Monthly Review - Saturday, January 1, 2011 0:01 - 1 Comment
Digest of Azerbaijani Media for Dec 15-30
by News Digest
This excerpt is from an interview with Ruslan Kharabua, expert of the Caucasus Department at the CIS institute. It is an interesting overview of OSCE and recent Astana summit as well as future prospects of the conflict. Kharabua argues that while he hopes that 2011 becomes crucial in attaining a breakthrough in conflict, it wont be the case. And so wont be the coming years, especially as OSCE Minks Group continues to persistently fail at getting to anything close as peaceful resolution of NK.
As Armenian parliament adopted draft amendments to the law on “international agreements”, Azerbaijani MPs called this step as a weak maneuver to simply sustain Armenia’s current leadership in power. According to the new amendments, “the law would regulate relations with the unrecognized subjects of international law in the matters of ensuring peace, human rights, humanitarian, economic or financial aid”.
This nuisance is merely an indication of Sargysan’s team in actually not being able to recognize the separatist regime of NK commented Azerbaijani parliament member Rasim Musabeyov.
As a result of recent ceasefire violation by the Armenian Armed Forces on December 17th, Azerbaijan’s Defense ministry warned Armenia that if such acts continue to occur, the country will be facing some harsh consequences. A shell that fell near a settlement controlled by the local military forces resulted in no casualties.
The article looks at recent Astana Summit organized by the OSCE and the institution’s capacity as a peace broker in the region. Ariel Sheron, leading expert on Eurasia at the Heritage Foundation said in an interview with Trend, that the summit was a disappointment in terms of seeing any feasible results on the NK conflict. In fact, the current prospects are bleak especially as both countries missed such an opportunity during the OSCE summit. Adding, that in 2011, NK wont be on top of the US agenda and its priority list, especially as this is going to be a year crucial for operations of coalition forces in Afghanistan.
Contrary to Cohen, Kazakh Ambassador to Azerbaijan, Serik Primbetov saw Astana Summit [December 15th, ENG] and the statement adopted by the heads of state (calling for an early resolution of the conflict) as a breakthrough in the conflict over NK.
Head of the Hay Dat (Armenian Cause) office Giro Manoyan comments on the prospects of NK status in case there is a war and recent statement made by Sargysan on recognizing NK if Azerbaijan begins a war. Manoyan argues that Armenia should in fact join NK rather than de jure recognize the territory. And yet, he believes there wont be recognition of NK on 2011 agenda.
These were the words from Sargysan’s speech during the 20th anniversary of the Republican Party of Armenia (RPA). The article sums up some parts of the president’s speech focusing on NK. The president refers to Azerbaijan’s rhetoric as propaganda balloon undermining Armenia’s power and to explode any moment. However, President noted that the goal is not to win the war as Armenia already done it but to actually reach solution through just means.
This is what director of the Center for Political Innovation and Technologies, Mubariz Ahmedoglu said at a press conference while commenting on any possible war between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Ahmedoglu, also emphasized few developments that took place this year with regards to the conflict and its resolution process. According to him, OSCE was among those few organizations that took bold steps- “demonstrated courage”- in a number of issues related to NK, for instance, using the phrase “occupied territories” or using Khankendi instead of Stepanakert.
In addition, special attention was paid to military build up in Azerbaijan with intensive military exercises, and growing expenditure allocated to the country’s military force.
Ali Hasanov, head of the Azerbaijani Presidential Administration Social and Political Department, called Armenia unconstructive and unwilling to resolve the conflict in an interview with Trend newspaper.
Hasanov put two choices in front of Armenia- either continuing its current status quo or actually going forward with the peaceful resolution.
He also placed emphasis on Azerbaijan’s regional influence, while speaking on the failure of the Zurich agreement between Turkey and Armenia in 2009 as Azerbaijan’s decisive influence in any of the regional initiatives or interstate projects. Once again, the head of the department stressed Azerbaijan’s growing strength and dynamic development and Armenia’s continuing stagnation as a comparison for who is who in the region.
US Ambassador to Armenia, Marie Jovanovich believes that recent OSCE summit and the declaration reached there by the presidents of conflicting countries and the Minks Group co- chairs is an important step taken towards positive direction and will only affect the resolution process positively. The ambassador also positively assessed commitment of the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan during this summit.
Jovanovich while noting on possibility of an outbreak of hostilities between the two countries, she said she was convinced that the two countries fully understand that this wont be a solution especially as both presidents agreed “that the only path for reconciliation is through peace talks”.
