Monthly Review - Tuesday, February 15, 2011 0:02 - 0 Comments
Digest of Armenian Media for Feb 1-14
by News Digest
PACE biased in Armenian-Azerbaijani relations – head of delegation (ENG)
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) demonstrates an apparent biased approach in the Armenian-Azerbaijani relations, the head of the Armenian delegation to PACE, David Harutyunyan said.
“The process is suspicious to us, and it’s yet unclear whether the committee can be impartial,” he said. “I would like to state on behalf of the Armenian delegation that we are unwilling to take part in activities that are non-constructive in nature,” Harutyunyan added.
Zaruhi Postanjyan of the opposition Heritage party said that the non-binding written declaration on Karabakh, which was adopted due to her initiative during the winter session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe from January 24-28, is a good start. Further, she said that currently 30 delegates have already signed under the declaration.
“It is mentioned with that declaration that Artsakh is building a democracy and is ready for recognition,” said she, adding that the declaration also pursues advocacy purposes.
PACE disgraced itself by resuming sub-committee on Karabakh – Armenian delegation leader (ENG)
By its recent decision to re-establish the sub-committee on Nagorno Karabakh, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) actually disgraced itself, said, David Harutyunyan, the head of the Armenian delegation to PACE.
“The Assembly disgraced itself by demonstrating an apparently biased attitude towards the Armenian-Azerbaijani relations,” he said, adding that despite his disappointment with the decision, he still had certain positive expectations from the Assembly’s stance on human rights issues.
Following the adoption of the non-binding declaration on Artsakh during the winter session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, which had been signed by 30 delegates of various countries, including French Senator Denis Badre, the European Movement of Artsakh sent a letter to Mr Badre, expressing its gratitude for his decision to sign the document. Further, the letter says that the today’s Europe was built also on the basis of people’s right to self-determination.
According to this article, Prof. Vladimir Zakharov, Director of the Institute for Political and Social Research of the Black Sea and Caspian region, said that Armenia should decide on the recognition of Nagorno-Karabakh’s independence.
“What is Armenia afraid of?” the asked, pointing out Russia, which recognized Abkhazia and South Ossetia despite the international “fuss”. Further, he said that Yerevan should recognize Karabakh “before the possible resumption of hostilities by Azerbaijan” as in this case, Armenia will have a legal right to provide military aid to Karabakh.
The international community will view any of Azerbaijan’s attempts to resume hostilities in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone as aggression, according to Russian expert Vladimir Zakharov, who does not believe in rumors about Azerbaijan’s plans to resume hostilities April or May 2011. “Aliyev himself is well aware that a military operation is inadvisable,” Zakharov said, adding talks about a final settlement to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict are too early.
According to this article, Zaruhi Postanjyan, a member of the Armenian delegation to Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), said that the re-establishment of the PACE sub-committee on Nagorno Karabakh, was the result of the Armenian delegation’s poor work. “Chavushoglu abused his position and influence. The subcommittee was set up on Chavushoglu’s initiative and he succeeded in achieving his aims,” she noted.
The Armenian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has not yet decided on its involvement in the PACE sub-committee on Nagorno Karabakh, the head of the Armenian delegation to PACE David Harutyunyan said, adding that it will bring no progress to the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process and reversely thwart it. Further, he said he believed that the subcommittee will serve as a platform for recriminations. “Our task is to establish peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The sub-committee, however, rules it out,” he said.
American diplomat says fair settlement of Karabakh conflict a priority ENG
The newly-appointed US Ambassador to Azerbaijan and a former co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, Matthew Bryza, recently delivered a speech in Azerbaijan, saying that he attaches a major importance to the fair settlement of the Karabakh conflict.
“The fair settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict is a priority for me,” the American diplomat said.
PACE sub-committee will hinder OSCE’s works – political analyst (ARM)
According to this article, political analyst Alexander Markarov said that the re-establishment of the sub-committee on Karabakh at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) will hinder the efforts by the OSCE aimed at the settlement of the Karabakh conflict.
“Presumably there will be Azerbaijani and Armenian MPs working there [in the sub-committee], and there will be also a presiding chairman, who will pay visits to the region. Meetings will be appointed, which will probably not take place, as the Armenian delegation is going to boycott it,” said he, adding that only format for the resolution of the Karabakh conflict is the OSCE Minsk Group.
