Monthly Review - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 0:00 - 0 Comments
Digest of Armenian Media for November 1-14
by News Digest
This article says that Armenia’s permanent representative to UN Karen Nazaryan said in an address at the 37th meeting of the UN General Assembly’s Third Committee that Azerbaijan’s “encroachments upon Karabakh Armenians’ right to self-determination resulted in destruction, deportation and aggression, and, by still preaching hatred against Armenia and the Armenians, in general, Azerbaijan is preparing for a new war”. Karen Nazaryan noted that Azerbaijan “continues to circulate fabrications to conceal this unacceptable behavior, and that the manifestation of racial discrimination jeopardizes the forming of a climate of trust, and consequently, also jeopardizes the Karabakh peace talks”.
According to this article, former European Union Special Envoy to the South Caucasus Peter Semneby said that the Karabakh conflict continues to escalate and the situation over the conflict is drawing into a deadlock. “The internal logic of this conflict is conceived of serious threats. There is a real risk of abrupt escalation of the conflict; the sides have started an arms race which is not weakening but is more destabilizing the situation,” said he. Further, Semneby said that the ceasefire agreement is a document that only a few OSCE observers are following. He also said that the EU can take some steps to strengthen trust between the parties.
According to this article, Alexei Ostrovski Chairman of the Committee on CIS Issues in Russia’s parliament said that Azerbaijan’s new status as non-permanent member of the UN Security Council will affect the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. “I think that Azerbaijan’s new status will affect the settlement of the Karabakh conflict,” said he, adding that Russia does not intend to distinguish between South Caucasus countries as friends and enemies. “We do not intend to annihilate Armenia in the eyes of Azerbaijan,” said he, adding that nor does Russia intend to annihilate Azerbaijan in the eyes of Armenia.
Turkey could play an important role in the decades-long conflict in the disputed area of Nagorno-Karabakh, Lamberto Zanier, the newly elected OSCE Secretary General said in an interview. Zanier noted the conflict is especially important to Turkey in its relations with neighbors Azerbaijan and Armenia. “I am not talking about a formal role in the negotiations, but in real terms. Turkey is bordering both countries involved in the conflict,” he said. Further Zanier emphasized that in the end the power lies with the member countries.
According to this article, Al Jazeera TV Channel said that in 2012 meeting between the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents will spearheaded by the US secretary of state Hilary Clinton and her Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu. “The scheduled meeting between the presidents may take place upon the initiative of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. In case the meeting fails, Baku will start thinking seriously over resolving the problem by the use of force,” the channel said. It also added that “The year 2012 is going to be decisive for the entire region”.
Ukrainian expert Oleg Smirnov said that Azerbaijan will try to gain maximum benefits from its non-permanent membership in the UN Security Council. According to him, Washington and Brussels have strengthened their efforts towards the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict after Russia’s failure in the process. Further, he noted that the Azerbaijani leadership is attempting to use that energy trump card, signaling to Washington that it is ready to participate in the implementation of the Trans-Caspian energy project in case the West adheres to its position on Karabakh settlement.
According to this article, Armenia’s Foreign Minster Edward Nalbandian said that the fact that Azerbaijan became a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council does not mean that the international community backs Azerbaijan’s position over the settlement of the Karabakh conflict. Referring to views that Azerbaijan will shift the Karabakh issue to the UN agenda, Nalbandian said that the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairing states are permanent members of the UN SC and that they have on several occasions said that the Karabakh conflict should be resolved within the OSCE Minsk Group. “I think the clear answer is provided, and there is no need to go into emotions because of Azerbaijan’s statements,” said he.
This article says that the Egyptian mobile operator Mobinil stopped cooperation with Karabakh Telecom upon Azerbaijan’s demand. Shortly after the Azerbaijani embassy in Cairo learned about the cooperation between the two companies, Baku sent a diplomatic note to Cairo, demanding to immediately stop cooperating with Karabakh Telecom. Following the diplomatic note the Egyptian company stopped its business with the Karabakhi mobile operator.
