West does best to stress Azerbaijan's significance: analyst
Azerbaijan, Baku, Dec. 16 / Trend E. Tariverdiyeva /
Western governments want to emphasize Azerbaijan's importance, Politics Professor at the Public and International Affairs Department at George Mason University Mark Katz said.
"Azerbaijan has reacted negatively to the prospects of Turkish-Armenian rapprochement without resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh issue and has intimated that it will move closer to Russia if this occurs," Katz wrote Trend in an e-mail. "Western leaders do not want this either."
He said now the West is trying to preserve good relations with Azerbaijan, while continuing to support the establishment of Armenian-Turkish relations.
Turkish and Armenian foreign ministers Ahmet Davutoglu and Edward Nalbandian signed the Ankara-Yerevan protocols in Zurich Oct. 10.
Diplomatic relations between Armenia and Turkey were broken in 1993.
Katz said the West thinks even if Nagorno-Karabakh is not settled right away, Turkish-Armenian rapprochement will increase prospects for the conflict's future resolution. So for the moment, he added, the West will not refuse support for th esettlement of Ankara-Yerevan relations.
"The Europeans and Americans very much want to see Turkish-Armenian rapprochement. They would also like to see Azeri-Armenian rapprochement, but do not want the inability to achieve this to block improving Turkish-Armenian ties," Katz said.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan since 1992, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and 7 surrounding districts. Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group - Russia, France, and the U.S. - are currently holding the peace negotiations.
Armenia has not yet implemented the U.N. General Assembly's resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh region and the occupied territories.