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Digest of Armenian Media for Feb 14-28
by News Digest
Nalbandyan and Karasin discussed Karabakh conflict
According to the article, Armenian Foreign Minsiter Edward Nalbandyan discussed issues related to the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict with the Deputy Russian Foreign Minsiter Grigori Karasin at a meeting in Yerevan. It also says that the two diplomats reviewed the implementation of recent agreements reached by Yerevan and Moscow, one of which, signed during Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s August 2010 visit to Armenia, is meant to deepen the already close military ties between the two nations.
New war in Karabakh to jeopardize Russian-Turkish ties– Ankara issues warning (ENG)
The article says that the Director of the Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MIT) Hakan Fidan held a meeting with the Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev and national security minister, Eldar Mahmudov and discussed the Nagorno Karabakh issue among other things. Citing unnamed sources Turkish newspaper Takvim, however, writes that Fidan conveyed the message of Turkey’s president and prime minister to Ilham Aliyev.
“Fidan said at the meetings that an Armenian-Azerbaijani war may pose threat to the energy carriers extending across the region, as well as jeopardize the Russian-Turkish cooperation which is of key importance for the region,” the paper quoted the source as saying.
Political analyst Gagik Harutyunyan said that the OSCE Minsk Group has realized that it should take small but real steps. “I think that the Minsk group has realized that it should take small but real steps. The Minsk Group seems to have realized that wrong is the process, according to which the Madrid Principles are perceived in Azerbaijan that our liberated territories are being given to them, while they can further decide whether or not give Karabakh self-determination.”
According to the article, James Appathurai, the Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia of NATO’s Secretary General, said that the organization does not consider its involvement in the settlement of the Karabakh conflict. According to him, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization does not see its role in the resolution in the Karabakh conflict, though it is concerned about the current peace process between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Naira Zohrabyan, a member of the Armenian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, sent a letter to the OSCE French Co-Chair Bernard Fassier. In the letter, she referred to the re-launching of the PACE subcommittee on Karabakh, adding that the OSCE co-chairs themselves have for several times made it clear that any format for the settlement of the Karabakh conflict other than the OSCE is simply unacceptable. Further, she said that the previous sub-committee on Karabakh proved that it could not do anything effective. She also called on Fassier to come up with explanations as to why France’s representative at the PACE Bureau did not support OSCE’s viewpoints over Karabakh.
“Dear co-chair, these are issues in need of clear explanation,” read the letter.
Head of Noravank foundation Gagik Harutyunyan said that a small-but-concrete-steps approach is being applied to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict resolution. According to him, along with its omissions the OSCE Minsk Group is the most effective body in resolving the Karabakh conflict at the moment. The sides reached an agreement on the exchange of war prisoners and dead bodies. Later, talks on withdrawal of snipers are likely to be conducted, he noted.
Armenia is not taking advantage of Azerbaijan’s mistakes over Karabakh – analyst (ENG)
According to this article, political analyst David Shahnazaryan said that Armenia is not taking advantage of the mistakes Azerbaijan is making when it comes to the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. He also said that the peace talks over Nagorno Karabakh are not taking place within the OSCE Minsk Group, as it is generally said, but rather within the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the UN Security Council and other international arenas.
”The Azerbaijani authorities have made numerous mistakes, proving that the negotiation process is simply a matter of territorial integrity for them, and they have put themselves in an extremely serious situation by constantly speaking about the military resolution of the [Karabakh] conflict,” said he.
Growing tensions over Karabakh are worrisome – OSCE Chairman-in-Office (ENG)
Speaking about the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict at UN Security Council meeting, the OSCE Chairman-in-Office and Lithuanian Foreign Minister Audronius Azubalis that the growing tensions on the ground over Nagorno-Karabakh are worrisome. “The OSCE role in pursuing a settlement of this prolonged conflict through greater engagement by the co-chairs of the Minsk Group will be maintained. I will invite the conflict parties to implement confidence-building measures, including immediate withdrawal of snipers from the Line of Contact, and strengthening OSCE monitoring activities,” said he.
According to the article, specialist of Iranian Studies, Mher Baghdasaryan, said that Iran is at least the only country in the region for which the preservation of the status quo in Nagorno Karabakh is beneficial. In his words, Iran sees Azerbaijan as a competitor in the region, besides, Baku also has territorial claims towards Tehran therefore it is natural that the preservation of the current status of Nagorno Karabakh and its independence in the future is beneficial for Iran.
