Monthly Review - Tuesday, February 1, 2011 0:02 - 0 Comments
Digest of Azerbaijani Media for Jan 15-31
by News Digest
(RFE/RL) Radio Liberty Azerbaijan Service
Sergey Minasyan, Deputy of the Caucasus Institute speaks on the two countries’ military preparations. He believes, the two sides continue approaching each other with much caution. “There is no economic stability in the Southern Caucasus. Because of this, the sides are trying to maintain military and technical balance. By increasing potentials, the two sides are trying to bypass one another”.
In the meantime, Uzeyir Cafarov, military expert, says, Azerbaijan never said it wont resort to force if the conflict was not resolved peacefully. In fact, Cafarov stressed Russia’s role in the resolution of this conflict adding that if there was no outside pressure, it would have been possible to solve this problem through military means.
Author’s comment: and as the resolution process lingers further, negative attitudes and perceptions grow stronger, leaving less opportunities for peaceful rhetoric not only on government level but also among the communities of the two states.
In a meeting at the Cabinet of Ministers, President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, spoke of his certainty that Azerbaijan’s strong army must say its word in Armenia- Azerbaijan, Nagorno- Karabakh conflict and will say it when the time comes.
President stressed the country’s focus on building a strong army adding that the enemy is well aware of this and is shaking from fear. And their recent statement full of hysteria, anger and fear are examples of this. And yet, having said all of this, the President also said that he would like this issue solved by peaceful means.
A voice from Armenia, Hovannes Hovannisian, leader of the Liberal Party of Armenia argues that the new war is inevitable unless there is a shift in Armenian leadership as current one exhausted any means to peaceful resolution of the conflict.
This lengthy article looks at the relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia and presents a subjective analysis of historical developments, including any conflicts, wars, atrocities and killings taken place between the two countries. Written with a sole purpose but to show Armenia as an aggressor and violator of pretty much most of the international conventions and agreements the article goes as far as to claim the other side is a liar, with no history and culture. The author of this article, Mammad Jafarli, argues that Armenia’s sole purpose is to “complete annexation of Karabakh” and everything it does is simply for this goal only.
Boris Kagarlitski spoke to DAY.az commenting on the settlement process of NK and its further developments. Director of the Institute for Globalization and Social Movements, says that current situation evolving around NK settlement process, only benefits official Yerevan. Because as soon as there are any concrete steps taken towards the settlement process, Armenia will have to make some serious concessions. Kagarlitski thinks Armenia will continue extending the process for as long as it can, thinking there wont be a military solution to the problem. Official Yerevan hopes that even if official Baku decides to go to war, international community wont let this happen not to mention the first one who start to fight, might as well be considered as an aggressor country.
However, Kagarlitski also thinks that going into war will be the right thing to do for Baku. Today, all the cards are in Baku’s hands. The question that remains is will Baku be able to force Yerevan to sit at a negotiation table producing concrete result without resorting to force.
(RFE/RL) Radio Liberty Azerbaijan Service
Speaking in Cyprus, President Sargysan, spoke of the future of Nagorno Karabakh. In his speech President of Armenia accused Azerbaijan of wanting to resolve Nagorno Karabakh through ethnic cleansing and military abuse. Accoding to his words Karabakh was made part of Azerbaijan’s territory during the Soviet Union against its will and so it is normal for people who live there to claim their independence.
In addition, the President also noted that given current active anti- Armenian propaganda taking place in Azerbaijan and its quick militarization only shows Baku’s unpreparedness for peace.
Sargysan also accused other countries in the region of having energy interests in Azerbaijan, and therefore, closing a blind eye on Azerbaijan’s claims.
In the meantime as the two countries’ leaders continue a verbal fight EU’s says it continues to support Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity and this position wont change [January 24, ENG].
Zahid Oruj, member of the Parliamentary Security and Defense Committee and Parliament Member, believes military solution to NK should not be dismissed given international law is failing at reaching any concrete solutions. Even “the most insignificant sanctions have not been imposed against Armenia”, says Oruj therefore any kind of military build- up on Azerbaijan’s side should not be considered as something unexpected as Azerbaijan is doing so [expanding its military] to eliminate its dependence on foreign countries.
Similarly another MP from Azerbaijan, Bahar Muradova, claims that while Azerbaijan is continuing its participation in all of the international talks, is also continues to develop its military build- up because “no one in the world reckons with a weak country” says Muradova, adding that “Azerbaijan will fail to strengthen its position in the negotiations and other processes without economic and military power” [January 20th, ENG].
Prof. Gerard Libardian, director of the Armenian Studies program at the University of Michigan, speaks about 2010 and Karabakh resolution process with deep regrets, noting that 2010 was a complete waste in terms of reaching any kind of mutual ground on the conflict. If not, it could be even said that both Armenia and Azerbaijan have taken steps back rather than forward over the last year.
Professor noted that little will change in 2011, unless official Baku and Yerevan show some change in rhetoric and political will to actually settle the conflict rather than continue to prolong it. Adding however, that he is certain that the two countries can come to a mutual agreement without resorting to force.
