Latest from the Region - Monday, November 15, 2010 0:05 - 1 Comment
Digest of Azerbaijani Media for Nov 1-13, 2010
by News Digest
An interview with Tabib Huseynov, Caucasus analyst at the International Crisis Group, talking about Russian involvement in recent talks in Astrakhan and the upcoming talks in Astana; agreement on the immediate exchange of POW and human remains; and peace process overall.
The article is about recent incident that occurred in Netherlands where a product from Karabakh- “Artsakh Fruit”- was sold at local supermarket in Amsterdam. The members of the Benelux Azerbaijanis Congress (BAC) notified the Azerbaijani Embassy in Netherlands and some of the local newspapers calling on the Dutch Hayfood company and the company violating an international law.
RFEL/ Radio Liberty Azerbaijan Service- azadliq.org
The territory of Agdam was occupied in 1993, June 23rd. According to some recent reports, Nagorno Karabakh separatist regime is planning to change Agdam’s name to “Akna”. However, official Baku is rejecting any such reports given that “Official Baku doesn’t recognize forged regime on its occupied territories and therefore, considers such decisions groundless”.
The article presents yet another statement by Azerbaijani officials on the decision to change the name of Agdam to “Akna” by the self- proclaimed Nagorno Karabakh Republic.
Foreign ministry spokesman Elkhan Palukhov called the decision groundless. “The value of this decision is only paper and ink that were used to prepare this document […] But at the same time Armenia’s attempts to introduce separatist formation as an independent state by taking such steps and inviting various foreign visitors to the occupied territories are surprising” said the spokesman.
The spokesman called on the decision as a step back in relations and destabilization of the situation while the two governments instead should be working towards building constructive dialogue.
NEWS.az also published an article on the story however, their article provided a reason for the name change:
“The head of Karabakh’s department for territorial and local government, Sergey Nasibyan, said the name change was designed “to settle the process of providing land to residents of Agdam, as well as to resolve other housing issues”, Radio Liberty’s Armenian Service (Radio Azatutyun) reported, according to ARMENIA Today.”
The article features a brief interview with Dr. Hans Koechler, chair of political philosophy at the University of Innsburk where Koechler talks of the right to self- determination and territorial integrity. Koechler says that it is possible for “Nagorno Karabakh population execute its right to self- determination by means of the status of autonomy. This means self- government within the state of which they are a part that is within Azerbaijan. This is the only way to solve the problem, unless of course the parties to the conflict, Azerbaijan and Armenia, agree on some other way to settle it.
Aram Karapetyan, leader of political party “New Times” in his meeting with journalists raised his concerns over recent attempt of the Armenian parliament to bring into discussion draft bill on recognition of NKR. If recognition does take place, it will not have any quality changes on the overall process of the settlement. In fact, if Armenia recognizes NKR and no one else does, then it will look as it Armenia is trying to sabotage international community and this wont lead to anything positive.
RFEL/ Radio Liberty Azerbaijan Service- azadliq.org
These were the words stated during Elmar Mammadyarov’s press conference in Istanbul following his trip to Astrakhan. During the interviews with the press, the foreign minister underlined the importance of the visit and evaluated the meeting highly adding that he will be meeting with his counterpart Edvard Nalbandyan soon. However, no feedback was given regarding the issues to be discussed at this upcoming meeting except that the “road map” on resolving the conflict is geared towards restoring peace and stability in the overall region.
The article reports on recent interview Armenia’s first president Levon Ter- Petrosyan gave to Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty Armenian service on November 2nd.
In his interview, ex- president said “our nation, our state, Karabakh is going down the cliff. Our job is to prevent this. We don’t have any other purpose other than this. So I ask, whoever can help us with this, please do so. We would appreciate it”.
The article provides a brief insight to Ter- Petrosyan’s opposition political party and its slowly decreasing support judging from the number of people attending the rallies and etc. However, this doesn’t stop the leader from arguing that when and if needed, supporters will take the streets.
The decision to rename Agdam resulted in much criticism in Azerbaijan. Earlier chief of the presidential apparatus, Ramiz Mehdiyev while commenting on the decision expressed his deepest dissatisfaction. Similarly, Azerbaijan’s minister of foreign affairs, Elmar Mammadyarov stated, “renaming of cities testifies that there are radical forces in Armenia that do not want peace in the region. They do not want to stabilize the relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia”.
This highly critical and loosely based statement was made during a press conference held by the director of the Center for Political Innovations and Technologies in Baku, Mubariz Ahmedoglu.
His claims went as far as stating that “Armenia is a coordination center of the network” and that “this is testified by many facts, including the exposure of a syndicate that was created by 40 Armenians and appropriates money of the elderly and persons with disabilities from medical insurance from the insurance network “Medicare” in the US” and much more.