“Declaration of Artsakh’s Recognition means the defeat of the entire Azerbaijan diplomacy which can result even in revolution,” said he, adding in that case Iran will have a chance to increase its influence there.
OSCE Chair to ask Armenia, Azerbaijan to withdraw snipers from Line of Contact immediately (ENG)
Addressing a UN Security Council meeting, the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Audronius Azubalis, outlined the goals of the country’s 2011 OSCE Chairmanship and highlighted common challenges faced by the OSCE and UN. He also said that as the OSCE chairperson-in-office he will “invite the conflicting parties to implement confidence-building measures, including immediate withdrawal of snipers from the Line of Contact.
“I will invite the conflicting parties to implement confidence-building measures, including immediate withdrawal of snipers from the Line of Contact, and strengthening OSCE monitoring activities,” said he.
According to this article, the American-Armenians are discontent over US President Barack Obama’s decision to allot less aid in military and education programs to Armenia ($3,450,000 million) compared to Azerbaijan ($3,900,000 million). They are concerned that the misbalance in this aid can jeopardize the process of the settlement of the Karabakh conflict.
“The President’s proposal to break the balance of the military aid to Azerbaijan’s benefit may put threat to the process of the peaceful resolution of the Karabakh conflict,” the Executive Director of the Armenia National Committee of America Aram Hamparian said.
Azerbaijani troops launch subversive attack on contact line (ENG)
According to the article, the Azerbaijani Armed Forces launched a subversive attack on the Line of Contact line between Nagorno Karabakh and Azerbaijan. The attack, which occurred at 8:30 pm on Friday in the north-eastern section of the line, saw a strong counteraction by the front troops of the Karabakhi army, and the attack group had to escape. The Azerbaijani soldiers who served in a special detachment have reportedly suffered losses. The Armenian troops did not have any losses.
The article says that at a meeting with the US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and senior members of the US administration in Helsinki, the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Audronius Azubalis underlined Lithuania‘s commitment to promoting OSCE principles, searching for resolution of the protracted conflicts in the OSCE area – including the Karabakh and the Transdnestrian conflicts – supporting freedom of the media, building and maintaining trust and confidence, and promoting energy security. He also said that greater engagement by the Co-Chairs of the Minsk Group will also be required to reduce the growing tensions on the ground in and around Nagorno-Karabakh.
The article says that Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said in an interview with the Mir TV that no progress will be reached in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, if unacceptable requirements are presented to Baku. “Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity, including Nagorno Karabakh, has been recognized by all the states and the international community … If the Armenian side adopts a constructive approach, i.e. that the independence Nagorno Karabakh is impossible, then we will be able to more forward,” said Aliyev. The article also says that Deputy Armenian Foreign Minsiter Shavarsh Kocharyan said in an interview with the same TV on the same day, that Aliyev’s statements are aimed at failing the peace process and forging the essence of the issue.
According to this article, the newly appointed US Ambassador to Azerbaijan, Matthew Bryza said that the next official meeting between the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents will take place in the Russian town of Sochi on March 5. He also said that the meeting will also be attended by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.
“We must use our best efforts to avoid the renewal of the war. We must take into consideration the adopted principles which include peaceful conflict settlement, territorial integrity and people’s right to self- determination,” he said.
The article says that the Foreign Ministry of the unrecognized Republic of Nagorno Karabakh has issued a statement, expressing concerns over the International Crisis Group’s recent report on Karabakh conflict. The ministry particularly said that by reading the report one automatically comes to the conclusion that it was written exclusively for convincing Armenia to ‘soften’ its positions on the negotiation process, particularly, the final status of Nagorno Karabakh.
“Another matter is the fairness of the report, which is written thousands of kilometres away from Nagorno Karabakh, and the authors of the document have never visited the country…,” read the statement.
The article says that on their official websites some foreign offices advise against visiting some regions of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh because of permanent shootings by the Azerbaijani side despite the international community’s pressure. It also says that the foreign offices of Hungary, Italy and Spain have had this information on their official websites for many years, while Azerbaijan has attempted to interpret it as its great diplomatic achievement. The article further comments that it is at least strange as many countries do not advise their citizens to visit certain places even in developed European countries.
The article says that the newly-appointed US Ambassador to Azerbaijan Mathew Bryza said at a briefing in Baku that he will do his best to assist the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs.
“I will make every effort to assist Ambassador Robert Bradtke and the other Minsk Group co-chairs who are helping the parties to find a compromise, a fair and permanent to the conflict,” said he, adding that the settlement of the Karabakh conflict should be in line with the three main principles of the Helsinki Act.