This article says that Armenian Foreign Minsiter Edward Nalbandian spoke about Azerbaijan’s accession as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council and said that it does not deserve much attention. Nalbandian also said that most of the statements over the issue are based on sentiments, assuming that Azerbaijan will take the Karabakh conflict to the UN agenda. “There is no need to pay that much attention and importance to Azerbaijan presence there,” said he. Nalbandian also noted that Azerbaijan has put itself into a blind alley as the position of the international community is in line with that of Armenia when it comes to the Karabakh conflict.
This article says that Senor Hasratyan, the spokesperson for the Defense Army of Nagorno Karabakh, denied Azerbaijani allegations that the Azerbaijani lieutenant Aliyev Emi Elmaroglu was killed by the Armenian troops on the Line of Contact. “This is a regular misinformation and propaganda that they spread in their society,” said he, adding that it is always the Azerbaijani side that violates the ceasefire accord. “They violate it so that to tell their society that the war is not over and they intend to return the territories,” Hasratyan explained.
This new article says that Armenian Turkologist Hakob Chakryan said that Turkey is not interested in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. According to him, it is simply not beneficial for Turkey to see a strong and rebellious Armenia as it would be very difficult to dictate conditions to Armenia then. Further, he said that there is not development in the Armenia-Turkey reconciliation process, adding that there will be none in the future either.
According to this news item, Europe Program Director at the International Crisis Group Sabine Freizer said during a visit to Baku that if Turkey intends to contribute to the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, it should first of all normalize relations with Armenia. Saying that Turkey has interesting ides related to the settlement of the Karabakh conflict, Freizer noted, however, that Turkey has a border problem with Armenia, and therefore should solve issues with Armenia first.
This news article says that the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group submitted their annual report of activities in light of the upcoming OSCE Ministerial Council in Vilnius. According to a statement on the OSCE official website, the co-chairs noted that in the past year they visited the region eight times and held fourteen separate meetings in various locations with Azerbaijani President Aliyev and Armenian President Sargsyan. The co-chairs also crossed the Line of Contact on foot four times in the past fourteen months, demonstrating that the Line is not a permanent barrier between peoples of the region and that military coordination in implementing the ceasefire is possible when all the sides are willing.
International Crisis Group’s Europe Program Director Sabine Freizer said, according to this article, said that there will be no progress in the settlement of the Karabakh conflict. Speaking about Turkey’s role in the talks, Freizer said Ankara should first of all normalize relations with Armenia. “Elections will be held in the co-chairing countries, Russia, US and France, in the coming two years. Therefore, I think it is unlikely that there will be any recovery in the negotiations,” she said.
This article says that pro-Armenian Congressman Adam Schiff sent a letter to the head of Senate subcommittees, asking them to call on USAID to allocate at least $10 million to Nagorno-Karabakh in aid. In the letter Schiff wrote that “today given Azerbaijan’s rhetoric, it is far more important than ever that the US aid the people of Nagorno-Karabakh”. He also said that the US aid will help the Karabakhi people “not only overcome humanitarian crises caused by the Turkish and Azerbaijan blockade” but will also contribute to stability in the region, “demonstrating our unchanged intention for a peaceful settlement” of the Karabakh conflict.
Sabine Freizer, Director of European Program at the International Crisis Group, said that a shift of power in Armenia, will affect the outcome of the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. She also said she has no expectations for any development in the Karabakh issue given in the next two years there will be elections in the OSCE Minsk Group co-chair countries, as well as in Armenia and Azerbaijan. “Holding meetings between the conflicting parties at the civil society level is acceptable. If there is a shift of power in Armenia, that will definitely have an effect on the settlement of the Karabakh conflict,” she said.
According to this article, Irish Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore said that Ireland backs the active role Russia plays in the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict as an OSCE Minsk Group co-chair country. “The OSCE plays an important role in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, particularly those which are protracted and are affecting the region,” Gilmore said in an interview with Russian Kommersant daily. Further, Gilmore said Russia is an important member of the OSCE and plays a very active role in the organization. President Dmitry Medvedev and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov have worked much towards the settlement of the Karabakh conflict, he said, adding that he welcomes and supports their efforts.