Editors note: Unfortunately such loosely based negative propaganda wont bring any positive results in the relations of the countries nor have any constructive impact on the resolution of the conflict if not making the situation worse. It is also unfortunate that while the two governments are involved in negative propaganda messages and continuous blame the relations between the two states is growing apart…
The story that’s featured here is from an interview with Assistant Professor Scott Radnitz at the Jackson School of International Studies of University of Washington.
Radnitz while emphasizing current overlap in positions between the two countries (Azerbaijan insists on keeping Nagorno Karabakh as part of its territory; Armenia insists on independent status of the area) he believes that the conflict won’t be resolved for the foreseeable future.
Professor goes on as he elaborates on the conflict with complexities such as memories of suffering, generated ill feeling, fanning the fames of resentment at home, and etc. Therefore, Radnitz says, that resolution of the NK conflict demands a number of elements including courageous leadership, changing public opinion and Western involvement.
The story featured in this article writes of a statement made by member of the Armenia opposition Armenian National Congress (ANC). Talking at the press conference, its member, David Shahnazaryan stressed importance of not adopting Nagorno- Karabakh’s independence. Done otherwise, this movie “will strike a heavy blow on the Minsk process which is Azerbaijan’s goal. The bill should not be voted in the Parliament. It will be a powerful political and moral blow” said Shahnazaryan.
Azerbaijan was criticized for its militaristic rhetoric by the head of the Poland’s National Security Bureau, Stanslaq Koziej. “We condemn militaristic statements by Azerbaijan and believe that Baku’s position of making threats on one hand and engaging in negotiations on the other to be unacceptable”.
Ex- minister, who is also representative of Armenian National Congress, Alexander Arzumanyan considers the decision of the parliament rather soon. However, he notes that on one hand, I greet the idea as it shows the international arena that without seeing any progress in the settlement process, Armenian parliament can independently go for recognition of Karabakh. And yet, on the other hand, if this happens then, it will seriously hinder Minks group work.
RFEL/ Radio Liberty Azerbaijan Service- azadliq.org
On November 4, leader of Presidential Administration Ramiz Mehdiyev during the meeting on UNDP Human Development Report, said “today, Azerbaijan’s occupied territories turned into places of illicit trade”. According to his words, today, these areas are used for illegal trade in weapons adding that “while UN adopted four resolutions Azerbaijan’s territories are still under occupation. There is a need to end this and Azerbaijan’s leading powers are working seriously to reach some form of resolution on this”. The highlight of his speech was his remark “Nagorno Karabakh was never part of Armenian territory” and that international organizations as well as the UN must realize their responsibilities, protecting human rights and releasing Azerbaijani territories from the occupation.
Prisoner from Azerbaijan held in captivity in Armenia was exchanged for the corpse of Armenian origin Manvel Saribekyan. The exchange took place with the assistance of State Commission on POWs, Ministry of Security and International Read Cross Committee.
The newspaper quotes the head- of- staff of the Presidential Administartion, Ramiz Mehdiyev on his remarks regarding changing the name of Agdam. “Renaming the Azerbaijani cities in the occupied territories, in particular Agdam, by giving it an Armenian name is a new game of certain forces in Aremnia” said the head- of- staff. Adding that such actions only foster destabilization and worsening of the already fragile settlement process.
Ramiz Mehtiyev called on the international community to end such acts, condemning Armenia and its political elite.
The article is an interview with president of the Center for Political Technologies, Russian political scientist Sergey Mikheev who speaks of upcoming meeting in Astana between December 1st and 2nd, OSCE’s report on occupied territories, Armenia’s plan to discuss the bill on recognition of Nagorno Karabakh and overall atmosphere in Azerbaijan, Armenia and in Russia.
RFEL/ Radio Liberty Azerbaijan Service- azadliq.org
According to Armenian Foreign Ministery, the newspaper reports on the meeting of the three ministers- Sergey Lavrov, Elmar Mammadyarov and Edward Nalbandyan. The ministers discussed issues related to Nagorno Karabakh conflict resolution process that were agreed upon during meetings between the presidents of three countries on October 27th in Astrakhan, Russia.
In the framework of recent agreement signed by the presidents of Russia, Armenian and Azerbaijan in Astrakhan, the corpses of soldiers were exchanged at the front line between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The exchange was carried out with the assistance of International Red Cross Committee in Agdam. The article reports on exchange of two Azerbaijani soldiers and one Armenian civilian.
The article reports on the recent meeting of three foreign ministers that took place in Moscow where the tree officials discussed the settlement of Nagorno Karabakh conflict.