Artsakh president and Armenian defense minister discussed military cooperation (ENG)
The article says that Bako Sahakyan, the President of the unrecognized Republic of Karabakh, received Armenia’s Defense Minsiter Seyran Ohanyan and his first deputy Davit Tonoyan. The parties discussed issues related to cooperation between Armenian and Artsakh in defense sector, as well as the situation on the Line of Contact between Artsakh and Azerbaijan.
According to this article, Polish Ambassador to Azerbaijan Mikhail Labenda said that war is unacceptable when it comes to the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. “War is not a solution to the conflict. All ways except for peaceful resolution to the conflict should be ruled out. I hope the historical justice will be restored due to efforts of Armenia and Azerbaijan, international community and OSCE Minsk Group,” Labenda emphasized.
The newly-appointed US Ambassador to Azerbaijan Matthew Bryza said at a televised interview that the OSCE Minsk Group cannot decide instead of the parties to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. According to him, official Washington is for Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity. On his part, Ambassador Bryza is ready to contribute to a fair settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. However, he stressed that the Karabakh peace process is not the priority of his diplomatic mission.
Nagorno Karabakh Office in US criticizes book misrepresenting facts about Karabakh war (ENG)
The article says that the Office of the unrecognized Republic of Nagorno Karabakh in US has released a statement voicing criticism over a book on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and by Heiko Krueger from Germany. The authors of the statement criticize the book which they say “misrepresents the well-documented facts as well as prejudiced reading of norms and principals of international law”. They also said that to the disappointment of the audience, Mr. Krueger’s work appeared to be what they called “a rather primitive example of Azerbaijan’s state propaganda targeting the Nagorno Karabakh Republic and Armenia”.
Sub-committee on Nagorno Karabakh affairs is not a Turkish project – Chavushoglu
The PACE sub-committee on Nagorno Karabakh affairs is not a Turkish project, said Mevlut Chavushoglu, the president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), adding that all allegations that the sub-committee is a Turkish project are untrue.
“The media and some of our partners in Armenia claim it is a Turkish project. I even announced in Yerevan that there was no need to cheat the Armenians. Why do they tell lies? If, instead of me, the committee president were an Armenian he’d have to bring the issue to the agenda because there was no other alternative. The sub-committee was set up based on objective criteria, in accordance with the Council of Europe’s decisions and standards. And no Turkish national is involved in the process,” Chavushoglu said.
The article says that Robert Avetisyan, the permanent representative of the unrecognized Republic of Nagorno Karabakh in US, delivered a lecture over the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict at the Institute of Conflict Analysis and Resolution at Washington’s George Mason University. Avetisyan said during the lecture that Karabakh is open for constructive dialogue with Azerbaijan, expressing hope that “Azerbaijani leadership will eventually adopt a constructive approach” over the conflict which make it possible to settle the issue.
James Clapper, the Director of US National Intelligence said that the unresolved conflicts of the Caucasus and the fragility of some of the Central Asian states provide the most likely flashpoints in the Eurasia region. Clapper noted the frozen Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is also a potential flashpoint. “… Heightened rhetoric and distrust on both sides and violent incidents along the Line of Contact throughout last summer increase the risk that minor military exchanges could lead to miscalculations that could escalate the situation with little warning,” he said.
Nagorno Karabakh should join peace talks – Dashnak member (ENG)
Nagorno Karabakh’s recent activeness in the peaceful conflict settlement process is aimed at preventing a possible war, Kiro Manoyan, a senior Dashnaktsutyun party official said. “There is a very little likelihood of war, but even unpredicted developments may result in an armed conflict,” Kiro Manoyan told a news conference, calling on Armenia to take a “firm stance” and urge that Karabakh join the peace talks.
The article says that Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute has launched a website (www.baku.am) dedicated to the Armenian community in Baku. The website, which will be introduced to the readership in Yerevan, presents a unique trilingual web resource, covering the social, political, cultural and business life of the Armenian community in Baku. Hundreds of photographs, illustrations and post cards demonstrate the history of Armenian families, Armenian buildings, and Armenian press issued in Baku, publishing, advertisements and generally the history of Armenian cultural existence in Baku.
The Armenian side always raises the issue on Karabakh’s direct involvement in the Karabakh peace process, Armenian Defense Minister Seyran Ohanyan said at a meeting at Yerevan State University, adding that Karabakh joins the negotiations in the last stage of the peace process; the talks are likely to get a fresh start.
“Representatives of international organizations also stress the necessity for Karabakh’s full-fledged involvement in the negotiation process,” Ohanyan said.