“If Artsakh is being made a 3rd party, that doesn’t mean all issues are solved at once” (ARM)
According to Armenian political analyst Yervand Bozoyan, Armenia would have more room to maneuver, had Nagorno Karabakh been actively involved in the peace process. However, according to him, when Karabakh was a party in the talks there were problems that time too, as the mediators were trying to separate the approaches of Karabakh and Armenia and in that way find some discrepancies in them, given the Republic of Armenia is a recognized entity of the international law, which cannot be said about Karabakh. Further, he said that exclusion of Karabakh from the negotiations should be considered a matter of form of the talks, but rather that of content.
OSCE supports the efforts of the Minsk Group Co-Chairs to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and promote confidence building between the parties to the conflict, said Audronius Azubalis, the Lithuanian Foreign Minister and the OSCE Chairman-in-Office.
“In this context, we support Russia’s efforts aimed at making progress towards a negotiated settlement,” he said.
Authorities to blame for decision to create sub-committee on Karabakh – Armenian National Congress (ENG)
According to this article, the opposition Armenian National Congress (ANC) said in a statement that it is the Armenian authorities to blame for the re-establishment of the sub-committee on Karabakh at the PACE.
”In reality, failures in the Karabakh conflict settlement and in foreign policies are hidden in the very nature of the regime and its political priorities. A major issue in this sense is the legitimization of the illegitimate regime, a problem that has a history of more than a decade,” read the statement.
Co-Chair countries are ‘discontent’ with re-establishment of sub-committee on Karabakh (ENG)
The representatives of the OSCE countries at the Council of Europe, according to this article, expressed discontent over the re-establishment of the sub-committee on Karabakh. The CoE officials mentioned that it is the PACE Bureau to be held responsible of the negative consequences that the sub-committee will cause due to its activities. They also urged on the PACE Bureau to show respect for the nature of the talks process and its format.
According to this article, political analyst and the director of the Caucasus Institute Alexander Iskandaryan said that it would not be correct to boycott the activities of the sub-committee on Karabakh at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. He also said that boycotting in general is not a good thing to do, and that the Armenian delegation should continue its work despite the circumstances. Further, Iskandaryan reminded that the sub-committee had not been closed or neutralized: it had stopped its activities simply because it chairman had passed away.
The article says that following the meeting of Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev and the President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, in Baku, the website of Azerbaijan’s president published the text of Barroso’s speech, according to which, Barroso said that the Commission gives the preference to the principle of territorial integrity when it comes to the Karabakh issue. Further, it reminds that that information was denied. It also says that later the European Commission published the text of Barroso’s speech where there is no mention of territorial integrity.
The article says that “Interrupted Song” – the film that refers to the Armenian-Azerbaijani relations – will be shown at the end of May. It also reminds that the film is being shot by a group of Moscow-based youth headed by Arik Manukyan and Ashot Poghosyan.
Ashot Poghosyan said that at first they did not care about the budget, and spent about $10,000 from their own money, but following the scandal involving the Azerbaijan actor, some investor grew interested in the project.
Lernik Aleksanyan, a member of the Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) parliamentary faction, said that the works of the PACE sub-committee on Nagorno Karabakh should not be boycotted as there is no point in boycotting the subcommittee unless it impedes the subcommittee’s work. A boycott, according to him can be effective, if declared by a great power. Since the committee has resumed its activities, Armenia had better be involved in it and try to present its approaches as subcommittee member.
The re-establishment of the PACE sub-committee on Nagorno Karabakh is PACE President Mevlut Chavushoglu’s victory, an expert in Turkic studies Artak Shakaryan said. According to him, it will be good if a boycott by the Armenian delegation at CoE Parliamentary Assembly helps to dissolve the subcommittee on Karabakh. If it continues its activities, whether we like it or not, we have to join the game, he explained.
According to this article, Ashot Grigoryan, the president of the Armenian Unions of Europe said that currently they are trying to have the first resolution on Karabakh’s independence adopted by what he called the “weak circle” of Europe, without elaborating which countries exactly he means. He only said that in some countries the Union is making efforts for the purpose, and is doing it quite successfully.
Pakistani ambassador to Azerbaijan compares Nagorno Karabakh to Kashmir (ENG)
Pakistan’s Ambassador to Azerbaijan Abdul Hamid said at press conference in Baku that Azerbaijan and Pakistan are facing similar problems as long as the Nagorno-Karabakh and Kashmir conflicts are concerned.
“These problems are the occupation of our territories by other countries, the abuse of human rights and non-fulfilment of UN Security Council resolutions,” he said, adding that “there are great parallels and similarities between the Kashmir and Nagorno-Karabakh conflicts”.
