Monthly Review - Wednesday, February 15, 2012 2:01 - 0 Comments

Digest of Armenian Media for February 1- 14


Changing the OSCE Minsk Group format is very tough process – Freizer [ARM]
According to this article, Sabine Freizer, Director of the European Program at the International Crisis Group, speaking about calls for France’s withdrawal from the OSCE Minsk Group, said that any change in the Minsk Group is not realistic, adding that it is up to MG member-states to decide on this. Speaking about calls by Turkish officials for France’s withdrawal, she said that the decision on France being left out from the MG will not be made based on Turkey’s will only. She also said that no progress is expected in the Karabakh conflict settlement in the near future.

Karabakh a likely flashpoint of confrontation in the South Caucasus – James Clapper [ARM]
According to this news item, Director of U.S. National Intelligence James Clapper, said the unsettled conflicts in the Caucasus and the fragility of some Central Asian states are the most likely flashpoints in the Eurasia region. Clapper also said the Nagorno-Karabakh region is another potential flashpoint. “Heightened rhetoric, distrust on both sides and recurring violence along the Line of Contact increase the risk of miscalculations that could escalate the situation with little warning,” said the US intelligence officer.

Armenia will refuse Minsk Group [ARM]
This article says that Turkey and Azerbaijan succeeded in bringing the issue of France’s removal from the OSCE Minsk Group over the French Senates adoption of a bill that criminalizes the denial of genocides. It also says that Armenian officials oppose to such demands by Turkey and Azerbaijan, adding that neither US, nor Russia will allow the withdrawal of France from the Minsk Group, not to mention Turkey’s likely inclusion in that body. It also says that if this change does however take place, Armenia may say that it does not trust the new members of the OSCE Minsk Group and may refuse its mediating efforts over the Karabakh conflict.

Armenian defense minister and EU rep discuss Karabakh conflict [ARM]
This article says that Armenia’s Defense Minister Seyran Ohanyan and EU Envoy to South Caucasus Philippe Lefort discussed, among other things, the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. They both highlighted the importance of easing tension on the Line of Contact. They also mentioned the need for strengthening mutual trust. An impartial investigation of the ceasefire violations was mentioned as one such method.

Azerbaijani MPs want France’s withdrawal from OSCE Minsk Group [ENG]
According to this article an Azerbaijani official said Baku should decide on what is the legal form of France’s withdrawal from the OSCE Minsk Group chairmanship. Oktay Asadov responded to MPs’ offer to withdraw France from mediation mission in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process. The move was promoted by French Senate’s adoption of a bill that criminalizes the denial of genocides. “We should decide on the legal form of its removal. This issue does not depend on our wish,” said he.

Azerbaijan and Armenia cannot solve Karabakh conflict together [ARM]
According to this article Russian MP Vladimir Zhirinovsky said Armenia and Azerbaijan will not be able to resolve the conflict of Nagorno Karabakh because of Russia. For that to happen, according to him, Armenia and Azerbaijan should be included in Russia as Transcaucasian federal province. “If Azerbaijan and Armenia do not agree to that offer we will recognize Nagorno Karabakh much in the same way we recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia,” said he. Zhirinovsky also said that Russia will not recognize Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity.

“Agreeing on Basic Principles may last decades.” Azerbaijan Foreign Ministry [ARM]
Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry spokesperson saidAzerbaijan seeks a resolution to the Karabakh conflict based on a legal version. Elman Abdullayev also said that Armenia is winning time to preserve the status quo, while Azerbaijan’s position is clear: an agreement on Basic Principles is a political method. He also said that the international practice has proved that it may last for decades.

Turkey expects more support from Muslim countries over NK [ARM]
This article says that Chairperson of Turkey’s Grand National Assembly, Cemil Cicek, said at a summit that Ankara expects more support from Muslim countries all over the world over the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in order to resolve the conflict in Azerbaijan’s favor. He also highlighted the importance of exerting international pressure on Armenia over the Karabakh conflict.

Key to Karabakh settlement is in Russia’s hands – Mutalibov [ARM]
Former Azerbaijani President Ayaz Mutalibov said the key to the settlement of the Karabakh conflict is in the hands of Russia. He also said that during his term in office the Azerbaijani opposition demanded that Russia be replaced by another international player. “But I have always said that the key to Karabakh conflict is at the hands of Russia,” said he, adding that it holds true up until today.

