Monthly Review - Sunday, April 1, 2012 0:00 - 0 Comments

Digest of Armenian Media for March 15- 31


Russo-Turkish trade around Karabakh [ARM]
This article says that the Russian Foreign Ministry is instructed to keep issues related to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict on the agenda. It also says that a high-ranking Russian Foreign Ministry official dismissed opinions at a visit to Ankara that the Karabakh conflict has a direct link to the Russia-Turkish relations. The article also says that the Russian Foreign Ministry is interested in the attitudes towards the OSCE Minsk Group in Armenia. The author further claims that there is no doubt that Russia intends to change the format of the Karabakh conflict settlement against the backdrop of the processes underway in US and Europe.

Will the German foreign Minister visit Karabakh? [ARM]
This article quotes German Foreign Minister Guido Westervelle as saying ahead of his visit to the South Caucasus that “it is a good time to find a solution to the Karabakh conflict which has become an impediment to the prosperity and peaceful development of the region”. The author comments that German FM’s visit can hardly be considered as a regular one given it is hard to remember when was the last time such a high-ranking German official visited the region. Further, the author suggests that the visit might be accounted for by the fact that Germany has grown more interested to the South Caucasus recently.

South Caucasus to be held in ancitipation in near future [ARM]
According to this news article, Russian political analyst, speaking about the possible scenarios after Russia’s incumbent Prime Minister Vladimir Putin assumes the Russian presidency, Washington and Moscow will now reverse their approaches towards the Georgia issue, which is not the case with when it comes to the cooperationg of the countries over the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. He also said that if in case of the Karabakh conflict there are no serious disagreements between US and Russia the same format does not neccessarily work in case of Georgia. Further, he said that the South Caucasus will in the near future be in a state of waiting.

No military solution to Karabakh conflict – State Department [ENG]
According to this news item, Spokesperson for the US Department of State, Victoria Nulan said that there is no military solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. “As a Co-Chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, the United States remains firmly committed to assisting the sides in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict reach a lasting and peaceful settlement,” she told a briefing. The US diplomat also urged the sides to prepare their populations for peace, not war, and to refrain from any provocative rhetoric or actions on the ground.

Status quo cannot be long-lasting – German FM [ENG]
According to this news article, German Foreign Minister Guidoe Westerwelle said at a joint press conference with his Armenian counterpart Edward Nalbandian in Yerevan that the current status quo over Nagorno-Karabakh cannot be long-lasting as it affects the entire region. He also said that issue is highly important for Armenia, and called for finding new ways towards achieving mutual concessions. Westerwelle reiterated his country’s stance on the issue, stressing the importance of maintaining parity between the principles of territorial integrity and the people’s right to self-determination.
French Ambassador to Armenia comments on the purchase of weapons by Azerbaijan [ENG]
This article says that French Ambassador to Armenia Henri Reynaud in response to a question about Azerbaijan’s purchase of weapons said, that as a Co-Chair state in the OSCE MG, France wishes to remind the statement adopted by the Presidents Sarkozy, Medvedev and Obama during the G8 summit in Deauville last May. “They confirmed, in particular, that only settlement achieved through talks can lead to peace as well as stability and reconciliation and provide opportunity for the development and cooperation in the region,” said he. The French ambassador also mentioned that the presidents of the conflicting sides are called upon to prepare their population for peace and not war.

NATO not to be engaged in Nagorno-Karabakh conflict [ENG]
This article says that the NATO’s Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy James Appathurai said the alliance will not be involved in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict including the peace process. In response to the question what kind of arrangements NATO is going to carry out in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia, Appathurai said that the bottom line is that NATO hopes such engagement never happens. He noted that the Minsk Process has had some difficulties in the past year. The present stagnation in the peace process is also the result of the conflicting rhetoric between the two states not to mention the purchase of weapons by both countries is also worrisome.

Germany walks down the same path as EU over Karabakh [ARM]
Armenian political analyst Igro Muradyan said that German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle’s statement that Germany is in favor of a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict attests to the fact that the country’s stance over Karabakh is in line with that of the European Union. He also said that Germany has no strategic interests in the South Caucasus region, at least for now.

Nagorno Karabakh cannot be part of Azerbaijan [ARM]
According to this article, former Armenian Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanian, said that Nagorno Karabakh cannot be part of Azerbaijan as Karabakh is already self-determined. Oskanian also said that if the international community has not recognized Karabakh’s self-determination, it has “ already recognized the right to self-determination”. “If during these 20 years we have made something irreversable, it is that Nagorno Karabakh cannot be part of Azerbaijan,” said Oskanian, adding that Armenia’s task is to win the diplomatic efforts.

Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement possible in long- run talks – Russian expert [ENG]
Russian expert Kirill Tanayev said that the OSCE Minsk Group’s statements voice no breakthrough in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, they simply wish for the better. He also said that the conflict is escalating. He also mentioned that certain statements by the Azerbaijani society demonstrate that it has a clear, unanimous viewpoint on Karabakh’s status and future.

Minsk Group is laying foundations of peace agreement, says co-chair [ENG]
According to this news item, OSCE Minsk Group Russian co-chair Igor Popov said that the negotiations over the peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict are in a quite intensive phase. He also said they are now discussing the basic principles which are expected to lay the foundations of a future peace agreement. The diplomat noted that the leaders of the conflicting countries had three meetings in the past year to smooth out the existing disputable issues. According to him, the questions not agreed upon so far appear to be the most difficult problems to resolve.

Solution to Karabakh conflict depends on goodwill of conflicting parties – mediator [ENG]
According to this article, OSCE Minsk Group Russian Co-Chair Igor Popov said that negotiation process, which is the basis of Nagorno-Karabakh peace process, runs very intensively. The basic principles on Karabakh are being discussed, which should serve as basis for further elaboration of peace agreement, he added. Its a positive sign that the two sides are taking steps in reaching an agreement added the co- chair.

Armenia, Azerbaijan closer than they think on Karabakh – US envoy [ENG]
This article says that OSCE Minsk Group US Co-Chair Robert Bradke said in an interview with RFE/RL that the parties to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict are closer to a settlement than they really think. He also said that the MG has so far done three important things: it has helped maintain stability; it has been a channel for communication between and has succeeded to develop a common basis for negotiations. He said that their activities in the past 5 years focused in particular on the development of the Basic Principles. Asked whether the parties are closer to resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute today than they were in 1992, Bradtke said: “I think there’s no question we’re closer today than we were 20 years ago. I think the sides understand the basic elements of what a settlement should look like”.

Co-chair countries’ FMs call for accelerated settlement of conflict [ENG]
This article says that the foreign ministers of the OSCE Minsk Group’s co-chair countries issued a joint statement, calling upon Armenia and Azerbaijan to intensify their efforts towards the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. “We urge the leaders of the parties to finalize the framework agreement and a subsequent final decision as soon as possible – on the basis of the Helsinki Final Act, based on the principles of non-use of force or threat, territorial integrity and self-determination and equality of peoples, points of the Charter of the United Nations, as well as norms and principles of international law – that will allow the region to move beyond the status quo to a more secure and prosperous future,” they said.  The diplomats noted the countries in the region have suffered many losses as a result of the conflict, adding that any attempt to delay the final settlement would complicate the situation.

Discussions over Nagorno Karabakh in European Parliament [ARM]
This article says that the European Parliament voted on a document related to the EU-Armenia Association Agreement. The main discussion was over the point related to Nagorno Karabakh. An MP at the European Parliament told RFE/RL the majority of the MPs said the Assocaition Agreement should not be suspended because of the conflict. The MP also said that the parties to the conflict should try and find compromise solution to the conflict. The MP also refered to some complaints, such as the OSCE Minsk Group process being too slow.
Foreign ministers’ statement is some kind of safeguard for preserving peace [ARM]
This article says that Armenian political analyst Sergey Minasyan, speaking on the statement made by the foreign ministers of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chair states, said he is inclined to see the European Union’s recent active position over Karabakh peace talks as “involvement without recognition”. He also said that it does not relate only to Nagorno Karabakh, but rather to all unrecognized de facto republics. Ruben Mehrabyan, another political analyst, said that the EU and the West are doubling their efforts aimed at changing the interests and perceptions of the parties to the Karabakh conflict.

Prepare populations for peace, not war – US Ambassador [ENG]
According to this article, U.S. Ambassador to Armenia John Heffern commented on the purchase of weapons by Azerbaijan, Heffern recalled that presidents of the co-chairing states Obama, Sarkozy and Medvedev have issued a number of statements on the issue, one of the last ones was issued in Deauville. He stressed that in these statements the presidents called on the sides to display restraint on their statements, purchase of weapons, and maintain ceasefire regime. The main message was to prepare their populations for peace, not war, he stressed. Heffern added that the OSCE Minsk Group’s calls to the sides will remain the same until the settlement of the conflict is reached.