Armenia must boycott PACE decision on Karabakh subcommittee: Alaverdyan (ENG)
MP of the opposition Heritage party Larisa Alaverdyan said that the decision by the Parliamentary Assembly to the Council of Europe (PACE) to resume the works of the subcommittee on Nagorno-Karabakh is a violation of protocol. She also called the move as unprecedented, referring to the activities of the OSCE Minsk Group. Further, Alaverdyan noted the decision is a “result of policy based on lies by Azerbaijan,” noting that, in this sense, the delegates from Azerbaijan are “very active.”
Subcommittee on Karabakh failure of Armenian diplomacy, ARFD member says (ENG)
Decision of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) to resume the work of the subcommittee on Karabakh is a failure of the Armenian diplomacy, said Hrayr Karapetyan, member of the ARF Dashnaktsutyun. According to him, subcommittee’s work will hinder the activities of the OSCE Minsk Group, as PACE’s Chairman Mevlut Chavushoglu, Turk by origin, will lobby for pro-Azerbaijani documents. “The reason is that the Armenian side failed to suppress anti-Armenian actions of Chavushoglu. The Armenian foreign ministry has not responded adequately to Chavushoglu’s anti-Armenian statements” he said.
If the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs were discontent with the re-formation of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) subcommittee on Nagorno-Karabakh, they should have voiced their concerns in PACE and hinder the re-establishment of the subcommittee, former Armenian Foreign Minister Alexander Arzumanyan said. “I feel some kind of pharisaism here,” Arzumanyan said.
‘Accidental war’ threat mounts in Armenia, Azerbaijan – ICG (ENG)
The article makes a reference to a recent report by the International Crisis Group on relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan. According to the report, an arms race, escalating front-line clashes, vitriolic war rhetoric and a virtual breakdown in peace talks are increasing the chance Armenia and Azerbaijan will go back to war over Nagorno-Karabakh and that preventing this is urgent. It also said, that “increased military capabilities on both sides would make a new armed conflict in the South Caucasus far more deadly than the 1992-1994 one that ended with a shaky truce.
“Neither side would be likely to win easily or quickly. Regional alliances could pull in Russia, Turkey and Iran. Vital oil and gas pipelines near the front lines would be threatened, as would the cooperation between Russia and Turkey that is central to regional stability,” read the report.
The OSCE will not concede the initiative of the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict to any other organization, Turkologist Hakob Chakryan said, adding that it will not allow Turkey to be involved in the settlement of the Karabakh conflict either. “The Minsk group will not allow Turkey or any other country to intervene … The world powers aren’t in the habit of conceding their initiatives,” Chakryan said, adding that Currently, they are competing for influence in the South Caucasus, but don’t event want others to take initiatives and intervene in the region.
War unlikely to resume in Karabakh – Iranian ambassador (ENG)
The war in Nagorno Karabakh is very unlikely to resume, according to the Iranian Ambassador to Armenia Sayad Ali Saghaian. Addressing the Karabakh conflict at a news conference, the ambassador said there are no real threats or prerequisites for the resumption of the military operations in Karabakh.
“International experts put an equal sign between the principles of territorial integrity and peoples’ right to self-determination. But when it comes to human rights, I think it should take precedence over everything else. It is not something to be ignored. People should be given the right to master their own fate. It was this right that enabled the people in South Sudan to take part in a referendum and vote for independence,” he added.
Armenia has some omissions when it comes to the Karabakh conflict, said the head of the analytical centre Akunq, Ruben Hakobyan. According to him, Armenia should implement a policy of populating what he called the “liberated territories”. Otherwise, according to him, the status quo makes no sense.
“Unfortunately, the status quo is making no sense, if we aren’t re-settling the liberated territories. And not only we are not re-settling them, but to some extent there is emigration [from there],” said he, meaning the movement of officials from Karabakh to Armenia.
Karabakh Foreign Ministry slams Brussels event that tells Azerbaijani side of story only (ENG)
According to the article, the Foreign Minister of the unrecognized Republic of Nagorno Karabakh, Georgy Petrosyan, sent messages to the Vice-Speaker of the European Parliament, Coordinator of the Human Rights Committee Laszlo Tokes and Human Rights Without Frontiers NGO in connection with the event titled “Internally Displaced Persons in Azerbaijan: from Khojalu (Nagorno-Karabakh) to Baku” scheduled for February 9, 2011, Brussels.
