Monthly Review - Sunday, January 1, 2012 0:02 - 0 Comments
Digest for Armenian Media for December 15- 31
by News Digest
This article, says that head of the EU Delegation to Azerbaijan, Ambassador Roland Kobia, said that the year 2012 we will see a strong EU engagement in supporting the peace process over Nagorno-Karabakh. “There were a lot of direct and indirect calls for greater EU involvement into the Nagorno-Karabakh solution”, he said, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton appointed Philip Lefort as a new ambassador in the region which is a “a clear and strong signal from Madam Ashton to show that EU interested in resolution of this conflict,” Kobia said.
This article says that Baroness Caroline Cox said at a meeting that the people of Nagorno Karabakh should participate in the peace process of the settlement of the Karabakh conflict. “I respect the opinion, the rights and the right of expression of the will of the people of Karabakh and think this nation should participate in the peace process,” said she. Further, Cox said she appreciates Karabakh’s “willingness to negotiation, discuss the possibility of returning some territories under some conditions”. She also expressed regret that Azerbaijan “from time to time adopts an aggressive posture and makes statements about increasing its military might”.
According to this news article, Turkish Ambassador to Azerbaijan Hulusi Kilic said at ceremony on Azerbaijan’s 20th anniversary of independence that Turkey helped Azerbaijan in the Karabakh war and shared with Azerbaijan its military and diplomatic experience. He also said that the Karabakh problem is a shared problem of the two countries. “Turkey supported Azerbaijan during its 20 years of independence in the settlement of the Karabakh conflict. The Nagorno-Karabakh issue is our common problem,” said he.
This article says that US Assistant Secretary of State Philip Gordon said that as co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, the United States and Russia coordinate closely on efforts to resolve the Karabakh conflict. Gordon stressed that Russia remains an important partner “in the Quartet, which is working to implement the vision for Middle East peace outlined by President Obama in his May 2011 remarks.” “As co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, the United States and Russia coordinate closely, along with France, on efforts to achieve a peaceful, negotiated settlement of the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh,” Gordon said.
According to this article, Armenian political analyst Narek Galstyan said that in case military actions start against Iran, Azerbaijan may resort to adventure over the resumption of military actions over Nagorno-Karabakh. He also said that any military action against Iran will have very bad consequences for Armenia. “If Azerbaijan does not attack Iran, then it will take advantage over the conflict situation over Iran and may resort to adventures over the resumption of the Karabakh conflict,” he explained.
MP of the Republican Party of Armenia Gagik Minasyan said that the meeting of the Armenian, Azerbaijani and Russian presidents in Kazan revealed that the issue of territorial integrity is not that steadfast as it was in 1990. He also said that Europe also attaches importance to the peoples’ right to self-determination. “For this reason Azerbaijan opposes to the proposals,” said Minasyan, adding that this testifies to the fact that Azerbaijan perceptions of a settlement to the conflict run counter to that of Armenia, OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs and the international community.
According to this article, MP of the Republican Party of Armenia, Gagik Minasyan, said that Azerbaijan is spending millions for its military build-up, but Armenians have strong will that has paved the way to success. He also said that negotiations for a peaceful settlement to the Karabakh conflict should continue, taking advantage of “Azerbaijan’s destructive position”. “In Deauville it was highlighted that peoples should be prepared for peace not for war, while Azerbaijan did the contrary,” said Minasyan.
This news item says that Turkish Ambassador to Azerbaijan Hulusi Kilic said that Turkey would not agree to any settlement to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict that would not satisfy Azerbaijan. He also said that the main condition for Turkey to open its border with Armenia is “the liberation of Karabakh”. “Our main condition is the liberation of Karabakh. After that we will open the border with Armenia,” said he.
This article says that the status quo has become the main player in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Though Azerbaijan, and even the mediators, is mechanically stating that the current status quo is unacceptable, everybody has come to the conviction that changing the existing status quo would be bad for all, the article adds. Further, it says that the only way to change that status quo is the recognition of the present military-political units and the de-blocking of the existing borders. However, it says that at this moment there is not enough courage and geopolitical way of thinking is not sufficient to change the status quo.
