Monthly Review - Thursday, March 1, 2012 0:02 - 0 Comments

Digest of Armenian Media for February 15- 29


Foreign researchers on Karabakh conflict and Armenia-Turkey relations [ENG]
This article says that a regular release of the political series of the Armenian Journal of Modern Issues was published by the Nubarian library within the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU). The book is edited by political scientists Raymond Kevorkian and Julien Zarifian.
The release is devoted to the South Caucasus issues and includes expert opinions on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and Armenia-Turkey relations.

Aliyev, Nato top official discuss Karabakh issue [ENG]
This article says that Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev, as part of a working visit to Belgium, met with Nato Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and they discussed, among other things, regional security issues and the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process. Speaking at a news conference after the meeting, the Azerbaijani leader said he had informed the secretary-general of the current phase of the conflict settlement talks. Aliyev added that they reiterated hopes for settling the conflict within the shortest possible timeframes. He then referred to the UN Security Council’s four resolutions calling for the withdrawal of Armenian troops.  “We expect Armenia to fulfill the requirements of the resolution,” he said.

Armenia, Azerbaijan presidents ‘friendly’ but Karabakh conflict won’t be resolved soon [ENG]
Igor Popov, the Russian co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, told the International Crisis Group’s Europe Program Director Sabine Freizer Gunes that he doesn’t think the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict will be solved any time soon, according to a tweet sent by Freizer Gunes from her personal Twitter account. The tweet above was followed by another soon after. “But the good news from Popov: It is most important that the Prezs (Arm + Azer) r friendly… the atmosphere in Sochi was excellent,” read the tweet, referring to the last meeting between the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan in the Russian resort town of Sochi on Jan. 23.

Changing OSCE Minsk Group format is urgent [ENG]
A deputy speaker of the Azerbaijani parliament, Bahar Muradova, said her country will voice its opinion on changing the OSCE Minsk Group format once the French  Constitutional Council issues a ruling on the bill criminalizing the denial of genocides.“The Minsk Group’s (US, Russia and France) efforts did not yield any result in the past 20 years. Azerbaijan is voicing its concerns in that connection. The recent developments were the last straw,” Muradova said, referring to the French parliament’s move.

International recognition of Karabakh is the only solution to conflict [ARM]
Deputy Chairperson of Armenia’s National Assembly, Eduard Sharmazanov said that proclamation of independence of Nagorno-Karabakh has a major significance for all the Armenians, adding Karabakh’s international recognition is the only solution to the conflict. “Azerbaijan responded with aggression and occupation to Karabakh’s proclamation of its right to self-determination. However, despite the war launched by Azerbaijan, the Karabakh people managed to decide their own destiny and hold a referendum,” Sharmazanov said, adding that Karabakh is developing its way to democracy.  “The only solution is international recognition,” he added.

Baku cancels Russian film screening because of Karabakh cnflict [ENG]
This article says that a group of Facebook activists asked the Park Cinema in Baku to cancel its planned Feb. 21 screening of the Russian film August Eighth – the title referencing the Russo-Georgian war in August 2008. The group calls the screening unacceptable in Azerbaijan, “where Armenia carried out aggression with Russia’s support.” Seeing parallels with “Armenia’s aggression against Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh, they believe the film justifies Russian aggression against Georgia (in South Ossetia), and endorses Russian hegemony in the South Caucasus,” reads the article.

Successful elections in Armenia will positively affect Karabakh peace process – expert [ENG]
According to this news article, James Nixey, program manager for Russia and Eurasia at Chatham House, said that successful parliamentary elections in Armenia in May 2012 will positively affect the Karabakh peace process. Speaking about the current situation in Nagorno-Karabakh, the expert said he considers that despite double standards, successful democratic development will have positive consequences.

Legally speaking, Karabakh was never part of Azerbaijan – analyst [ENG]
Shahen Avagyan, an Armenian international law expert, said at an international symposium that Azerbaijan never had an effective full sovereignty over Nagorno Karabakh, and, furthermore, legally speaking, Karabakh was never a part of Azerbaijan. Avagyan also introduced a series of international documents that he claimed attest to the legality of this provision. “Pursuant to international laws, Nagorno-Karabakh is considered a disputed territory at the very least, whereas numerous resolutions present it as a separate factor,” the analyst noted.