“We protest against such one-sided events, where an attempt is made to present only one side of the story to please the authorities of the state that spares no efforts to use the Khojalu tragedy as a propaganda tool for the sake of its political gains …,” read the message.
Sargsyan discussed Karabakh conflict with OSCE co-chairs (ENG)
The article says that Armenia’s President Serzh Sargsyan received Wednesday the Co-Chairpersons of the OSCE Minsk Group Robert and discussed with them issues related to the current phase of the peace talks around Nagorno Karabakh. It also says that earlier the co-chairpersons had been received by Armenia’s Foreign Minsiter Edward Nalbandyan and had highlighted the importance of the five-party declaration over Karabakh adopted in the OSCE Summit in Astana, Kazakhstan, on December 1, 2010.
Armenian Armed Forces prepare large-scale anti-sniper operations (ENG)
According to this article, the armed forces of Armenia have launched large-scale anti-sniper trainings. The decision is presumably conditioned by the Azerbaijani-launched intensive sniper attacks on the Line of Contact. Further, it says that the Defense Ministry of Azerbaijan has reportedly acquired a large quantity of sniper guns and is organizing sniper trainings with the assistance of foreign contractors.
Armenia-Azerbaijan dialogue must be developed between local authorities: Yeritsyan (ENG)
The parties in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict must work harder to establish a dialogue between local authorities, the head of the Armenian delegation to the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities Emin Yeritsyan said.
“Such a dialogue already exists at the level of NGOs and it is necessary to develop this into a dialogue between local authorities … Our people have already seen war and do not want a repeat conflict,” he said.
OSCE Minsk Group is doing its task well – analyst (ENG)
According to this article, political analyst Alexander Iskandaryan said that the OSCE Minsk Group is tasked with two things when it comes to the Karabakh conflict and it is doing them well. In his words, those tasks are preserving the peace talks between the conflicting parties and bringing the process to the international level. However, he said it would be naïve to expect the OSCE MG to solve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict for the parties involved.
“I have said for thousands of times that it would be naïve of us to expect that the OSCE Mink Group would solve the Nagorno-Karabakh instead of us,” he explained.
EU engagement in South Caucasus must continue to be visible, strong and consistent – Semneby
The EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus, Peter Semneby, called for strengthened EU and OSCE engagement in the South, adding that the “unresolved conflicts in the South Caucasus continue to represent the primary threats to the region’s stability. Semneby also said that the security situation in Nagorno-Karabakh was of particular concern.
“International actors need to remain fully committed in efforts to stabilize, manage and resolve the conflicts. In particular this includes a strong engagement of the OSCE throughout the region.”
No spontaneous war to break out in region – former politician (ENG)
The possibility of a spontaneous war in Nagorno Karabakh is ruled out, former politician Ashot Manucharyan said, referring to the International Crisis Group’s (ICG) recent report on the Nagorno Karabakh conflict. He also said that a war may break out in the region only if the sponsors of the ICG make such a decision, adding that the group’s interests are biased.
“I don’t see anything impartial about the activities. Such forces and their funding sources are to blame for the continuing hostilities between nations,” he stressed.
Facts contradict with conclusions in ICG report – expert (ENG)
There is an apparent contradiction between the facts and conclusions in the International Crisis Group’s (ICG) recent report on Karabakh conflict, Armenian expert Alexander Iskandaryan said. Iskandaryan said that he was under the impression the authors of the report had initially sought to justify the possibility of war resumption. “The facts are not complete but are rather informative,” he said. Further, he said he ruled out the possibility of a spontaneous war, adding that both Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh have regular armies with their leaders, whereas spontaneous wars break out in situations where armed forces in either side find themselves beyond any control.
Seyran Ohanyan expressed concerns to the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs (ARM)
According to this article, the Armenian Defense Minister, Seyran Ohanyan, received the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs and presented to them the current situation in the Karabakh conflict zone and stressed the Armenia is strictly committed to the ceasefire regime. The minister expressed his concern about the violations of the armistice by the Azerbaijani side, particularly the intensification of sniper activities.
Who asked for military aid from Israel – Baku or Yerevan? Iran could recognize Karabakh (ENG)
This articles makes a reference to Yevgeny Satanovsky, the President Russian-based Institute of Middle East Studies, who said that Iran is a very flexible state and if need be it can recognize Nagorno Karabakh, and that it will do that without considering Baku’s position.
“Of course, it’s clear that the remarks by the Iranian Ambassador to Armenia were calculated for an Armenian audience. Likewise, it is also clear that at any moment, this statement can stop being just a statement,” explained the expert.