The article says that Karabakh’s infrastructure policy is implemented not based on strategic convenience but on political setting. As an example the author points out to Karabakhi authorities’ decision in 1996 not to use raised funds for the construction of the Aghdam road that links Karabakh to Armenia. According to the author, the reason the project was not approved then, was that the authorities feared that those territories would one day be returned. Such “defeatist’ policy of Karabakhi authorities’ causes negative sentiments among the Karabakhi people, the author explains. If the Aghdam road is not built, if Aghdam’s electricity supplies are not resumed and nor is the water supply system restored, it means the authorities are planning to give back those territories, the author concludes.
According to this news article, Stephen Blank, a professor at the Washington-based Army War College Strategic Studies Institute, wrote in an analysis piece on Nagorno-Karabakh peace process that a new war over Nagorno-Karabakh would be a disaster for all the parties. According to him, the only party that would benefit in that case would probably be Russia who could then try to implement its “neo-imperial vision over the corpses of the ensuing fatalities”. Further, Blank mentions that the recent failures of the negotiations are unsurprising. “But as current history and the present trends in the Caucasus suggest, unless a genuine mediation moves forward, negotiations would likely become a surprising rather than a likely outcome”, he noted.
According to this news item MP from the Republican of Armenia party Hovhannes Sahakyan said that Azerbaijan will use its new status at the UN Security Council for pro-Azerbaijani settlement of the Karabakh conflict. “Azerbaijan will surely use its status of non-permanent member in UN Security Council to display their ability of gaining success,” Sahakyan said. Further, he reminded that Armenia’s Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian has expressed a clear position over the issue. “After Kazan meeting, Azerbaijan attempts to distract the real course, which the mediating states understand. Azerbaijan is playing a double game, which cannot contribute to the peaceful resolution of NK conflict,” said H. Sahakyan.
This article says that Russian political analyst Alexander Krilov, while speaking about Azerbaijan’s non-permanent status at the UN Security Council, said that it is obvious that Azerbaijan has during the past 20 years designed a balanced political line and managed to successfully cooperate with world’s main players and become a non-permanent member of the UN SC. Speaking about how Azerbaijan’s new status could affect Karabakh talks, he said it would depend on how Baku would use that chance. However, according to him, the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict can be resolved only through peaceful compromises which the conflicting parties themselves should first find.
According to this article, Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store said at a meeting with his Armenian counterpart Edward Nalbandian that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict must be resolved by means of peaceful political and diplomatic efforts, within the OSCE Minsk Group.
Asked about Norway’s attitude to “Azerbaijan’s militant rhetoric”, Minister Jonas Gahr Store said that his country has good political and economic relations with Azerbaijan. Norwegian companies are actively working in Azerbaijan’s energy sector, particularly in the country’s oil industry. So they have to respect that country’s laws, he added.
This article says that Hungarian President Pal Schmitt said that that his country’s position on the Nagorno Karabakh conflict remains unchanged which means it should be resolved in line with international law. “As was stressed in the course of recent consultations, it’s important to seek progress in Karabakh settlement in full compliance with international law. A sustainable settlement must be achieved through peaceful means, within the existing negotiation format,” Pal Schmitt said. Further, he said that in this sense “the OSCE Minsk Group has the lead”. “The settlement must be based on Madrid Principles, which is absolutely necessary in maintaining and reviving the negotiation process to find a mutually acceptable solution,” he said.
According to this article, Chairman of Ukraine Rada (parliament) Vladimir Litvin said that Kiev is willing to assist the parties with the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement process. “Ukraine is ready to assist in the Karabakh settlement talks within the Minsk Group of OSCE,” the Ukrainian official was quoted as telling his Azerbaijani counterpart, Oktay Asadov, in St Petersburg.
This article says that Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Alexander Lukashevich said at a briefing in Moscow that the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs will visit the region in late November to mediate the next round of talks over the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The article also reminds that the OSCE foreign ministers are set to meet in December and that the co-chairs will in all probability try to show that there is some kind of progress in Karabakh talks.
According to this article, Azerbaijani MP Rovshan Revaz said that Armenians and Azerbaijanis from Nagorno-Karabakh are scheduled to hold a meeting in Berlin on November 28. Revaz stressed that it is the Azerbaijani community that is interested in holding such kinds of meetings. “Those meetings may contribute to the settlement of the issue. The more frequently the representatives of the two communities meet, the sooner the moment of the settlement of this conflict will come,” said Revaz. He also did not rule out that the Armenian side might not attend the meeting.