The lack of progress on conflicts in the OSCE area at the Astana summit in December last year will be an extra stimulus to the active work of the Lithuanian chairmanship of the organization, Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office for Protracted Conflicts Giedrius Cekuolis said upon his visit to Baku.
“Political will is not enough, and we hope to wake up this will. The Minsk Group is capable of it,” he said. “My main goal during this visit is to attentively study the views of the parties, both in Baku and Yerevan. You [the conflicting parties] are the best experts in the glow conflict. Ways to resolve the conflict may be developed with the political will, your knowledge, and the help of the OSCE,” he added.
WikiLeaks: Azerbaijan cannot capture Karabakh (ENG)
According to the article, former US Ambassador to Azerbaijan, Anne Derse said in a leaked US secret cable that “Azerbaijan, even with its focus on improving its military capability, is unlikely anytime soon to structure a force large or well-equipped enough to overcome the terrain advantages enjoyed by the NK Self-Defense Force and the Armenian army”. The cable, dated July 2, 2009, contains US diplomats’ comments on the Azerbaijani president’s rhetoric and their analysis on the country’s potentials to settle the conflict in Nagorno Karabakh.
The article says that US Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg and US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Philip Gordon were received by Armenia’s President Serzh Sargsyan and Foreign Minsiter Edward Nalbandyan and among other things, such regional security issues, discussed also the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The two-high ranking US diplomats are expected to visit also the top leadership in Georgia and Azerbaijan.
Armenia should recognize legally that pogroms in Azerbaijan constituted Genocide – MP (ENG)
According to this article, Larisa Alaverdyan of the opposition Armenian party Heritage said that pogroms against in Armenians in Azerbaijan “should be recognized as an act of Genocide under the Armenian legislation”.
“The present-day Azerbaijani leadership honours man-slayers as heroes. This is already a proof that the 1988 mass killings were dictated by the country’s state policy; they did not constitute violence perpetrated by some groups of drug addicts,” she said.
According to the articles, the Deputy US Secretary of State James Steinberg said in Baku Washington is interested in the quickest resolution of the Karabakh conflict based on the international law and the Helsinki Principles. He also said that the US hopes that there will be certain progress in the settlement of the conflict.
“We hope for certain progress in resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. We think that both countries are interested in promoting this issue. I plan to learn the opinion of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev how we can move this process forward by common effort,” he said.
Former OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair Vladimir Kazimirov said that Azerbaijan is unlikely to resume hostilities, while numerous statements of Azerbaijani politicians are mere military rhetoric and undermine international norms. He also said that there should not be any response to Azerbaijan’s military rhetoric.
“The world community led by the OSCE should decide on the issue, as numerous threats to resume war voiced by the Azerbaijani administration undermine international legal norms and hinder peaceful resolution of the conflict,” he said.
The outgoing EU Special Envoy for the South Caucasus Peter Semneby said the EU will continue active participation in all the regional processes, including the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh, which, he said is becoming more and more serious issue for the Union. He also said that the EU would devote more attention to the process and would seek ways to support the efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group. Semneby, however, stressed that one cannot rule out resumption of hostilities in the conflict zone.
EU envoy warns of Karabakh escalation (ENG)
EU Special Envoy to South Caucasus, Peter Semneby, according to this article, expressed concern at a discussion with Armenia’s President Serzh Sargsyan about an “intensifying arms race between Armenia and Azerbaijan” and warned that deadly skirmishes in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict could escalate into more serious fighting.
“The ongoing arms race in the region can only have a destabilizing impact. This is something that we are seriously worried about. We have seen a lot of incidents over the course of last year … I’m not talking about deliberate actions but we can not exclude that any of these incidents at some point escalates beyond control,” Semneby said.
Steinberg’s response (ARM)
The article says that Deputy US Secretary of State James Steinberg said at a TV program in Armenia that wrong is the view that Russia has taken the upper hand over Europe and US when it comes to the mediating efforts over the settlement of the Karabakh conflict. Further, the article comments that by that statement Stenberg, in fact, hinted two things: first that there will be breakthrough at the trilateral meeting of the Armenian, Azerbaijani and Russian presidents in Sochi on March 5, and secondly, that Steinberg’ statement comes as response to a claim by Armenia’s first president and oppositionist Levon Ter-Petrosyan, who said that the key to the Karabakh conflict is at the hand of Russia.