An opinion pieces by one of the Azerbaijani political scientist Fikrat Sadikhov on situation with settlement of Nagorno Karabakh, general atmosphere and future prospects. The article elaborates of Sadikhov’s statement that “major powers understand that Azerbaijan is developing its defense industry for particular reason” stating that much investment has gone into military defense in Azerbaijan and that there is a reason for that. However, the scientist also noted some hope for the meeting in Astana (December 1stand 2nd), where presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia together with OSCE/ MINSK group co- chairs will meet to discuss possible settlement plan for Nagorno- Karabakh.
While recent prisoner exchange between the two countries is a sign of positive first steps, Sadikhov hopes that such steps only extend and that none of the sides, especially Armenia “does not take petty or nasty provocation”.
The article features a letter sent by Ceyhun Osmanli, Chairman of Ireli Public Union to British Reed Exhibitions Chairman and CEO Mike Rusbridge, regarding Armenia’s participation at the World Travel Market exhibition in London with a stand promoting tourism in Nagorno Karabakh.
“[…] Under these circumstances, surely it is immoral for you to permit the distribution of material encouraging tourists to visit this illegally occupied conflict zone?” reads the last sentences of the letter ending with calling on the organizers to stop “this outrageous and potentially dangerous undertaking”.
Alexander Karavayev, deputy director general of Moscow State University’s Information and Analytical Center, says it will only be possible to speak of progress after December 2nd once the OSCE summit concludes its meeting in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana. However, Karavayev also notes the difference between current president of Russia, Medvedev and his predecessor Putin in their approach to the region.
In his interview however, Karavayev noted that if before 1992, keys to successful resolution of the Nagorno- Karabakh conflict lay in the hands of Moscow, after 1992, this situation changed, especially with Karabakh conflict becoming more complicated and acquiring a number of different and independent dimensions. Today, it is not only Moscow who has keys to successful resolution of the conflict but also Azerbaijan, Armenia and the US.
Recent speech of Armenia’s President Serj Sargysan during which he spoke highly of Armenian nation and degrading Azerbaijanis, calling them “the migrating Turkic- Muslim tribes” evoked criticism on Azerbaijani side. So much that, the head of the Azerbaijani delegation to Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Samad Seyidov, sent a letter to PACE President Movlud Cavusoglu expressing his concerns with regard to the statement.
The Head of the Azerbaijani delegation went on to criticize this statement calling the Armenian authorities’ racist ideology groundless.
On a more positive note, head of the Azerbaijani Presidential Administration Social and Political Department, Ali Hasanov spoke of raised expectations for the settlement of Nagorno Karabakh conflict as a result of trilateral meetings held in Astana with presidents of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Russia. Hasanov spoke of hopes vested in these talks of eventual rapprochement.
In a response to recent statement made by Kocharyan that Azerbaijan is using Astrakhan process to fuel propaganda rather than confidence building measures back home, Foreign Ministry’s Spokesman, Elkhan Polukhov accused Kocharyan and Armenia’s Foreign Ministry for failing to see growing world support for fair and “substantiated position of Azerbaijan in the issue of the Armenian- Azerbaijani conflict over the Nagorno- Karabakh”.
Polukhov, further questioned the professional and knowledge- based level of the Armenian Foreign Ministry as well as Kocharyan’s level of intellectual conscience.
The article reports on Levon Ter- Petrosyan’s speech at an opposition rally held in Yerevan, with regard to his stance as to who holds the key to the resolution of the Karabakh conflict. According to ex- president, tt is Washington rather than Moscow who can resolve the conflict peacefully.
Azerbaijan political scientist Fikret Sadikhov comments on recent developments in relations between Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia. According to Sadikhov, current situation is not benefiting Armenia especially if we take into account that in Armenia and beyond, there is gradually developing understanding that one cannot hold on to territories in reality not belonging to that particular side forever. The reality is simple, sooner or later; occupied territories will have to be returned.
“Moscow has an undeniable influence over Armenia and its probably the only regional power that could affect Yerevan’s decision” said Taleh Ziyadov, doctoral fellow a the University of Cambridge while responding to questions addressed to him by the news website. In his interview, Ziyadov also noted, Russia’s influence in the region and overall in Karabakh talks. Current Obama administration has no clear strategy toward this region unlike James Baker of the 90s and Colin Powell of 2000, both of whom played individual roles in talks during those years. The same could be said about Europe Ziyadov noted, whose involvement in the peace process never went beyond statements and reports. Moscow on the other hand has been more active however it is too early to judge the effectiveness of its role in the peace process.
Manvel Sargsyan comments on recent talks and other developments in an interview with News.az. Expert at the Armenian Centre of Strategic and National Studies, Sargsyan believes that recent prisoner and body exchange deal signed in Astrakhan, is a step forward that could lead to negotiating process becoming more constructive and some conflict related stereotypes overcome. While commenting on the upcoming OSCE summit, Sargsyan sounded less optimistic especially given that most of the breakthrough depends on Azerbaijan’s acceptance of Nagorno Karabakh’s right to self- determination. Similarly, noting Armenia’s stance of not accepting inclusion of Nagorno Karabakh under Azerbaijan’s control. Thus, he concludes that there will be no ground- breaking agreement signed apart from a declaration on the political readiness of the parties to settle the conflict peacefully or something of this kind.