This article says that following a visit to Yerevan, the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs did not visit Nagorno-Karabakh due to bad weather conditions. The OSCE mediators were to visit Stepanakert following their meetings with Armenian president and foreign minister.
Expert assessments should be based on Minsk Group’s opinion – Armenian FM (ENG)
Commenting on the International Crisis Group’s recent report on Karabakh, Armenian Foreign Minsiter Edward Nalbandyan said that “any expert conclusion regarding the Nagorno Karabakh conflict should be based on the opinion of the OSCE Minsk Group”. He also characterized the document as an expert opinion which may not always reflect the real situation, therefore, according to him, before publicizing an expert opinion, it is necessary to take into consideration the existing situation to avoid adding fat to fire.
Former Foreign Minister of the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh Arman Melikyan said that it is time for the co-chairs of the Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to convey some “freshness” in what they are saying and doing. “It’s already the sixth year round the co-chairs are saying approximately the same thing with this way or another,” said Melikyan. “It is probably high time for them to bring some freshness in their actions and words, at last to pay more attention to the real political logic and the exact evaluation of the situation, rather than to their project which are not realizable,” said Melikyan.
Armenia and Azerbaijan should prepare document beneficial for both parties: Alexander Markarov (ARM)
Political analyst Alexander Markarov, according to this article, hailed the OSCE co-chairs’ recent visit to Yerevan and Baku. According to him, this once again reaffirmed that it is the OSCE that mediates the peace talks over the Karabakh conflict. Further, he said that it is necessary for Armenia and Azerbaijan to design a fundamental document that will make reference to those provisions over which the parties have already reached some preliminary agreement.
Arman Melikyan: Armenia and Karabakh don’t have comprehensive policy (ARM)
According to the article, Former Foreign Minsiter of the unrecognized Republic of Nagorno Karabakh, Arman Melikyan, said that Armenia does not have a “comprehensive, joint policy” when it comes to the events in Sumgait and to the Karabakh conflict. According to him, Armenia is using state funds to shoot a film about the events in Sumgait, but that does not have any continuation, and therefore does not make part of the state policy. Such steps, according to him, downplay the importance of the issue, while shooting such films becomes simply wasting state funds. Reversely, according to him, Azerbaijan has made the propaganda part of its policy.
Azerbaijan is more interested in discussions over the Karabakh conflict in other formats rather than progress in talks within the OSCE Minks Group, Armenian Foreign Minister said, commenting on sub-committee on Karabakh in PACE. He also said that Azerbaijan is trying to shift domestic propaganda to the international arena, to make a fuss over the conflict instead of being engaged in its resolution, Nalbandyan added.
“First of all opinion of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs should be taken into account, as they are familiar with evolution of the peace process and current situation,” Edward Nalbandyan said.
According to this article, MP for the opposition Armenian party Heritage Larisa Alaverdyan said that the report of the International Crisis Group on Nagorno-Karabakh is at least strange, and it the failure of Armenia’s passive and antinational diplomacy.
“Yerevan should realize the international community takes silence as a sign of agreement. It is time to refuse such tactics,” she said.
‘Azerbaijan preparing for Karabakh war,’ says Defense Minister (ENG)
According to this article, Azerbaijan’s Defense Minsiter Safar Abiyev said that the country is seriously preparing for war with Armenia over Nagorno Karabakh. He also said that Armenia must end its “occupation policy” in Karabakh.
“Azerbaijan is seriously preparing to liberate its territories … Only in this context is a peaceful settlement of the conflict possible,” he was quoted as saying.
This article says that a draft resolution on peaceful resolution of the Karabakh conflict was registered in Lithuanian Parliament signed by 48 MPs. The parliamentary spokesperson Jolanta Anskaitienė said if a resolution or any legal document is signed by 47 MPs (1/3 of parliament members), it is considered by the Seimas at the request of draft bill’s initiators. “It means the draft resolution is likely to be considered during the spring session which opens on March 10. Everything depends on the initiators of the project,” she said.
The article makes a reference to a publication by Eurasia.net, according to which Azerbaijani Defense Minsiter Safar Abiyev said that Azerbaijan is in serious preparations for war against Armenia over Nagorno Karabakh. However, the article said that Azerbaijan will be more vulnerable, should a new war be unleashed, because their homes will be closer to the Line of Contact with Karabakh, while the majority of settlements in Karabakh far from the Line of Contact with Azerbaijan.
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