According to this article at a seminar-discussion titled “From the Artsakhi Kingdom to Republic” Andreas Ghukasyan, a specialist of international law, said that the defects of all the format of the settlement of the Karabakh conflict is that they all leave out the principle of human rights. In his opinion, Nagorno Karabakh can play a big role in changing this current peace process.
“If Artsakh waits in silence for Armenia and Azerbaijan to sign a document, then the situation may become irreversible, the NK’s silence may be considered as a sign of consent,” said he, adding that the Karabakh conflict needs a new concept.
The articles says that Armenia’s Defense Ministry still refrains from making any comments on a deal that saw the Russian company Rostvertol sell 24 “Mi-35M” fighting helicopters to Azerbaijan. It also says that David Babayan, the Spokesperson of the president of the unrecognized Republic of Nagorno Karabakh, said that the fact the news about this deal emerged on the day when the Armenian and Russian presidents met in Saint Petersburg on February 25 was just a coincidence, rather than a specific message addressed to Armenia.
Former USSR leader Mikhail Gorbachev said that Vladimir Lenin and Josef Stalin are the cause of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. “Their policy of national-territorial division of the country was utterly wrong, which finally caused the USSR`s collapse,” Gorbachev said. Further, he justified his orders on introduction of troops to a number of regions with the tragedies in Fergana in 1989 and Baku in 1990. “The entire Caucasus – Armenia, Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan – was ablaze. Mechanism of seceding from the state was on there.”
NATO Pressures Azerbaijan through Karabakh: Analyst (ENG)
According to the article, expert Mikhail Alexandrov said that standing behind Azerbaijan’s latest threats to Nagorno-Karabakh is NATO, adding that threats by Azerbaijan are simply a way of pressuring Armenia. “Behind this is the West, particularly NATO … There are double standards being used in resolving the Karabakh conflict and the conflict is taking too long,” said he. Alexandrov also said that “the West’s position on evidence of genocide on Armenians in Karabakh is incomprehensible”. “It’s unclear why Armenia’s democratic regime is put on par with Nagorno-Karabakh’s autocratic regime,” he said.
US Armenians protest outside Azerbaijan’s Consulate General in Los-Angeles (ENG)
The article says that young American-Armenians gathered in protest outside Azerbaijan’s Consulate General located in Los-Angeles in dedication to the 23rd anniversary of the pogroms against ethnic Armenians in Sumgait. Several hundred people attended the protest rally initiated by the “United Armenian Youth” organization. Further, it says that later the protestors were joined by foreigners in their criticism against the crime committed towards Armenians and in their demand for retribution.
Karabakh independence doesn’t violate Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity (ENG)
Representative of the unrecognized Republic of Nagorno Karabakh in US said at a lecture at the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution of George Mason University and New York University that Karabakh is committed to finding a peaceful solution to the conflict and that Karabakh’s recognition neither violates the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, nor threatens its existence. He also said that Azerbaijan and Karabakh can be good neighbours.
“Karabakh and Azerbaijan can be good neighbours, but their coexistence in a common political-administrative entity is impossible,” said Avetisyan, adding that the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic is open for a constructive dialogue with Azerbaijan.
According to this article, EU outgoing Special Representative for the South Caucasus Peter Semneby said in Baku that “too little progress has been observed in resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict over the last five year”.
“Certainly, there were positive aspects, for example, intensifying the negotiation process in 2008 after the conflict in Georgia. The parties of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict recalled about the danger due to the unresolved status of the conflict. The situation with Nagorno-Karabakh conflict raises concerns because the conflict does not exist in a vacuum,” Semneby told a press conference on February 26.
Negotiating parties should avoid applying Kosovo precedent to Karabakh – US ambassador (ENG)
US Ambassador to Armenia Marie Yovanovitch said at a meeting at the Yerevan State University that any conflict is unique and has its specificities, responding to a question whether or not parallels can be drawn between the Nagorno Karabakh and Kosovo conflicts. “Kosovo is under the UN protectorate, but this is not the case with Nagorno Karabakh,” she said, adding that each conflict and negotiation process has its specificities depending on the historical context. She also recommended the negotiating parties against fixing similarities between the two processes or applying the Kosovo precedent to Nagorno Karabakh.
Armenia Citizens Should Stop Serving in Nagorno-Karabakh: Human Rights Defender (ENG)
The article says that Mikayel Danielyan, the president of the Helsinki Association, said while presenting a report on the situation in the Armenian army that Armenia should stop sending its citizens as conscripts to the military units in Nagorno Karabakh. In Danielyan’s opinion, it’s easier to hide incidents of persecution of soldiers in Karabakh.
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