According to this news article, Azerbaijani analyst Rasim Musabekov said that those who think that Azerbaijan’s membership in the UN Security Council will pave way for settling the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict are on the wrong path. “Some think that Azerbaijan will conquer the United Nations by becoming a non-permanent member of its Security Council. But that’s a wrong view,” Musabekov was quoted as saying. Further, he referred to the examples of Turkey and Pakistan, noting that neither of the countries managed to settle their conflicts with Cyprus or Kashmir, despite being elected UNSC members several times. “So I recommend against being engaged in self-deception,” he said.
Thomas de Waal, a senior associate in Russia and Eurasia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace said that the “independence of Kosovo has served as a precedent for Nagorno-Karabakh”. “Although Western statesmen say Kosovo cannot be a model, statements don’t do it, as they are born in people’s minds. I think it has created a precedent in Caucasus, it has changed some calculations,” de Waal said at a conference in Yerevan. Further, he said that is all the problems are solved and the issue of Karabakh’s status is postponed, the parties might get on a right path.
This article says that Hamlet Harutyunyan, MP for the patriotic union Artsakh, said at a press conference that the Karabakhi people trust only Armenia’s President Serzh Sargsyan when it comes to the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. According to him Armenia has never had such a weight at the international arena. “And it is quite clear that it is on this president that people pine hopes,” said Harutyunyan. Further, he said he was sure that if asked which political figure they trust in the settlement of the Karabakh conflict, most of the Karabakhi people would name Serzh Sargsyan. He also said that the peace talks are currently in stagnation.
Grigori Afanasyan, a Karabakhi scientist, said that Azerbaijan should be glad over the opening of the Stepanakert Airport as a period of changes is coming when Baku should have its own contribution in the form of ensuring the safety of those flights. According to Afanasyan, flights may be conducted to various directions, but flights to Baku should not be ruled out. Moreover, in his option, the TV-radio platform should have already been opened for the Armenian and Azerbaijani societies in an attempt to give them a chance to know each other well. “People should be respected. This is the only peaceful settlement to the Karabakh conflict,” said he.
This article republished from the Economist says that Nagorno-Karabakh is often described as one of several post-Soviet “frozen conflicts”. “However, as the war in 2008 between Russia and Georgia over the breakaway territory of South Ossetia showed, ice can melt quickly,” reads the article. Further, it says that outsiders have made a lot of efforts to facilitate a solution to the conflict since 1995 – but to no avail. Though, the article adds, the outline of a deal seems clear: Nagorno-Karabakh will return to Azerbaijan much of the land it won in the war, then, after an “interim” period, the people of the territory, including Azeri refugees living outside, will vote on its final status.
According to this news article, Azerbaijani Deputy Foreign Minister Araz Azimov said that The OSCE Minsk Group has not yet achieved any success in its efforts towards the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. He also said that a compromise settlement does not necessarily mean that Azerbaijan will yield lands to Armenia. “A settlement based on mutual concessions does not imply the return of any territory to Armenia. The co-existence of two communities can be considered a mutual concession,” Azimov said in an interview with the Austrian publication Der Standard.
Azerbaijani political analyst Rasim Aghaev said in an interview that the most actual issues in the Transcaucasus region are its protracted conflicts in Nagorno-Karabakh, Abkhazia and South Ossetia. However, the settlement of the Karabakh conflict is decisive in the implementation of the “Great Caucasus” – a project Aghaev claims the US is implementing to bring post-Soviet countries out of Russia’s orbit of influence. “If it is solved in Azerbaijan’s favor, it means it will be hard for the Americans to solve those issues with Armenia, and vice versa,” Aghaev said. In his opinion, the Karabakh issue will be settled together with the Armenia-Turkey normalization,” he explained.
Russian political analyst, Alexander Sotnichenko said that the OSCE Minsk Group did what it was supposed to do – stop the bloodshed. However, it failed to do anything more. “Now we can say that the OSCE MG is in fact engaged in freezing of the conflict, not eager to reach further resolution,” said he. According to Sotnicheko, this is conditioned by the fact that certain world powers, for example, the EU, do not want any intensification in the Southern Caucasus either. He also said he believes that the Karabakh conflict, as well as problems of the Caucasus on the whole, should be transferred to the regional framework for consideration of Turkey and Russia.