UK- based LINKS published second part of its “Karabakh: the big debate” report where it covers views of Azerbaijani political parties on the question of NK. Based on the report, majority of Azerbaijani political parties unite in seeking a solution to the conflict based on the territorial integrity factor. This in return means that NK must be returned to Azerbaijan together with other currently under occupation territories. The report also notes of a widespread recognition that Nagorno Karabakh should be given extensive autonomy within Azerbaijan with some parties emphasizing deployment of international peacekeeping forces.
(RFE/RL) Radio Liberty Azerbaijan Service
The first vice speaker of the Azerbaijani parliament criticized Russia for selling arms to Armenia therefore impeding the resolution process of the conflict. However Asgerov added, no matter how many arms Russia sells to Armenia, Azerbaijan has twice as much. Adding that today, it has become clear that the resolution of the conflict is nearing and that the day when the occupied territories are returned to Azerbaijan is not that far away.
This is a summary of a radio program on Azadliq waves that was covering the current status of NK conflict, its resolution process and internal dynamics happening in Armenia and Azerbaijan.
The guest of the program, political analyst- Elda Namazov, looked at internal debate in Armenia and gave few historical facts to his argument whereby he said that the reason why Ter- Petrosyan was brought down was because back in 1997, when Minsk group brought a set of proposals to both presidents, they both accepted it, however, when Ter- Petrosyan wrote an open letter to the Armenian public telling them that one day Azerbaijan will get stronger and so we must accept current proposals now and resolve this conflict peacefully.
According to the political analyst, 13 years later, after Armenia saw two more presidents (Sarkysyan is still in power) the prospects for peace are getting bleaker.
Deputy speaker of Azerbaijan’s Nationali Parliament Bahar Muradova, called President Sargysan’s recent statements as bellicose adding that statements of this nature are intended for internal debate only, i.e., Armenian society and to suppress pressure of internal forces on the country’s current leadership. Referring to Armenian president’s war rhetoric, deputy speaker called these statements as an obstacle to the principles of peaceful resolution of the conflict adopted during Astana Summit 3+2 format (Azerbaijan and Armenian presidents, and heads of delegation of the OSCE Minsk Group co- chair states).
Muradova, also stressed the current situation whereby Armenia might have won the war but that Azerbaijan still poses full right to liberate its lands from occupation according to international norms and will take advantage of this sooner than later.
An opinion peace, the author of this article looks at NK in 2010 and the prospects for peace in the upcoming year. According to the author, Armenia’s current leadership prefers to continue in keeping the conflict unresolved as a means to maintain its current status quo. More so, author argues, if any progress is achieved Sargsyan’s current status will be severely undermined.
The unsuccessful Astana summit proves this argument if not makes overall process of the resolution of NK conflict depressing even though some joint statements were made.
What might play more into the overall process of the conflict is EU’s more active role in 2011, perhaps even a possible partnership with the OSCE Minsk Group.
Ara Sahakhan, Vice- President of the Russian Academy of Geopolitical Problems speaks of possible prospects of resolution in this article. According to Sahakyan, the conflict will retain its current status quo in the new year as well given both leaders of the conflicting countries benefit from the current status quo for individual political means, i.e., to retain power.
In his press statement, Elnur Aslanov, head of the Azerbaijani presidential administration’s political analysis and information provision department called on international institutions to take more concrete steps on NK question, demonstration more political will as Azerbaijan might resort to other means of conflict resolution if current situation does not change.
This call for action, comes right after another article [December 23rd, ENG] that was published a day earlier on Trend.az where Deputy Prime Minister and head of the State Refugees and IDP Committee, Ali Hasaov accused international organizations for absence of interest when it comes to the resolution of the NK question. Hasanov doesn’t mention any specific names, nor does he refer to any specific institutions in his statement.
In this article, Elkhan Polukhov, Azerbaijan Foreign Ministry’s Spokesman, responds to Armenian Parliament Vice Speaker’s Samvel Nikoyan’s statemtns on UN resolutions and Astana Summit. Claiming that while internationally Azerbaijan is recognized as a victim in this war, Polukhov says that Armenia and its political leaders for some reason are in search to prove it otherwise to its people.
Polukhov calls on the Armenian authorities to prepare for justice and an end to the occupation, advising that much could change in Armenia by doing so, starting from the country’s economic recovery.
Commenting on recent attacks by the Armenian forces on Azerbaijan Rzayev, said that all of this is due to the fact that Armenia never got what it deserved previously when it got involved in similar actions. And this is why he believes Armenia has become insolent. And the recent meeting in Astana, also showed that OSCE as well has no concrete position towards Armenia either said Rzayev. According to the MP, if back in the day, Armenia was required to fulfill UN’s four resolutions then none of this would have been happening, and Armenia wouldn’t be showcasing its “strength”. Rzayev also noted that he does not dismiss the fact that by shooting, Armenia was trying to provoke Azerbaijani forces.