Armenian expert criticizes U.S. approaches to Karabakh issue [ENG]
Armenian political analyst Alexander Manasyan said the information war over Karabakh issue should move forward the Armenian view on the conflict. The expert also criticized U.S. stance on the Karabakh conflict. He also recalled that the United States supported the Karabakh Liberation Movement but then in a couple of years recognized territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. In this context, Manasyan said that the Movement played a role of detonator for the USSR collapse, therefore it was supported by the U.S.

Nagorno-Karabakh situation stable not because of but in spite of mediators’ efforts-opinion [ENG]
Armenian political analyst Suren Zolyan said at a conference in Stepanakert [Khankendi] that Nagorno-Karabakh may become a part of Azerbaijan only due to full-scale war and ethnic cleansings. Conflicts in the South Caucasus are considered as key factors hampering development of the region. Not only the conflicts, but approaches to their solution are frozen, he said. “Everything what was told so far was not effective, while change in regional situation is not taken into account, in particular, recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia is ignored. In parallel, Azerbaijan continues military build-up, which is similar to a budget of war times,” Zolyan said.

Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan incompatible – MP [ENG]
Vahram Atanesyan, a Karabakhi MP, said at a conference held in Stepanakert [Khankendi] that the status-quo in Karabakh is the only acceptable option in the peace process. According to Atanesyan, OSCE Minsk Group mediators are trying to condition unsettlement of the Karabakh conflict with preventing the South Caucasus from European integration. However, the statement is not serious and even groundless. He also said that Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan are incompatible.

Karabakh’s Declaration of Independence is consistent with International Law – German professor [ENG]
According to this article, Doctor of Law Otto Luchterhand, a Professor at University of Hamburg, said during an international symposium in Stepanakert (Khankendi) that the declaration of independence of Nagorno-Karabakh is not contrary to the provisions of international law. Presenting a comparative and legal analysis of Karabakh’s de facto independence, the Professor noted that the situation of Karabakh is more similar to that of Kosovo, as Karabakh, just like Kosovo, is in Europe. Otto Luchterhand also compared the two cases.

Ridiculous to speak about Karabakh as possible part of Azerbaijan [ENG]
Vazgen Manukyan, Head of Armenia’s Public Council said that it is ridiculous to speak about the possibility of Karabakh becoming a part of Azerbaijan. He stressed that it was difficult to think of holding such a conference back in 1988 when the Karabakh movement was launched.
“There were other objectives, as Karabakh was within Azerbaijan and Azerbaijani administration was ruling it. Besides, Azerbaijan attempted to characterize the issue as an ethnic problem, but failed,” he said. Further, he said that “twenty years have passed since then, and Nagorno-Karabakh is an independent state, while discussions over other status are ridiculous”.

Discussing smaller issues on Karabakh is more difficult – expert [ENG]
This article says that Lawrence Sheets, an analyst and expert on the Caucasus region for the International Crisis Group, said that Azerbaijan has called on the EU to help find solution to the Karabakh conflict. He also said that the Armenian and the Azerbaijani presidents have “basically agreed at various times what the basic outline of the resolution of the conflict would be”. According to him, the basic things that the two sides seem to agree are in relative commonality. “But when you start discussing these smaller issues, which are politically potentially explosive or dangerous to the administrations in control…it becomes very difficult,” he added.

Clinton: USA cooperates with OSCE MG to resolve NK conflict [ENG]
According to this article US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that the US “cooperates with OSCE Minsk Group partners to resolve the conflict of Nagorno-Karabakh”.  She also said that the US will continue to support the settlement of the Karabakh conflict. “Next year we will also support establishment of peace, stability and democracy in Caucasus,” Clinton said.

Recognition of Nagorno-Karabakh’s independence is in interest of Azerbaijan – Russian expert [ENG]
This article says that Russian analyst Aleksey Martinov said during a conference in Stepanakert (Khankendi) that Armenia should immediately recognize independence of Nagorno-Karabakh as it will mark the end of confrontation and at the same time will prevent a new one. The analyst also said that Azerbaijan must begin to develop relations with Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, given the current arms race initiated by Azerbaijan is a serious burden on country’s budget. “This does not contribute to the development of Azerbaijan. Recognition of Nagorno-Karabakh will give impetus to the development of the region,” he added.

