke of the Ministry’s approach to the document. In his remarks, Azimov underlined Azerbaijan’s position in the negotiation process- resting on principles of Helsinki Final Act, which disapproves of changes in territorial integrity by force. That is why Azerbaijan believes that the current occupation of its territories by use of force is totally unacceptable.
Azimov noted that Azerbaijan is ready to compromise however no concerning its territorial integrity. However, Azimov added that it is ready to discuss the extent of autonomy of Karabakh which he hopes will be mutually agreed by the Azerbiajanis and the Amrenians of Karabakh.
Aleksandr Lukashevich, official representative of the Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs says it is counterproductive to post- pone the agreement of concrete principles. In Deauville where the OSCE Minsk Group co- chairs issued a statement on the resolution of the Karabakh conflict, calling on leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan to conclude their work over the basic principles for their further discussion and final agreements in June. The Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman believes that this document adopted in Deauville will help leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan understand the importance of this document while moving forward to reaching agreements over the basic principles and working towards a much bigger document that would determine parameters of the final resolution process.
Azerbaijan’s political scientist sees the meeting on June 25th in Kazan as crucial in the negotiation process of Karabakh conflict. Rasim Musabeyov, also notes with much concern that if nothing is achieved in Kazan- for instance withdrawal of Armenian military forces from the occupied territories- then there is no point of continuing the negotiations. Musabeyov stressed the importance of OSCE Minsk Group co- chairs stressing preservation of the status quo in the conflict as inadmissible until the meeting in June.
Following their visit to Agdam, where they crossed the Line of Contact by foot the OSCE Minsk Group co- chairs demonstrated that cooperation is possible between the two sides and that any provocative action should be avoided by both sides especially in the run- up to the upcoming meeting in KAzan between the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan on June 25th.
Azerbaijan’s main principal is that there is progress in reaching results not the pace of the negotiation process said Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister during his counterpart in Tbilis, Georgia following his return from Moscow, where all three foreign ministers met to discuss NK.
Foreign minister informed of certain progress achieved in the discussions whereby agreements and closer positions are reached among the conflict countries however there are still a number of questions and concerns that must be addressed noted the minister in his further remarks.
Ali Hasanov, head of the department on social socio- political questions under the Presidential Administration expressed certain hopes while referring to the upcoming meeting on June 25th in Kazan. Hasanov noted that any progress depends both on Armenia and Azerbaijan, and especially Armenia given its unconstructive approach in the negotiation process. Hasanov spoke with optimism on the approaching meeting, adding that its time for real improvements in the negotiation process.
The newspaper refers to the recent article published on New York Times on the upcoming meeting on Karabakh. According to the New York Times article, this is by far, best opportunity for the conflict parties to reach an agreement on the conflict. Organized by the President Medvedev, the meeting aims at convincing Armenia and Azerbaijan in reaching a consensus on ‘base principles’, which were actually suggested more than 5 years ago.
In this article, Yerevan based analyst Richard Giragosian comments on the upcoming meeting in Kazan. According to the analyst, what used to be a more likely plan to achieve prior to the meeting in Kazan (referring to a one- page document renouncing the use of force) was not replaced with a more “ambitious” and “unrealistic” one (calling on the two sides to accept the basic principles for a Karabakh settlement).
Giragosian brought the example of Madrid talks between the Palestinians and the Israelis, a conflict which too almost turned into an intractable one.
The basic principles envisages return of thousands of Azerbaijanis displaced during the war to their homes, understanding among Armenians living in Karabakh that there wont be any danger of such changes. The document also grants Karabakh an interim self- governing status.
Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry reports of ceasefire violations- Armenian armed forces fired at the Azerbaijani positions. No casualties were reported. Other violations were reported on 11th of June in the nameless heights of Khojavend during which no casualties were reported and on 10th of June.
By sending this letter to the UN, Armenia only shows its willingness in maintaining current status quo of the conflict, and jeopardizing upcoming meeting in Kazan between the leaders on June 25th said Gabil Guseynli, in an interview to the newspaper. Guseynli also noted that while Azerbaijan has been trying to get UN involved in the negotiation process of the conflict, disagreements were raised on Armenian side as well as the Minsk Group co- chairs. Guseynli consequently raised a question that how is that when Azerbaijan tries to get the attention of UN, its met with obstacles, and yet Armenia sends a letter on Karabakh conflict to the UN with no problems. Political scientist explains this by putting Armenia under the spotlight, accusing it of its satisfaction with the current status of the Karabakh conflict and its unwillingness to actually resolve the conflict soon.
Member of the Azerbaijani delegation to the NATO’s Parliamentary Assembly informed the local media that work is underway for NATO to adopt a document on Karabakh. This initiative came as a result of NATO’s meeting in November of last year, when during the Lisbon Summit, NATO expressed its support for Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity.
Mubariz Ahmedoglu, head of the center of political innovations and technologies, says the possibility of a war breaking out following the meeting in Kazan is likely, especially, if no agreement is signed during the visit. Ahmedoglu stressed Azerbaijan’s readiness for the war warning Armenia of another outcome of the meeting too.
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