Parliament member Mubariz Qurbanli considers the adopted a serious to the aggressor noting that the world is aware of the atrocities committed on February 26, 1992.
The OIC recognized the tragedy as an act of genocide. Qurbanli believes this might be just the beginning for brining the perpetrators of this crime to justive with accordance to the international law.
Director of the Center for Political Innovation and Technology, Mubariz Ahmedoglu says Nalbandian lost Armenia’s honor during his tenure as a Foreign Minister and that Russia will now support Azerbaijan in the outbreak of a war as it has no other choice given its interests. He dismissed Russia’s support for Armenia as being no more but a myth, adding that Turkey would also reach out and help Azerbaijan given there is an agreement signed between the two countries.
Ahmedoglu’s bold statements come partially from an assurance that Russia will try to contain an outbreak of war as it is afraid it might spread to the Northern Caucasus- much-troubled region for Russia too.
Former co- Chair of the OSCE Minsk Group Vladimir Kazimirov says war is highly unlikely given none of the side are actually interested in it. Kazimirov added the resolution process takes time and energy and NK is no different than any other conflict. In addition, former co- Chair also noted that while mediators play an important role in the resolution of the conflict, they cannot simply resolve the conflict, that requires commitment from the actual parties to a conflict involved.
BBC Azerbaijan service
According to an interview given by President Sargysan to Moscow’s radio, the President while saying he is against war, this should not come across as if we are afraid of war. Sargysan was quoted saying “if by some kind of miracle Karabakh moves under Azerbaijan’s control even for an hour, there wont be any Armenians left. We must protect our citizens by any means”.
(RFE/RL) Radio Liberty Azerbaijan Service
Having met previously in November in Moscow, the three Prime Ministers- Elmar Mammadyarov, Edvard Nalbandyan and Sergey Lavrov meet again a month later. The three discussed proceedings of an agreement reached in Astrakhan in early December.
The details of the meeting been undisclosed given there was no presence of media representatives. This means, according to Lukasevich, an official representative from Moscow’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs that no agreement been reached.
Another article published by TREND.az writes of other independent opinions commenting on this recently held meeting [January 22, ENG]. According to Alexei Vlaskov, Chief editor of the Russian analytical agency Vestnik Kavkaza and Deputy Dean of History Department at the Moscow State University no radical changes will take place following this meeting, apart from perhaps a specific content that may appear and fill in the gap that appeared following the Astana summit held in early December and discussions that took place then.
Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister, Elmar Mammadyarov, said Azerbaijan would do anything to solve NK in an interview with Russia Today. The FM sees the resolution of the conflict in the following steps:
– Withdrawal from the occupied territories;
– return of refugees;
– restoration of infrastructure in occupied territories
FM added that the current status quo cannot exist forever and must be resolved soon.
In another interview with Kuwaiti newspaper Alrai [January 24, ENG] Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister said no force can change Azerbaijan’s borders adding that official Baku is ready to negotiate the provision of a high status of autonomy for NK and is not afraid of granting NK the status of autonomy as long as its all done in accordance with the international law.
The decision was met positively especially by the Azerbaijani delegation to PACE. According to Samed Seyidov, head of the Azerbaijani delegation, the ad hov committee and its activities could become crucial in explaining the world the situation in NK and its further resolution.
Seyidov also claims that much effort was put in resuming of the committee given how much Armenian side tried to prevent it.
Unlike Samed Seyidov, Edward Sharmazanov, secretary of the Republican faction believes, the ad- hoc committee “can never play a role in the settlement of the conflict” given Armenia’s emphasis on one format for negotiations which requires no one except the OSCE Minsk Group. Sharmazamov believes that the only way to solve the conflict is by letting NK hold a referendum.
Speaking on this matter [January 28th, ENG], coordinator of the Armenian National Congress Levon Zurabyan [NEWS.az] blamed Sargysan for the establishment of the sub- committee at PACE. Zurabyan believes that as a result, Azerbaijan will now avoid OSCE negotiations and look for other ways out.
Political scientists, Fikrat Sadikhov argues in this article that before holding any referendum on the territory of Nagorno Karabakh, it is crucial that the seven occupied territories are returned to Azerbaijan first. Only then can the sides start talking about referendum and even then another problem arises says Sadikhov. You cannot hold referendum with only participation of Armenians; the referendum must also involve Azerbaijanis who were forced to flee their lands, like Shusha residents of Nagorno Karabakh back to their homes. Only this way can the authorities ensure effective referendum.
This is how an Azerbaijani political scientist, Araz Alizade sees Armenia. In fact, Alizada adds, that its good Azerbaijan is preparing itself for a war, noting that once everything is over (referring to end of KArabakh war either through peaceful or military means) both Sargysan and Kocharyan will be taken to military tribunal where they will be held responsible for all the human lives they were responsible for taking as no one will ever forget none of the victims died in Nagorno Karabakh war, Khojali and other events.