Change in OSCE Minsk Group format is unacceptable – Armenian parliament deputy speaker [ENG]
According to this article, Armenian National Assembly (NA) Deputy Chairman Eduard Sharmazanov said that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict’s effective settlement is possible solely with the current format of the OSCE Minsk Group. He also said that not only the Armenian side, but also the Minsk Group Co-Chairs have expressed such position. “Armenia’s position is very clear: the change in the format is unacceptable,” Sharmazanov said.

The idea of replacing France in the Minsk Group is the result of Azerbaijani lobby – Armenian MP [ENG]
Head of Armenia’s delegation to PACE, Naira Zohrabyan, said that the document adopted by the European Parliament’s foreign commission on replacing France’s mandate OSCE Minsk Group by that of EU is not the Union’s official viewpoint.  According to her, this initiative is a result of the efforts of “some pro-Azerbaijan deputies”.  She also said that the document is “a child” of Azerbaijani lobby.

New principles will be circulated by replacing France with EU – expert [ARM]
Armenian political analyst Manvel Sargsyan said that if Fance is replaced by the European Union as OSCE Minsk Group co-chair country, it will bring about new principles for the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. He also said that EU’s position over the NK conflict is rather unstable. He pointed to the fact that all the 27 member-states cannot have a unanimous view on the issue. “One thing is clear: the EU is seeking to implement the project so that the NKR will be open for it, so that it can have free access to it,” said he.

OSCE MG on Karabakh to shift attitude or yield to other mediators – expert [ENG]
Accorindg to this article, Armenian political analyst Sergey Minasyan said that the key achievement of the OSCE Minsk Group, which fully corresponds to its definition and justifies its existence, is the fact that there have been no military actions in the line of contact in the Nagorno-Karabakh zone for over 20 years. “Currently the conflicting sides have polar-opposite positions, and the Minsk Group is not able to bring them closer unless the sides express desire to do so” he said. On the other hand, OSCE MG does not want to press the sides for peace, as the “quick” peace will be unstable, he added.

OSCE MG on Karabakh to shift attitude or yield to other mediators-official [ENG]
Masis Mayilyan, Chairman of the Public Council for Foreign and Security Policy of Nagorno-Karabakh, said that it is difficult to assess the work of the OSCE Minsk Group on Karabakh over the last 20 years, as the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is still unresolved. He added that very little has been done during the whole period to re-engage Nagorno-Karabakh officials into the peace process talks. “There are both external and internal factors hampering the conflict settlement. The OSCE MG mediators have not updated their disposition to the settlement. They must take into account the precedents in the international relations and international law, bringing forth new legal realities,” he said.

Karabakh settlement not dependent on MG format – analyst [ENG]
Armenian political analyst Alexander Manasyan said that replacing France’s mandate with the EU in the OSCE Minsk Group is not essential to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement. According to the expert, Azerbaijan has “several times attempted to change the negotiation format. It is not the format that determines success signal in the the process, though that too, has a certain significance,” adding that regardless of the negotiation format, their success will depend on the problem’s wording.

Edward Nalbandian’s statement on 20th anniversary of OSCE Minsk Group [ARM]
According to this article, Armenia’s Foreign Minsiter Edward Nalbandian issued a statement on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the formation of the OSCE Minsk Group, in which he said that OSCE MG co-chairs have had a sifgnificant input in maintaining the ceasefire, easing tensions and ensuring the coninuity of talks between the parties to facilitate a peaceful settlement to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Changing Minsk Group format to allow Turkish-Azerbaijani lobby feel at ease – opinion [ENG]
According to this article, MP of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, Vahan Hovhannisyan, said that any change in the format of the OSCE Minsk Group will create favorable conditions for the “Turkish-Azerbaijani lobby”. He also said that the involvement of the European Union in the OSCE Minsk Group is dangerous because in case the EU is involved as Minsk Group, it will mean that the presidency of the position of co-chair will change on rotational basis which in turn means that various countries with variuos interests will assume that presidency.

Azerbaijanis dissatisfied with the activity of the OSCE Minsk Group [ENG]
This article says that the Atlas research center conducted a public poll among 500 Azerbaijanis ahead of the 20th anniversary of the OSCE Minsk Group and found out that only 12% of the respondents are pleased with the activities of the OSCE Minsk Group, while 88% said they are displeased. Asked which country should be replaced in the Minsk Group, the 18% said the USA, 27% mentioned Russia and 55% pointed to France. Seventy-eight per cent said they would like to see Turkey among the Minsk Group co-chairs, the 12% mentioned the EU and ten percent said Germany.