Russian political analyst Alexander Karavayev said that the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs’ visit to South Caucasus scheduled late in November would be another routine visit to South Caucasus. According to him, the co-chairs cannot offer anything new in the context of conflict settlement. “I do not expect anything new from this visit. Minsk Group co-chairs would hardly come up with fresh, previously untouched suggestions that could interest the both sides,” said the expert.
Spokesperson of the de facto President of Nagorno Karabakh, Davit Babayan, commenting on a statement by Azerbaijani deputy FM Araz Azimov, said that the conflict is not between Armenia and Azerbaijan, but rather between Karabakh and Azerbaijan. “Thus, all issues should be settled through the direct dialogue between Stepanakert and Baku,” Babayan stated. Further, he said that if Azerbaijan is ready to recognize Nagorno-Karabakh with current borders, then Karabakh is not against Azerbaijanis return and their full integration, otherwise Azerbaijan demonstrates destructive approach.
According to this article, Armenian political analyst Manvel Sargsyan, commenting on a statement by the European Parliament MP Kristian Vigenin that the OSCE Minsk Group French co-chair Bernard Fassier may be replaced by EU foreign policy commissioner Catherine Ashton, said that it was talked about long ago, particularly after the Kazan meeting, but more than a half year later now there is nothing new on the issue. He also said if this happens, the OSCE Minsk Group will have to accord it with the conflicting parties too. “Eventually it is the conflicting parties that should agree to it,” said he.
This article says that Bulgarian journalist Tsvetana Paskaleva will present next week a 7-part, 3.5-hour-long film, titled The Wounds of Karabakh, in six languages. The film deals with the history of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, from its outbreak to the “liberation of Shoushi”. The film was patented and released in the United States. At present, this is the first documentary dealing with the history of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
This article says that the Russian newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta – commenting on EU High Representative Catherine Ashton’s upcoming visit to the South Caucasus – wrote that the West wishes to pull Russia out of the Nagorno-Karabakh peace deal. The paper says that during her visit Ashton will focus on possibilities of intensifying the EU’s role in conflict resolution efforts, particularly in the Karabakh settlement process. “In the meantime, the United States is said to be ready to seize from Russia the role of a chief broker in the deal,” reads the article.
Russian political analyst Andrei Areshov said that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is not subject for trade between Moscow and Baku, adding that though some people would like to trade on it. In his opinion, the Karabakh issue is a means for world powers, such as Russia, US, EU, to exert pressure on each other, and to penetrate into the South Caucasus region. Further, he said that the Karabakh conflict is obviously not the issue that Russia can resolve or exert pressure on Armenia. According to Areshov, even though Karabakh is not recognized, it is de facto a political subject in the world arena.
Member of the European Parliament Christian Vigenin said in an interview, according to this article, that the EU high commissioner Catherine Asthon’s upcoming visit to South Caucasus countries attests to the fact that the EU seeks an active role in the settlement of protracted conflicts in the region, including the the Nagrono-Karabakh conflict. Being unresolved for several years now, this conflict, according to him, has caused much tension in the area. “Insignificant progress has been registered till now. I think that EU’s more active efforts will change the situation,” said Vigenin.
According to this article Director of European Program at the International Crisis Group Sabina Freizer said she cannot say whether Azerbaijan’s non-permanent status at the UN Security Council will anyhow affect the settlement of the Karabakh conflict. “I don’t know. I think it would not be wise of Azerbaijan to push the Karabakh issue ahead of time. They should act quite diplomatically over pushing that issue foreword,” said she. Further, she said that the main way out of the current situation is reaching an agreement over the Basic Principles. She also recommended the parties to reach an agreement over the six Basic Principles, put them aside and then work on the details they disagree.
According to this article, Russian political analyst Maxim Minayev said in an interview that by obtaining a non-permanent status at the UN Security Council Azerbaijan received a chance to start a far more intensive dialogue on a new platform with international mediators. Besides, Azerbaijan is getting a chance to involve new mediators in the Karabakh peace process from the UN Security Council. “Baku has been given a chance to take the first steps in Karabakh settlement,” explained Minayev, adding that one such new mediator might be Turkey, if it normalizes its relations with Armenia.
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