Moscow wants to use Karabakh recognition [ARM]
This article says that Russia has in all probability decided to “persuade” Armenia to recognize the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh. It also says that Modest Kolerov, the chief editor of the Russian news agency Regnum, said at a symposium in Karabakh that no international recognition of Nagorno Karabakh should be expected unless Armenia recognizes it. “It’s useless to demand the world to recognize Karabakh unless it has been recognized by Armenia,” said he. Korelov also expressed confidence that it is in the interest of Armenia to do it immediately.

There is no alternative to independence of Karabakh – Gagik Melikyan [ARM]
According to this news item, MP of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia, Gagik Melikyan, said that there is no alternative to the independence of Nagorno Karabakh. Melikyan, who took part in a symposium in Nagorno Karabakh, said that all the participants mentioned in their speeches highlighted the fact that the de facto independence of Nagorno Karabakh is irreversible. “The experts of world powers expressed their position that the principles of territorial integrity cannot be applied to NK,” said he.

CSTO keeps track of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict – Sec Gen [ENG]
Secretary General of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) Nicolay Bordyuzha said that the CSTO is keeping track of the developments over the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, rather than mediating in it. He also said that the CSTO is well aware that it is the OSCE Minsk Group that is dealing with the conflict, sparing no efforts to resolve this “most complicated conflict.” Asked about the CSTO’s position on possible “critical situation” involving Armenia and Azerbaijan, Bordyuzha said that it depends on “the kind of crisis.”

EU fully supprots OSCE Minsk Group ch-chair’s efforts [ARM]
This article says that Armenia’s Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian met with the delegation of the foreign relations committee of the European Parliament and upon their request briefed them on the recent developments of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The EU delegation said that the EU fully supports the OSCE Minsk Group’s mediating efforts to facilitate an agreement over the conflict.

Scotland independence referendum is important for Karabakh settlement process [ENG]
Armenian political expert Karen Bekaryan said that the independence referendum issue, discussed presently in Scotland, is very important in terms of the Karabakh settlement talks. Asked what impact Scotland’s independence would have on Karabakh, he said he was more interested in the outcome rather than the process. “Azerbaijan was for several years been considering whether England could replace France in the Minsk Group,” said he adding that recently Baku  focused on Germany instead of Great Britain.

The status quo is unacceptable in such a tragic situation – Eric Rubin [ARM]
According to this article, Eric Rubin, Assistant US Secretary of State on Europe and Asia Affairs, sais that the US stance has not changed over the Karabakh conflict and that the principles of the Helsinki Final Act are at the core of it, including the territorial integrity, self-determination and non-use of force. He also said that the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairing countries cannot possible back one of the parties to the Karabakh conflict and it is the only effective format of talks that move the peace process foreword. He also said that under the existing situation the status quo is unacceptable.

Snipers threat to solving Karabakh through compromises – expert [ARM]
This article says American expert Мark Dietzen wrote in an article that the snipers across the Line of Contact are posing threat to settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict through compromises. The expert mentions that about 30 people are shot dead by snipers across the Line of Contact each year. The analyst further writes that the Madrid Principles have become another cause of disagreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The analyst also says that because of snipers increase the likelihood of the conflict to grow into a military confrontation.

Azerbaijan’s propaganda success complicates recognition of Karabakh’s independence [ENG]
According to this article, Armenian political analyst Alexander Manasyan said Azerbaijan’s “success in propaganda is complicating the process of recognition of the Nagorno-Karabakh independence”. According to him, by signing truce the Armenian side thought the Karabakh war is over.  “It is a peculiarity of Armenians’ way of thinking. If the fire is stops, we think the war is over too.  However, it continues but in information field. We should accept and give an adequate response to this challenge,” he said.

Opposition in Karabakh is against Madrid Principles [ARM]
This article says that former MP in Nagorno-Karabakh Eduard Aghabekyan said in an interview that he is against the Madrid Principles and all its versions, including return of territories, exchange of territories. He also said that he is against the idea that is first the recognition of the de facto Republic of Nagorno Karabakh and then its borders. Aghabekyan also said that he would advocate against those principles.