Replacing France by EU in the OSCE Minsk Group is a wrong thing to do – MP [ARM]
MP of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia, Artak Zakaryan, said that the initiative of replacing France by the EU as an OSCE co-chair country is a wrong. He said that the EU incorporates 27 states and it is not clear wehther they all will represent one point of view over the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict once the EU becomes an OSCE MG co-chair. The MP also underlined that the current co-chairs have been initiating peace talks over the Karabakh conflict and are well aware of what they are doing.

Turkey tries to shift OSCE Minsk Group format and have role in Karabakh process [ENG]
Armenian expert Aristakes Simavoryan said that Azerbaijan “does not want to yield Nagorno-Karabakh peace process due to Turkish lobby”. He also said that “Azerbaijan’s radical position and anti-Armenian statements by the authorities are conditioned by Turkey’s support, claiming for many years the ineffectiveness of the OSCE Minsk Group”.

Armenian president exposes Azeri counterpart’s disinformation [ENG]
This article says that Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan delivered a speech at the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, South Korea, wehre he said that “Azerbaijan is spreading disinformation not only on the developments related to Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, but also on the documents approved by the international community – the well-known UN resolutions on the Nagorno-Karabakh problem”. “Azerbaijan has forgotten it unleashed war and refused to put an end to hostilities. Moreover, Azerbaijan goes on issuing threats, refusing to
settle the Nagorno-Karabakh problem in conformity with an international law, Sargsyan said.

Minsk Group format has not exhausted itself – Russian MFA [ARM]
This article says that Alexander Lukashevich, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson, said that the OSCE Minsk Group has not failed in its efforts when it comes to the mediation of the Nagorno-Karabakh peace talks. He also said that the co-chair states are doing a constructive work in the settlement process. To prove his point, the Russian diplomat also said that thanks to the OSCE MG the number of documents adopted in relation to the Karabakh conflict have also increased.

Replacing France’s madate in the Minsk Group is unrealistic – Hakob Chakryan [ARM]
Armenian Turkologist Hakob Chakryan said that replacing France in the OSCE Minsk Group by the European Union is not realistic. According to him, for that to happen, first Armenian, and then Nagorno Karabakh should agree to it. Chakryan also said that the EU is not one country, but rather a union of 27 countries, which means they cannot possibly all have a unanimous position on the Karabakh conflict which is why the idea is not realistic. He also said that the OSCE MG co-chair countries will not allow Turkey to intervene in the karabakh peace talks.

Armenia and Azerbaijan not ready for Karabakh settlement yet – Bryza [ARM]
Former US ambassador to Azerbaijan Mathew Bryza said that Armenia and Azeraijan are not ready for the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict yet. However, he said the conflict will be resolved and that there is a framework agreement that the Armenian and the Azeraijani presidents should agree on. He also said that the heads of the two countries sould assume the responsibility of resolving the conflict, as well as trust each other. “That is a big political risk as the Armenian and the Azerbaijani societies are not ready to accept the settlement of the issue,” said he adding that the the two societies need to change their positions.

Mediators undertake measures not to complicate situation – D. Babayan [EGN]
According to this article, Davit Babayan, head of the public relations department at the presidential administration of the unrecognized Republic of Nagorno Karabakh, said that during their meetings with Ambassador Kasprzyk they always discussed issues related to the violation of the terms of the ceasefire regime. “Stepanakert has repeatedly expressed commitment to launch mechanisms investigating the incidents that occur on the contact line,” he said, adding that “Azerbaijan isn’t committed to the recommendations of mediating states, but contributes to more tensions on the contact line”. Babayan also said that the international community must develop certain mechanisms to “make Azerbaijan be constructive”.

OSCE Minsk Group has not fulfilled key task – analyst [ENG]
Armenian political analyst Manvel Gumashyan said that the key role of the OSCE Minsk Group is to be preventing resumption of hostilities in Nagorno Karabakh. The analyst also said that the expectations from the MG diametrically differ for the conflicting parties. Armenia, according to him, assesses the efforts as positive, while Azerbaijan continuously shows dissatisfaction. “In fact the MG has not fulfilled its key task. However, it is positive that the mediators are hampering war resumption,” he said.

Iranian-Azerbaijani tension to Armenia’s advantage [ENG]
Armenian analyst Sargis Asatryan said that the current tension between Iran and Azerbaijan is advantageous to Armenia. Speaking of Israel’s possible attack against Iran, the expert said that Azerbaijan will hurry to gain benefits and take actions against Nagorno-Karabakh. “Given Azerbaijan’s belligerent statements voiced every day, the country is sure to take advantage of any opportunity. But it’s hard to say in such circumstances to what extent Russia will assist us,” he noted.

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