Baku, Azerbaijan, June 16
By Elena Kosolapova – Trend:
The Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict hinders the economic development of the South Caucasus and security in the region, Matthew Bryza, former US ambassador to Azerbaijan and former co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, told reporters in Baku June 16.
Armenia keeps the Azerbaijani lands under occupation, said Bryza, adding it is necessary that Armenian troops withdraw from those lands and the parties reach an agreement.
The framework agreement [Madrid Principles] has existed for 10 years already, said Bryza, adding it is necessary to complete this process.
The former OSCE MG co-chair believes that this won’t be possible if the US and Russian leaders don’t contribute to this process.
According to Bryza, when he served as an OSCE MG co-chair, the co-chairs made progress, because the presidents of the US and Russia – George W. Bush and Dmitry Medvedev – paid more attention to the conflict and directly participated in its settlement.
At that time, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov creatively approached this issue, and he also encouraged the co-chairs to take a creative approach, noted Bryza.
He voiced concern that currently there is no specific policy in the US, not only about the South Caucasus, but also about the whole world.
President Donald Trump, during his election campaign, wanted very much the improvement of relations between the US and Russia, said the former ambassador, reminding that currently an investigation is underway into Russia’s intervention in the US electoral process. Until all these problems are resolved, the improvement of relations between the US and Russia will be impossible, according to Bryza.
The former envoy added that neither Azerbaijan, nor Armenia is interested in the resumption of hostilities on the line of contact.
He believes the deployment of heavy weapons to the line of contact, such as the OSA missile systems, can contribute to resumption of hostilities.
Bryza doesn’t expect progress in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict’s resolution until the presidents of Russia and the US make their personal contribution to its settlement. They should put this conflict to the agenda of the Russia-US relations, he said, but now the relations are not at a proper level.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.
The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.