EU achieved little progress towards resolving Karabakh conflict – report [ENG]
The article says that the European Council on foreign relations issued European Foreign Policy Scorecard assessing the EU’s performance on the global stage across all 27 states in which it said that despite relative unity, the EU has achieved little progress to resolve the Karabakh conflict. It also said that tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh continue to increase and there remains a risk of an accidental war between them. Further, it said that in comparison to the conflicts in Transnistria or Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the EU has even less leverage in discussions over the future settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute.

Nalbandian and Clinton discuss Karabakh conflict [ARM]
This article says that Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian and US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton met on the sidelines of the 48th Security Conference in Munich and discussed the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Particularly, they spoke about the latest developments in the peace process, the role of the US as OSCE Minsk group co-chair, as well as about the results of the meeting of the Armenian, Azerbaijani and Russian presidents in Sochi on January 23. Clinton reaffirmed US’ stance on the Karabakh conflict, adding that the Karabakh issue can be settled only peacefully. She also said that the US would continue to make efforts for the resolution of the conflict.

How do Azerbaijani bloggers perceive Armenians? [ENG]
This article says that International Alert, a London based NGO working on conflict resolution, examined a range of sources, from history textbooks, to the media and blogosphere, as well as speeches made by politicians to understand better the dynamics behind the conflicts in the South Caucasus. One of the researcher looked at the Azerbaijani blogosphere and found out that the tone used to talk about Armenians in the online media expressed even more hatred than in traditional media. Referring to the Azerbaijani blogosphere, the researcher said it has become more popular in Azerbaijan only in the last two-three years despite its decade-old history.

Mammadyarov speaks about changing the status quo [ARM]
This article says that Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov said at a meeting with Philippe Lefort, the EU special envoy on South Caucasus, that the settlement to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is the number one issue on the agenda of Azerbaijan’s foreign policy. He also said that the biggest hindrance to the resolution of the conflict is the fact that “the Azerbaijani territories are under occupation”. Mammadyarov also spoke about the need for changing the status quo, adding that the first significant step in that sense would the pullout of the Armenian troops from those territories.

EU has new ideas on Karabakh settlement – diplomat [ENG]
According to this news article, head of the EU delegation to Azerbaijan, Ambassador Roland Kobia, said the European Union wants to propose new ideas to promote a quicker settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. “We, of course, support all objectives of the Minsk Group and we would like also to launch new ideas in order to promote quicker settlement of the conflict,” he said. Kobia further said the ideas are still being tested with the governments of Azerbaijan and Armenia, adding that they will be disclosed in the near future.

Some forces in Azerbaijan could help us to achieve our goals. Andreas Ghukasyan [ENG]
According to this news item, Andreas Ghukasyan, Advisor to Congress of Refugees from Azerbaijan, said that the processes in the negotiations over the resolution of Karabakh conflict don’t offer real opportunities to resolve the issue of Armenian refugees. Further, he said that the issue of refugees is included in the negotiations, but its format was meant to resolve the conflict where the status of Nagorno-Karabakh was pivotal. Asked if it is possible to launch dialogue between Armenian and Azerbaijani societies, Ghukasyan said it is possible, if “Azerbaijani people are deprived of administrative xenophobia”.“There are some forces in Azerbaijan that could help us to achieve our goals,” said he.

Aliyev and Lefort discuss Karabakh conflict [ARM]

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev discussed the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict at a meeting with Philippe Lefort, the EU Special Envoy to the South Caucasus. No other details were reported about the meeting. Further, the article reminds its readers, that Lefort had earlier welcomed the trilateral meeting of the Armenian, Azerbaijani and Russian presidents in Sochi where they met to approximate the positions of Armenia and Azerbaijan over the Karabakh conflict. He had also said that the EU considers the Sochi meeting as the next step towards peace.

France’s stance on NK conflict will not change, says French Senator [ARM]
According to this article a group of French Senators visited Azerbaijan and responded to questions related to France’s credibility as an OSCE Minsk Group member. A French Senator Janny Lorjois expressed hope during a visit to Azerbaijan that France will continue to be impartial in its activities as an OSCE Minsk Group co-chair country.  Andre Rekhar, another Senator also said that France’s stance on the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict will not change.