Answering questions posed by the OSCE’s magazine, the Lithuanian Foreign Minister, said that much needs to be done in terms of resolving the NK conflict and it needs to be done quick as the process is hitting some deadends.
Namazov’s solution is based on European institutions calling on Armenia to come to its senses, adopt proposal put forward by the OSCE Minks Group and move towards peaceful resolution of the conflict. The political scientist doesn’t see any other way. And so if in 2011, there are no concrete steps taken by the European institutions to convince Yerevan then all means for peaceful resolution will be depleted.
In an interview with Lebanese journal ‘Al Havadis’ Azerbaijan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, called Armenia unconstructive in its stance towards resolution of the NK conflict while adding that the country is only trying to prolong the conflict for several more years, which is totally unacceptable by Azerbaijan.
The “unconstructive behavior” argument seem to persist in many other statements made by parliament members or political scientists in Azerbaijan. One of these statements was made by Fazail Ibrahimli [December 27th, RUS]– Parliament Member, who argued that Armenia was holding to unconstructive approach regarding NK for the whole year. More so, the MP also argued that Armenia is busy with spreading unsubstantiated information on the conflict. However, this in return only damages Armenia as its Armenia that will be living in a state on of constant fear as long as the conflict remains unresolved.
This is from an interview with Vladimir Socor, member of the Jamestown Foundation. Socor argues that failure at Astana summit to meet any concrete steps was not something to be surprised of, given that everyone knows that OSCE as an institution is not an effective one. OSCE is not even involved directly in the regulation of the conflict said Socor in his interview, which means that its role is only symbolic.
Socor also answers questions about US lessened involved in this conflict in 2010 and looks at some of the reasons behind such move. Nothing much should be expected of US involvement in this conflict either for as long as US is dealing with Afghanistan and Iran.
It looks like the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry was deeply unhappy when Tomasz Poreba, member of the European Parliament visited NK. While the Azerbaijani foreign ministry claims that if Mr. Poreba went to NK to acquaint himself with the region and internal political debate he must have consulted with Azerbaijani government first. To which, the Delegation of the EU and the Polish Embassy responded with a note, saying that the EU respects the international principles of territorial integrity and that any visit to a territory of any state should be done in accordance with the international law in cooperation with the country at stake.
Mr. Poreba’s visit to NK (who is also the keynote speaker on Armenia in the parliament,) was followed with a protest note sent to the head of the EU delegation in Azerbaijan and the Polish ambassador by the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry. As a result, while Mr. Poreba explained his reasons for visit, he was declared as a persona non grata by the local authorities.
In another article published earlier that week [December 22nd, ENG], Azerbaijani political scientist Fikret Sadikhov, went as far as to all the EU institution “authoritative” and uneducated, sarcastically adding that its members “should receive a diploma in geography” as they surely are aware that NK is an integral part of Azerbaijan. Sadikhov called decision of MEP to visit NK as disrespecting Azerbaijani interests and overall being indifferent to what is going on, on the territory of Azerbaijan.
In a much harsher note [December 21st, ENG], Azerbaijan’s MP, Ganira Pashayeva called on adoption of a law that would declare persons visiting Azerbaijan’s occupied territories without permission.
Turkey’s foreign minister, calls for resolution of the NK conflict as it poses long- term implications to the overall relations between Armenia and Turkey. According to Davutoglu any progress in relations between these two countries rests on the resolution of the NK conflict as well as Genocide debate. Davutoglu was quoted saying: “people in Congress” do not know any substance and history, are trying to put pressure on Turkey.
Similarly, in article that appeared on Trend.az on December 12th [ENG], writes of recent statements made by Turkey’s President Abdullah Gul on the status of NK and its soon resolution. According to the president, Turkey looks for having good relations with all of its neighbors, including Armenia, however, for this to happen, Karabakh must be resolved, lands must liberated from occupation and all of the displaced people must return to their homes.
Samir Hamidov told DAY.az in his interview that the US and Armenia relations with follow its current pace and wont hit any dead ends resulting in negative setbacks. Armenian lobby is pretty strong in the US, not to mention Obama’s close ties with the Armenian lobby and the role it played during the elections. And while commenting on NK conflict, Hamidov said that he doesn’t think that any concrete steps will be taken while negotiations will continue at its current pace.
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