This article says that Thomas de Waal, senior associate in the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Carnegie Endowment at a Helsinki Commission’s briefing on the South Caucasus, said that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict cannot be called frozen, as the situation in the zone is close to a new war. According to him, the balance between the powers has significantly changed. Azerbaijani expenses on army exceed Armenia’s whole budget, he explained. Another shortage in the negotiation process is the exclusion of representatives of Armenian and Azerbaijani societies.
According to this article, French Co-Chair of the OSCE Minsk Group Bernard Fassier said that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict will be resolved when people live in peace in the South Caucasus. Citing the example of Middle East, he noted that protracted conflicts are more difficult to resolve. In this context, he pointed out the need for speeding up settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Deputy Chairman of Armenia’s National Assembly, Eduard Sharmazanov, said that experience shows that a pre-election year is not productive for settlement of the Karabakh conflict. “2012 will be a pre-election year for Armenia and Azerbaijan, and experience has shown that a pre-election year is not productive for a settlement. But Armenia’s approach is in keeping with the international community’s approach,” said he. According to him, the conflict must be settled within the boundaries of international law.
According to this news item, French Co-Chair of OSCE Minsk Group Bernard Fassier said that mediating is a tough mission as the mediators receive “blows from all sides simultaneously”. “It is very difficult to resolve such a conflict, and it is difficult to get the consensus of all the parties over all the aspects of the negotiation process,” explained the French co-chair. Fassier also said that there is “no need to criticize the OSCE Minsk Group” as the Minsk Group has been working “very actively so that to give the sides a chance to meet and hold discussions both at the level of presidents and foreign ministers”.
According to this article, Oxford Professor Neil MacFarlane, said tat the Western approach to the post-Soviet countries has been to recognize the full sovereignty and independence of these countries in international affairs. As for the prospects of resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Prof. MacFarlane said that the “prospects continue to be poor” and the West can mediate, and they can encourage. But the necessary decisions are local ones. “If the last twenty-three years tell us anything, it is that Western states and institutions do not have sufficient leverage over Armenia and Azerbaijan to produce peace. Nor does Russia,” he underlined.
According to this news item, former Latvian president Valdis Zatlers said that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict should be resolved peacefully. “I think that this problem should be solved peacefully,” said he, adding that “justice should be reached on the basis of Madrid principles and negotiation process of OSCE Minsk group.” Further, he said the peace process should run in such a manner that “it would be possible to settle this problem in the coming future”. “But for now, unfortunately we observe this process running with non-stable successes,” he added.
This article says that outgoing French Co-Chair of the OSCE Minsk Group Bernard Fassier said at a farewell meeting in Yerevan that there is no military solution to the Karabakh conflict. “It will bring new bloodshed and tragedy, new casualties, new masses of refugees, while the conflict will remain unresolved,” said Fassier. He also said that the OSCE Minsk Group did not succeed in ensuring a breakthrough in the settlement of the Karabakh conflict there are at least some positive points to point.
According to this article outgoing OSSE Minsk Group French Co-Chair Bernard Fassier said that a fresh war in Nagorno Karabakh has been prevented due to the efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group. Fassier said though they could not reach what they wanted, there are a several important achievements. He also said it would be wrong to say that the co-chairs propose nothing. Instead, according to him, it can be said that the co-chairing countries have a unified position now. Fassier also said that the OSCE Minsk Group helped parties to approximate their positions over the conflict.
Armenian a political analyst Levon Melik-Shahnazaryan said, according to this article, that the key achievement of the peace talks over Nagorno Karabakh is the country’s involvement in consultative discussions together with Armenia and the OSCE Minsk Group. “Nagorno Karabakh, as a subject, is actively involved in the process this year, the fact already signaling recognition,” he told a news conference. He also draws attention to the fact that several western diplomats highlight the importance of involving Karabakh in the negotiations to avoid a stalemate.
Armenia 2011: Karabakh [ARM]
This article says that during 2011 Azerbaijan, “realizing the graveness of its position intensified ceasefire violations on the Line of Contact,” though in no way has it affected the political urgency of the issue. It also says that Azerbaijan has significantly annoyed its Western allies, particularly the British and the Americans, who have explained to Azerbaijan that it is not Baku who sells them oil and gas, but rather it is they who bring profits to Azerbaijan. Further, the article says that as of now, the talks over the Karabakh conflict will continue to focus not on the settlement itself, but rather on not allowing do something that is forbidden to do.