Azerbaijani Defense Ministry responds Seyran Ohanyan’s statement [ARM]
This article says that the Defense Ministry of Azerbaijan responded to a statement by Armenia’s Defense Minister Seyran Ohanyan who had said that the Armenian troops respond only to one out of ten cases of the ceasefire violations by the Azerbaijani troops. An Azerbaijani Defense Ministry spokesperson said that the Armenian defense minister is simply “telling a lie”. “It is highly likely that Seyran Ohanyan himself does not believe to his own words,” the spokesperson was quoted as saying.

North Ireland model can also be applied to Nagorno Karabakh [ARM]
Irish Foreign Minister Imon Gilmore said the model of the Northern Ireland can be applied to the frozen conflicts, including those under the auspices of the OSCE. Gilmore particularly said that the model of the Northern Ireland can be applied to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The article also recalls that Gilmore had said earlier that without the political will of conflicting parties, a settlement to the Karabakh conflict would be impossible.

Mammadyarov calls on EU and CoE to avoid double standards over Karabakh conflict [ARM]
According to this article, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov called on European Union and Council of Europe at a summit in Brussels to refrain from using double standards when it comes to the settlement of the Karabakh conflict. Mammadyarov, particularly said they should make decisions over Karabakh based on the norms of the international law and stress the unacceptability of using double standards.

Mammadyarov discussed Karabakh issue in Brussels [ARM]
Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov said at a summit in Brussels that in order to register in Nagorno-Karabakh peace talks “Armenia should first of all withdraw its troops from the Azerbaijani territories.” “We accept that the status of Karabakh should also be settled, but before that, it is necessary that the Armenian and Azerbaijani communities return to their lost settlements,” said Mammadyarov, adding that it is impossible to resolve the issue in line with European standards without taking into account the opinion of the Azerbaijanis who lived there.

OSCE chairperson welcomes Minsk Group efforts [ARM]
OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Eamon Gilmore said during a speech in New York that he will try to resolve protracted conflicts during his time in office, including the Transdnestrian, Abkhazian, South-Ossetian and the Karabakh conflicts. Speaking about the Karabakh conflict in particular, he hailed the OSCE Minsk Group’s efforts made so far. He also said that the OSCE expects close cooperation with Minsk Group co-chairs and other members of the Minks Group.

Parties are close to a breakthrough – Mathew Bryza [ARM]
Former OSCE Minsk Group co-chair Mathew Bryza said the parties to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict are now close to a breakthrough. He also said that, however, there are some details that can be agreed on, if the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents make tough and dangerous political decisions. “But they will not do it until they feel that they have the serious political support of US and France,” said he, adding that in order for a breakthrough to take place it is necessary that all the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairing countries be equally involved in the peace process over Karabakh.

No military solution to Karabakh conflict: Bernard Fassier [ARM]
According to this news article, former OSCE Minsk Group co-chair Bernard Fassier said there is no military solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. He recalled his statement in Paris where he had said that a new war will not at all be easy for Azerbaijan. Fassier also said that no one can say which of the sides will gain victory in a new war. In any case, it will have grave consequences both for the winner and for the loser, he added.

Sarkozy openly backs Armenians over Karabakh conflict – Erdogan [ARM]
According to this article, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said French President Nikolas Sarkozy openly supports Armenians over the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.  Erdogan also said that France should be removed from the OSCE Minsk Group as it cannot be an impartial mediator. The Turkish PM also said that Azerbaijan and Turkey should stand together in every issue.

No winners in Nagorno-Karabakh conflict – NATO rep [ENG]
NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia James Appathurai said there can be no winners in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. He noted that the OSCE Minsk Group is the only format to deal with the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process. James Appathurai further said the NATO members are unanimous in their perspective on the conflict- there cannot be winners in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and that all the sides will suffer political, military and economic losses in case of escalation of the conflict.

NATO won’t interfere in Karabakh conflict settlement [ARM]
According to this article, NATO Secretary General’s Special Envoy to Caucasus and Central Asia, James Appathurai said the alliance will not interfere in the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. He also said he is aware of the efforts made by the OSCE Minsk Group, as well as of the statements of the Azerbaijani side to change that format. James Appathurai also added, there is no alternative to negotiations in the settlement of the conflict.

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