AZERBAIJANI DIPLOMACY HOLDS NO VICTORY

Thus, in the frameworks of their regional visit, the Co-Chairs of the Minsk Group yesterday visited Stepanakert and had a meeting with the NKR authorities.
   Was this a “pro-forma” visit or do the Co-Chairs still hope that it will be possible to push the Azerbaijani authorities towards the implementation of the “Madrid” proposals prior to the presidential elections?
  
  
   VAHRAM ATANESYAN
   Head of the NA Committee on Foreign Relations
  
   “In general, I don’t think that any visit of the Co-Chairs may be considered as a regular one, because if such visits were of regular, usual and ordinary nature, the Co-Chairs would prefer not to visit the region at all. That’s to say, each visit does really mean something.
   As shown by the overall results of the visits, the international community, on behalf of the Co-Chairs of the Minsk Group, is interested in the settlement of the conflict. As to what extent the parties perceive that attitude is a different matter. But the Co-Chairs are trying to find a mutually acceptable solution which cannot give way to any divergence of opinions.
   As regards the most recent visit of the Co-Chairs, it should be estimated the G-8 Foreign Ministers’ joint statement in the context of the confirmations concerning the settlement of the Karabakh conflict. My impression is that they are an additional proof showing that the mediators do not approve the conflict settlement prospect supported and urged forward by Azerbaijan.”


   “Do you mean Azerbaijan’s ambitions for “solving” the problem through military operations?”
   “The matter is first of all addressed to the efforts of bringing the settlement process beyond the frameworks of the OSCE Minsk Group and transferring it to other international tribunals, particularly, the UN Security Council and Assembly. And the enthusiasm of the Azerbaijani diplomacy seems to be giving way after the adoption of the well-known UN Resolution.
   In particular, I believe that the agreement reached between the two Presidents with regard to continuing the talks based on the Madrid principles testifies to the fact that Azerbaijan’s attacking policy in the panorama of the undesirable pre-electoral and post-electoral developments of Armenia is beginning to retreat.
   In the meantime, Azerbaijan is certainly trying to reiterate its willingness of solving the problem through military operations. Although the word does not suit the language of diplomacy, I don’t find a better characterization at the moment. If it is announced on the level of the President that the first stage of the war is over, and Azerbaijan is always ready to solve the problem through military operations, this can be estimated as an undisguised pressure against the international community and the mediators.
   Interpreting Azerbaijan’s attitude, we can state the following: if the mediators insist on settling the conflict based upon the Madrid principles, i.e. there’s no respect for the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, resuming the military operations remains the only way for the latter to solve the problem. Because, to the best of our knowledge, those principles envisage the definition of the NKR status through a referendum. Azerbaijan naturally admits the fact with a great sorrow, perceiving it as a mechanism of legalizing the secession of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic.
   Judging by all, the last visit of the Co-Chairs was aimed at mitigating the anxiety of the Azerbaijani side. As to what extent they succeeded in their efforts will be shown by the further development of the negotiation process.
   “To what extent is your optimism about the retreat of Azerbaijan’s attacking policy justified, taking into consideration the fact that the Azerbaijani delegation gained the successive advantage over us by ‘thrusting in’ the anti-Armenian formulation passed by the UN into the PACE Resolution?”
   “In general, I would advise or rather, ask the Armenian delegation not to overload itself and avoid initiating debates with the Azerbaijani party. I believe it would be more proper to simply state that if Azerbaijan has problems with Nagorno Karabakh, this is none of Armenia’s business, and Azerbaijan had better display its willingness by initiating a direct dialogue with Karabakh with the purpose of settling its problems.
   That’s to say, the Armenian party doesn’t have initiate a debate with the Azeris on most different topics such as ecological issues, human rights etc.
   Nevertheless, I think that restoring territorial integrity is the general political attitude of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, and it applies not only to Azerbaijan but also to Georgia and Moldova. This may be considered as one of the manifestations of the East-West conflicts. The Azerbaijani diplomacy has held no victory at this point because the conversation is about the principle of territorial integrity in general.
   What does territorial integrity mean, and which are the internationally recognized borders of Azerbaijan? These are the questions that should be discussed on the legal plane. The thing is that Azerbaijan is now making claims for a territory which has never formed part of its statehood. In my opinion, the declarative statements on restoring territorial integrity should be viewed in this context.”
   “There is a widespread opinion that the West, on behalf of the Council of Europe, demonstrated a mild attitude towards us by not applying any sanctions with the purpose of imposing concessions with regard to the Karabakh issue. Is it possible to have a serious approach to this viewpoint?”
   “I think these are merely tricks used with the purpose of gaining some dividends in the internal political campaign. I am sincerely sorry that an issue like the Karabakh conflict becomes a subject of political speculations.
   As regards the allegations that the Council of Europe had a mild attitude to Armenia, they probably mean the authorities of Armenia. And a mild or non-mild attitude towards the authorities may be displayed by the public, society and the electorate responsible for forming those authorities. If the present-day authorities have been formed by the major part of the electorate, it is necessary to respect their decision and initiate the step-by-step implementation of all the activities aimed at strengthening construction work on the state level, fostering the country’s economy and increasing its military power.
   That’s to say, it is necessary to make goal-oriented steps to solve the problems we are facing. And if it is impossible to solve global problems, we must be able to at least resist the challenges faced by the whole region and especially Armenia.

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Filed under armenia, artsakh, azerbaijan, karabakh, NKR

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