Alexander Manasyan said at a press conference that Azerbaijani leadership is attempting to include some provisions in the Madrid Principles that will be beneficial for Azerbaijan. He also said that the year 2012 will be a year of imitation for Azerbaijan to resolve the Karabakh conflict. “In the coming five years Azerbaijan will attempt to turn the wheel of settlement to its side, and we must try to adjust the situation, introduce corrections into the settlement process,” said he.
This article says that Novruz Mammadov, Head of the Foreign Relations Department, Presidential Administration of Azerbaijan, said that “if Armenia fails to follow a constructive policy, negotiations over Nagorno-Karabakh will be impossible to continue”. Speaking about a peace agreement that might be signed next year, he said that “it is yet impossible to say anything exactly”. “The latest meeting in Kazan showed Armenia’s leaders are carrying out different maneuvers to retain power and protracting the talks. A constructive position must be demanded from the Armenian side.”
According to this news article, Armenian military expert David Jamalyan said that Azerbaijan “failed to gain military or human advantages over Armenia in 2011” and that Armenia managed to purchase enough military supplies in the past year to neutralize the country’s advantages. “Azerbaijan is unfortunately very likely to repeat its provocations next year. Our task is to do our utmost to reduce such attempts,” he said.
Arman Melikyan, former de facto minister of foreign affairs of Nagorno-Karabakh, said that clash of superpowers’ interests causes geopolitical changes. According to Melikyan, if Russia is using the Nagorno-Karabakh problem for promoting its national interests, the problem needs to be resolved now. The issue will be discussed from the following angle: a number of regions of Nagorno-Karabakh will be returned to Azerbaijan, and Azerbaijan, in turn, will allow Russia to continue cooperating with it. On the other hand, in this case Russia will lose Armenia. Considering the above, Melikyan warned against yielding to pressure and called for being consistent.
This news item says that Iranian and Armenian presidents Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Serzh Sargsyan discussed, among other issues, the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. They stressed the need for establishing long-lasting peace, stability and security in the region. Sargsyan and Ahmadinejad stressed that a peaceful settlement to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has no alternatives. They also stressed the need for resolving the conflict on the basis of international legal norms.
MP of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia, Gagik Melikyan said that the Kazan meeting revealed what the “Azerbaijani authorities had been trying to conceal on the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement process” “The Co-Chairs’ proposals were not beneficial to Azerbaijan, therefore Azerbaijan is maneuvering and constantly dragging out the negotiation process,” said he. Melikyan also noted that in Kazan Azerbaijan did not give consent to the document stipulating the basic principles for the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement, more, it submitted 10 new proposals, thus putting the Co-Chair countries in an awkward position.
This article says that Deputy Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Araz Azimov said at a meeting in Washington that the fact that OSCE Minsk Group French Co-Chair Bernard Fassier makes contradicting statements in Armenia and in Azerbaijan cannot be considered constructive. According to him, the OSCE Minsk Group should be more responsible and consistent. However, he said that currently he sees no alternative to the OSCE Minsk Group.
According to this article, Ronal Kobia, head of the EU delegation in Azerbaijan said that the EU backs the OSCE Minsk Group format in the settlement of the Karabakh conflict and wants this issue to be resolved peacefully. He also said that the EU is trying to find new ways of assisting the OSCE Minsk Group in its efforts to reach a negotiated settlement to the Karabakh conflict.
This news article says that following the adoption by the French parliament of a bill that criminalizes the denial of the killings of Armenians in 1915 as genocide, Turkish President Abdullah Gul said that French should quit the OSCE Minsk Group. He also said he hopes that the process related to the adoption of the bill will not continue. “France should leave the Minsk Group that acts as a mediatory in the Caucasus,” said Gul.