Azerbaijan to strike Karabakh after Iran is attacked – Russian politician [ENG]
Head of Russian Liberal-Democratic Party Vladimir Zhirinovsky said that the third world war over Iran may start this summer, adding that Azerbaijan will unleash a fresh war against Syria, once the West strikes Iran. “After Syria is rolled over, Iran will be attacked. Azerbaijan will use it to seize Nagorno-Karabakh. Armenia will oppose, Turkey will support Azerbaijan. It is how Russia may be involved in war this summer,” he said.

At the meeting with Serzh Sargsyan we did ont see a stance that will lead to peace – Azerbaijani MP [ARM]
According to this article Ayaz Guliyev, an Azerbaijani MP, who was among other Azerbaijani MPs received by Armenia’s president Serzh Sargsyan in the sidelines of a Euronest visiting session in Yerevan said that they could not see a position at the meeting the will lead to a peaceful situation. He also said that Armenia’s president avoided answering when asked how Armenia would defend the “rights of the people Azerbaijan expelled from Azerbaijani territories”. The article also says that Sargsyan failed to respond to a question when asked to mention any timeline for the Karabakh conflict settlement.

Ways of settling Nagorno-Karabakh conflict not outside region – Iran’s ambassador to Armenia [ENG]
This article says that Iranian Ambassador to Armenia Seyed Ali Saghaiyan said in Yerevan that the ways of settling the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict should not be looked for outside the region. Saghaiyan also said that Iran has held the most balanced position on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. All the conflicts must be resolved by means of dialogues, he said. Ambassador Saghaiyan stated that regional peace is of importance for Iran. In this context, he noted the damage the Russian-Georgian conflict caused to the region.

Armenian diplomat urges Azerbaijan to refrain from speculations [ENG]
Armenian Ambassador to the United Nations Karen Nazaryan has called upon the Azerbaijani authorities to refrain from “undue speculations in the current efforts towards settling the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict”. At a UN Security Council speech he said that “instead of resorting to dirty policies, Azerbaijani authorities would better focus on the Minsk Group-mediated peace settlement process and take measures towards the implementation of the agreements signed at the recent trilateral presidential-level meetings”.

EU wants to have unconditional entry to Karabakh [ARM]
This article claims that a high-ranking European official who refused to be named said that the European Union wants to have unconditional entry to Nagorno Karabakh. “The European Union seeks to enlarge its role in the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. This does not mean to replace France,” said the official, adding that what the EU wants is to be more active in the mediation of the Karabakh conflict. “… And the most important thing is that the EU wants an unconditional entry to Nagorno Karabakh, and this is something new,” the official was quoted as saying.

EU has no real leverages to affect process in the region – Babayan [ARM]
According to this article, Davit Babayan, the spokesperson for the de facto president of Nagorno Karabakh, said though the EU has recently been trying to show some political activity in relation to the Karabakh peace process, it has no real leveraged in the region to affect the process in the region because first of all the EU itself is facing economic hardship now. He also said that Frances removal from the OSCE Minsk Group would make it event harder for the peace process to register any significant progress.

EU’s involvement in NKR will contribute for development of democracy in Karabakh [ARM]
Masis Mailyan, head of the foreign relations and security public council of the unrecognized Republic of Nagorno Karabakh, said the European Union’s involvement in Nagorno Karabakh would generally contribute to the development of democratic processes. However, he said that there has been no sign of EU’s willingness to become a mediator in the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Baku calls on Irelande to take specific steps in relation to Karabakh conflict [ARM]
According to this article, Bahar Muradova, the Deputy Chairperson of Azerbaijan’s parliament, said that Baku has called on the Ireland, which has assumed the rotating presidency at the OSCE, to take concrete measures for over the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Muradova also said that she had asked the Ireland to take steps to initiate such activities that will contribute to the resolution of the Karabakh conflict.

Shushi Foundation to file lawsuit in International Court against Azerbaijani authorities [ENG]
Shushi Foundation plans to file a lawsuit in the International Court against the Azerbaijani government over “obvious falsification and misleading the international community on the Khojaly events”. The foundation’s chairman Bakur Karapetyan also said that “Azerbaijan must also be held responsible for the crime in Maragha”.