According to Russian politician, Nikolay Ryzhkov, “the situation is complicated”. The chairman of the parliamentary committee on cooperation between the Federation Council of Russia and the National Assembly of Armenia said “if the situation in Karabakh worsesn, the committee will not stand aside”.
Outraged by recent invitation of Bako Sahakyan by the World Affairs Council (WAC) to participate at en event in California titled ‘Turmoil in the Caucasus- a Nation’s Right for Self- Determination and Prospects for Regional Stability’, the Azerbaijani Diaspora sent a letter to California based WAC. Diaspora expressed their deepest frustration given that “Bako Sahakyan is not a ‘president’ of any republic, but a leader of a separatist puppet regime installed by the Armenian authorities in occupied Karabakh and internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan Republic”.
Calling to cancel the event, Diaspora concludes that such attempts go against US efforts to reach peaceful resolution of NK conflict.
The article reports on several bold statements made by the parliament member, Aydin Mirzazadeh while commenting on recent military training exercises carried out by the Armenian Defense ministry on occupied territories of Azerbaijan. Azerbaijani MP questioned Armenia’s military defense budget claiming its current amount is insufficient to sustain the country’s army. MP believes that military exercises were carried out merely to calm Armenia’s head of the Ministry of Defense Seyran Oganyan down.
The article reports on an Azerbaijan film festival planned to be held in the capital of Armenia, Yerevan. Due to a number of different complications, the festival was postponed to a later date (the initial time was mid October) in November. However, according to the festival organizer and the chairman of the Caucasus center for peacekeeping initiatives Georgiy Vanyan, the hall owner where the movies were planned for screening, rejected to present films at the last moment.
Criticisms were raised by users of social networks about the festival and so far, none of the movies from the festival were shown.
Following OSCE’s visit to Karabakh, the organization presented its annual report to the Council of Vienna. The report concludes that while “the situation on the line had remained stable” tensions continue since November 2009.
While many independent analysts and experts appear hopefully in the results of the upcoming Astana OSCE summit, Armenian Parliament member Naira Zograbyan is rather negative. The parliament members believes that the chances for reaching any kind of progress is highly ulikley.
Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty
President of Armenia, Serj Sargsyan attended military trainings in Nagorno- Karabakh. The trainings began on November 12th in Adam regiona. The news of restarted trainings in Karabakh triggered some skepticism on behalf of Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Defense. Eldar Sabiroglu, head of the press service of the ministry stressed insignificance of such trainings in an interview with press agencies.
Commenting on recent military trainings held in occupied region- Aghdam- political analyst, Mubraiz Ahmedoglu says that such acts disrespect agreements reached in Astrakhan. Going further, analyst stated, “these exercises violate international norms, including non- use of force” proving that Armenia won’t agree to peaceful settlement of the conflict.
According to an article published on NEWS.az, such trainings do not increase combat readiness but are only childish games aimed at nothing more but a show off and delusive method.
Armenia’s Permanent Representative to OSCE, Ambassador Ashot Hovakimyan expressed his concern in a speech devoted to the recent report by the OSCE Minsk Group Co- chairs. During his speech he stressed Azerbaijan’s disinterest in reaching peaceful resolution to the conflict and the country’s negative stance on the current Minsk Group- mediated negotiation format. While the two governments should be involved in strengthening trust, Azerbaijan used measures aimed at strengthening trust for its propaganda purposes stated Ambassador, further exacerbating already fragile peace process by “bellicose statements which aim to kill the negotiation process”.
The Secretary of the National Security Council of Armenia Artur Bagdasaryan believes Yerevan wont agree on Nagorno- Karabakh remaining under the leadership of Azerbaijan. In his interview with Polish edition of Rech Pospolita, the secretary stressed expected outcomes from the OSCE summit in December in Astana. “We want definitive decisions […] Three points are key for Armenia, including independence of Nagorno Karabakh, direct links of Karabakh with Yerevan and security of Armenians residing there” adding that any war- fuelled rhetoric on Azerbaijan’s behalf is unacceptable for Armenia and that the country wants peaceful resolution to the conflict.
Zurab Kananchev, Russian historian and a member of the center for the Central Asia, Caucasus and the Ural- Volga region studies of the Institute of the Oriental Studies, hopes that the upcoming talks in Astana by the Minsk Group will bear fruits for the resolution of the NK conflict. In an interview with Day.az, expert voiced his concern that if Armenia decides to recognize Nagorno Karabakh then the current talks might reach a deadlock and seriously impede the situation at the front lines of the conflict.
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