This article says that the new National Security Concept of Georgia stated that the Karabakh conflict is a “challenge” for Georgia and that the “the resumption of armed resistance between Armenia and Azerbaijan will weaken the security of all three countries of the South Caucasus and contribute to the growth of Russia’s influence in the region.” The document also said that “traditional good neighborly relations connect Georgia with Azerbaijan and Armenia”.
According to this article, head of the EU delegation to Azerbaijan Roland Kobia that it is necessary to concentrate the efforts on settling the Karabakh conflict rather than lose time on changing the OSCE Minsk Group structure. In his words, there is no intention to replace the French Co-Chair with the EU representative on the current stage of the peace process, Kobia said. Further, he said that EU supports the efforts of a single format of settling the conflict, which is the OSCE MG approved both by Armenia and Azerbaijan. Kobia also said that EU stands for a peaceful settlement of the Karabakh conflict.
According to this news article, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is the only one in the post-Soviet area that can be settled now, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has said. “The only way is to negotiate, because alternative to negotiations does not exist. There’s only a bad alternative – war,” said he in an interview. Medvedev also said that “much has been done in the recent few years to bring the positions of the parties closer. Prospects for an agreement, of course, exist,” said Medvedev.
According to this article, Armenian analysts Karen Bekaryan said that Azerbaijan’s approach has become obvious this year and it is the staunchest supporter of the status quo. In the context of the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process, Bekaryan said that the Kazan meeting and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s interview, when “he threatened with a war,” prove the above-said. This year, Azerbaijan has acquired “two platforms” for raising the Nagorno-Karabakh issue – the UN Security Council and Non-Aligned Movement, he added.
This article says that Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev threatened with a fresh war over Nagorno Karabakh. He said that as long as the negotiation process is on, “hardly everything is under our control”. Aliyev also said that “there is an international format of negotiations. The Minsk Group has been working for about 20 years”. “But we do not have any result. Although resolutions by all international organizations are supportive of Azerbaijan’s fair position, the problem remains unresolved because of the international Armenian lobby, forces supporting Armenians,” he was quoted as saying.
This article says that former de facto Foreign Minister of Nagorno Karabakh, Arman Melikyan, said that Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s interview, in which he said that the Karabakh conflict is probably the only one in post-Soviet area that can be resolved, is indicative of a possibility that after the presidential elections next year Moscow may take abrupt steps for the settlement of the conflict. Political analyst Sergei Minasyan, in turn, said that Russia simply has to settle the Karabakh conflict so that to avert resumption of military actions there as Russia will lose the most in that scenario as it will have to make a tough decision either to help Armenia, an ally at the Collective Security Treaty Organization or not to help.
This news article says that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the conflicts of Nagorno-Karabakh and Transdnestria – together with other conflicts in the post-Soviet area – are on the agenda of Russia’s foreign policy. He also said that Russia intends to make more efforts to reach a negotiated settlement to the Karabakh conflict.
According to this news item, Russian expert Ruslan Shamgunov said that the events surrounding Iran won’t affect the state of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict because Iran is not a major player in the conflict, adding that the situation with Iran will remain the same. “In any case, the Iranian war won’t affect the state of the Karabakh conflict because Iran is not an influential player in the settling of the conflict,” he said.
Turkish MP Haluk Koc said that with its National Assembly bill criminalizing the denial of the Armenian Genocide, France made it clear that it cannot be neutral in the OSCE Minsk Group. “Sarkozy undertakes steps against Turkey to gain the votes of the 500,000 Armenians in his country,” said he, adding that a court ruling is necessary to accuse a country of a genocide crime. “In my opinion, Azerbaijan has all the grounds to question France’s neutrality in the Minsk Group,” he said.
According to this news article, Azerbaijani Ambassador to Turkey Faik Bagirov said that Azerbaijan wishes Turkey to become a member of the OSCE Minsk Group. Speaking to the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet, the diplomat said his country reacted to Turkish President Abdullah Gul’s statement calling for the suspension of France’s mediation efforts in the Minsk Group. “The adoption of the bill harms the peace efforts in the South Caucasus, deteriorating the relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan,” Gul had said.