Alizade while referring to Sargysan’s messages that if Azerbaijan takes over Nagorno Karabakh there wont be any Armenians left, said despite everything, today in Azerbaijan there are approximately 40 thousand Armenian residents, while there are none left in Armenia.
(RFE/RL) Radio Liberty Azerbaijan Service
According to Nalbandyan, any bad peace is better than a war. Armenia’s Foreign Minister believes there are two ways to solve the conflict. One way is to hold a referendum in Nagorno Karabakh to determine the status of NK. Or to recognize the results of the referendum that was held in 1991. During that referendum, the majority of residents of NK wanted to be taken out of Azerbaijan’s composition.
The article is an excerpt from an interview Edvard Nalbandyan gave to Russia Today, re- published by Radio Liberty.
In response, however, official Baku claims recognition of the 1991 referendum is impossible [TREND.az January 27, ENG]. Head of the Azerbaijan Presidential Administration Political Analysis and Information Provision Department, Elnur Aslanov says apart from peaceful resolution of the conflict, Azerbaijan expects full restoration of its territory. In addition, referendum that was held in 1991 was illegal, as it was held in violation of the USSR law, outside the legal framework and the international law.
Aslanov dismissed the suggestion of having a new vote, saying it is impossible under conditions of continuing occupation of the sovereign territory of Azerbaijan.
The article reports of the ceasefire violations by Armenian Armed Forces opening fire at Azerbaijan forces. Azerbaijani forces responded. No casualties were reported. A similar violation took place on January27th [January 28, ENG] and January 31st. According to an article published on January 26 [ENG] an Azerbaijani officer was killed during a ceasefire breach. The solder was a 26-year-old Zamin Mammadov.
The loss of lives or any injuries are over shadowed by constant bickering of military forces from the both sides as it was the case in this article dated January 21st and published on TREND.az [ENG] informing its readers of false allegations released by the Armenian media regarding Azerbaijan witnessing great losses as a result of ceasefire violation on the front line.
In the meantime according to this article [January 17th, ENG] “Armenian media reported alleged ceasefire violations by the Azerbaijani armed forces […] injuring two Armenian soldiers.
A statement made by Bayram Safarov who heads the Azerbaijani community of Nagorno Karabakh, further claims that Armenians living in Karabakh are aware of internal developments Azerbaijan is going through and want to see the same in their lives, adding that it will only help Armenia if it liberates occupied territories. Safarov also noted that further escalation of the conflict, only damages Armenia- with people leaving the country and population decreasing.
Retaliation of statements continues among ministers of defense in both of the countries. In this article, Armenian Defense Minister, Seyran Ohanian speaks on Armenian military force and its strength. Ohanyan also notes that in time of war, its not the number of troops that counts but the spirit and high morale. Defense Minister spoke with certainty that Armenian government is ready to retaliate any militaristic statements coming from Azerbaijan.
News.az interviewed Aytan Mustafayeva, Director of the National Academy of Sciences’ Human Rights Institute and parliament member on NK, the settlement process and overall relations. According to Mustafayeva, Armenia is not capable of making its decisions and is rather dependant on its Diaspora, which is blinded by believes of “Armenian genocide” and “Greater Armenia”. Mustafayeva also believes, that it is possible that ASALA (Armenian Secret Army for Liberation of Armenia) may be behind recent attacks at the Domodedovo airport in Moscow. Also adding that not only Armenia is responsible for the still on- going conflict between the two states, but that it cost billions of dollars to Azerbaijan as a result of war and its repercussions.
The article dismisses recent statements made by Armenian Foreign Minister Nalbandian that referendum in Southern Sudan can serve as an example in case of Nagorno Karabakh conflict. According to the author, this case cannot be applied to NK conflict because it is not a domestic conflict, and it is not a case of self- determination coordinated between the states and referendum recognized by Khartoum. The article refutes many other arguments presented by Nalbandian regarding NK conflict and its possible solution.
Head of the Center for Globalization and Regional Cooperation, political scientist Stepan Grigoryan believes it is pointless to boycott the sub- committee. Especially given that in CE decisions are adopted my majority there is no sense it boycotting. According to political scientist, Azerbaijan’s move was predictable given during Astana summit it was clear that Azerbaijan wont be able to attain its goals and will look for other structures for its use. In addition, Grigoryan noted that even once the sub- committee resumes its work, the main format for the settlement will still be carried out by the OSCE and things wont change in near future anyway.
According to political scientists Arasim Agayev, the war rhetoric used by the president of Armenian is only symbolic and is meant to attract Russia’s and other countries’ attention that the region is prone to war. Agayev noted that Azerbaijan on the other hand, has no intention of attacking Armenia and is only interested and wants to re- establish its territorial integrity. We should also not to dismiss an important fact, which is the settlement process between the two countries have reached a deadlock however, in no way will Azerbaijan agree to Armenia’s proposals on the settlement of conflict such as holding of a referendum without the return of occupied territories or accepting the results of 1991 referendum.
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