No connection between Armenia-Turkey Protocols and Karabakh conflict: Ambassador [ENG]
UK Ambassador to Armenia Katherine Leach said that Britain backed the Armenia-Turkey Protocols and believes that they didn’t contain preconditions and have no connection with the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. “We continue to believe that consideration of these issues alone would be more productive. Unfortunately, it is difficult to see progress in these processes,” she said.  Leach also said that she hopes “this moment will come back. I believe that the international community has played a positive role in trying to help Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan find a solution to their problems.” “We have a common approach and the participation of senior leaders and politicians in the rapprochement process was important,” she said.

EU wants to play ‘strong and solid’ role in Karabakh conflict settlement: Catherine Ashton [ENG]
According to this article, European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton said that the EU would like to play a “strong and solid role” to help support Azerbaijan and Armenia in settling the Nagorno Karabakh conflict. “This is a very difficult conflict and it needs to be resolved,” she said. She also said that in the case of Azerbaijan and Armenia, her great concern is over what is happening in Nagorno-Karabakh. “You’ll probably hear from France as it is involved with the Minsk Group and I have a special representative [Philippe Lefort] working down there. We have a very strong relationship with Georgia and want to play a strong and solid role with Armenia and Azerbaijan to be able to help and support this very difficult conflict,” she said.

Armenia’s parliament discussing adequate response to Azeri propaganda [ENG]
This article says that  Armenia’s parliament held a “discussion over the Azeri lobby’s recently intensified activities at the international level, as well as the Armenia side’s adequate response”.
Armen Rustamyan, an MP, stressed the need for the parliament to issue a statement on Nagorno-Karabakh. In response, Parliament Speaker Samvel Nikoyan said: “If statements would prevent this practice [international agencies’ reports on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict lobbied for by Azerbaijan], we could make two statements daily. But Azerbaijan will continue its practice regardless of whether we make statements or not.”

Nalbandian on Karabakh settlement [ARM]
Armenia’s Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian said in an interview with the Austrian daily Der Standard that Azerbaijan is always focused on the return of territories, meaning that “buffer zone” around Nagorno-Karabakh, which “hampers negotiations”. “The provision of return of territories is one of the provision of the Madrid Principles, but Azerbaijan should understand that the Madrid Principles are one whole,” said Nalbandian. He also mentioned that US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton had also stated in Astana that those principles were one whole.

Karabakh sees double standards in EU document [ARM]
Davit Babayan, head of the general department of information at the presidential office of the unrecognized Republic of Nagorno Karabakh, said that the document adopted by the EU over Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia seems to contain double standards. Babayan explained that the document first mentions of Nagorno Karabakh and then surrounding territories and makes some kind of division. “They look at Nagorno Karabakh’s territorial integrity in another way,” said he, adding that there is Nagorno Karabakh as “one state, rather than surrounding territories”.

EU calls to design post-conflict scenarios for NK conflict [ARM]
Foreign Ministers Council at the European Union called on the EU High Commissioner and the European Commission to design a post-conflict scenario for the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, one that would be the basis for EU’s further involvement in the resolution of the conflict. The EU also said that it is concerned the slow pace of negotiations over Karabakh between Armenia and Azerbaijan. It also highlighted the importance of the role of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in the peace talks. The EU also said it is ready to have active involvement in the settlement of the NK conflict.

Azerbaijan claims Israeli arms will be Used Against Karabakh [ENG]
Azerbaijan’s Ambassador to Iran Javanshir Akhundov said a $1.6 billion worth of arms deal with Israel, which was announced Sunday, was made “to liberate occupied Azerbaijani land”. The ambassador acknowledged that the weapons would be used on the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, which Baku contends occupies Azeri territory. The Iranian agencies quoted Akhundov saying that Baku “will not allow the weapons to be used against third nations, in particular the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

Karabakh expert hails EU’s intention to have free entry to Nagorno Karabakh [ARM]
Tevan Poghosyan, a Karabakh-based expert, sais that the EU has always stated that it backs the efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group. He also said that it would be better to try and design some solutions to the Karabakh conflict rather then to contribute to what he called “some solutions”. He also said that he backs EU’s intention that the EU should have free entry to Nagorno-Karabakh. “Overall, that statement is welcome,” he said.

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