French Ambassador to Armenia Henri Reynaud said that the OSCE Minsk Group expects that the sides to the Karabakh conflict will agree on the basic principles of peaceful settlement of the conflict, the Ambassador stated. He also said that France’s expectations were highlighted on December 6 in Vilnius, where a five-sided declaration was adopted on Karabakh conflict settlement. It is high time to seek decisions, as there are no alternatives, he added.
This article says that Russia’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement in which it said that efforts towards achieving a negotiated settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict have been considered a top foreign policy priority for the ministry in 2011. “To support peace efforts on the post-Soviet territory Russian President Dmitry Medvedev held meetings between the Armenian and Azerbaijani Presidents Serzh Sargsyan and Ilham Aliyev in Kazan, enabling them to reach an agreement over several key issues concerning the Karabakh conflict settlement,” read the statement.
According to this article, Peter Kinev, a special advisor to Bulgaria’s president, said that the country’s position over the Karabakh conflict is in line with that of the EU which means that the conflict should be resolved based on international law. “In that issue our position coincides with that of the European Union. We would like the Karabakh conflict to be settled within the norms of international law, based on the territorial integrity of countries,” he was quoted as saying.
Thomas de Waal, Senior Associate at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, wrote in an article that three conflicts in the South Caucasus remain depressingly unresolved, including the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. According to him “in the Karabakh dispute, a national Azerbaijani narrative is taking shape in a new, wealthy, self-confident nation that is less inclined to make compromises with the Armenians,” while the Armenians present the “de-facto secession of Nagorno-Karabakh as a fact that has only to be ratified by history on the lines of Kosovo and South Sudan”. If the OSCE co-chairs mediating the Karabakh conflict are not in the business of “issuing soaring rhetoric about the value of peace, more senior officials from their governments should attempt the task,” he writes.
There is no military solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and, US Ambassador to Azerbaijan Matthew Bryza said, adding that the only way to resolve the conflict should be peaceful negotiations between the sides. “We always say there is no military solution to the conflict. The point is not the issue of Azerbaijani soldiers’ capability, the only way to resolve the conflict should be peaceful negotiations between the both sides,” Bryza said. The US diplomat further said he believes that progress in peace talks will resume when the presidents meet again.
This article says that Azerbaijani Foreign Minsiter Elmar Mammadyarov said that due to “Armenia’s destructive stance” the meetings of the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents in 2011 did not yield real results over the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement. “Progress in the talks’ process is possible only after the withdrawal of the Armenian troops,” said he, adding that it will accelerate the process of building trust between the parties. Mammadyarov also said that the present status quo is unacceptable which is also proved by the Deauville Statement.
This article says that Washington-based independent journalist Joshua Kuchera made a list of most likely wars in 2012 based on the opinions of several experts. The possible war between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno Karabakh tops the list. “This is exactly the area where a fresh war is the most likely in the coming ten years,” wrote he in his blog. Further, he wrote that though currently an attack by Azerbaijan is less likely, there is always likelihood that Baku may make wrong calculations or give way to provocations. However, further he says that the likelihood of a war in Karabakh in 2012 does not exceed 5 per cent.
This article says that Masis Mailyan, president of the foreign policy and security public council of Nagorno Karabakh, said that given real progress is impossible to achieve because of “old-fashioned approaches” of the OSCE Minsk Group, the main goal of all the players in the Karabakh conflict settlement was the “preservation of stability in the conflict zone”. He also said that in 2011 the sides managed to avoid a fresh confrontation, though they failed to withdraw the snipers and stop what he called “the sniper war. Mailyan also said that the de facto authorities in Nagorno Karabakh should undertake active counter-actions so that to “neutralize Azerbaijan’s military diplomacy”.
This article says that Azerbaijan’s Defense Minister Safar Abiyev discussed the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict with US Ambassador to Azerbaijan Mathew Bryza, as well as the current military-political situation in the South Caucasus. They also discussed relations between the US and Azerbaijan.
According to this article, head of the Russian Liberal-Democratic Party Vladimir Zhirinovsky said that Russia, Europe and US will gradually recognize “Armenians’ rights for their historic homeland, while Turkey has to reckon with it”. Zhirinovsky also said that he supports the international recognition of Nagorno-Karabakh. “Armenians continue a fair struggle for their rights,” he added.
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