Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan.30
By Anakhanum Hidayatova - Trend:
The situation around the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict can change if the US president, secretary of state, French counterpart or other EU counterparts become personally active, said Matthew Bryza, the former deputy assistant secretary of state for Europe and Eurasia, former US ambassador in Azerbaijan, the director of the International Centre for Defence and Security in Estonia.
Bryza, who is also the former US co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, said it should be made clear that foreign policy priority for the Trans Atlantic community is the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and put this on the agenda with Russia, explaining that country if it wants good relations with the US and EU, it needs to facilitate a breakthrough in Nagorno-Karabakh conflict's resolution.
"That is impossible now with where the West is in terms of relations with Russia and Ukraine," he added.
Bryza further noted that the foundation is there for a breakthrough to happen relatively quickly.
"I mean the co-chairs and the Minsk Group itself are consistently criticized for having not achieved anything. It is not true and it is not the way we look at it," he added.
"The framework has been finished since 2008," Bryza said, adding that there are the Madrid Principles that are absolutely workable compromises allowing Azerbaijan to restore its territorial integrity.
Commenting on the information spread by some media outlets about the possible changes in the format of OSCE Minsk Group, the diplomat said he thinks the inclusion of Turkey and Germany in Minsk Group is impossible.
There is absolutely no way that Armenia will ever accept Turkey as a mediator in the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
He said that if Turkey-Armenian relations are to be normalized, Azerbaijan has to be satisfied that there has been a breakthrough on the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process and that Azerbaijan would never accept Turkey reopening its borders with Armenia otherwise.
He added that Turkey is a country that Armenia is more afraid of than any other. "For now, there is no way that Armenia would ever accept Turkey."
Germany is not able to make a significant contribution to the settlement of the conflict, he said, "I don't know why Germany. I can't imagine why Germany makes sense", adding that the EU could make a lot of sense, since it is a partner of the US and Russia.
Bryza said maybe a better idea would be to pull the Minsk Group out of discussion and just encourage the presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia to talk to each other.
He said there is no need for mediators anymore and the sides can appoint separate mediators, someone that can be trusted to arrange meeting. Bryza added that Minsk Group as a structure now can't function with Putin's Russia intent on creating and sustaining regional conflicts.
The key is for Azerbaijani and Armenian presidents to talk to each other directly, he said. "Now it is very easy to blame international mediators, but mediator doesn't decide. They simply say why don't you try this or this."
Bryza said Armenia is obviously convenient with the status quo, in terms of territory. However, it is not comfortable with the status quo in terms of long term security threat it faces and economic loss, according to Bryza.
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 two countries signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Russia, France and the US are currently holding peace negotiations.
Armenia has not yet implemented the UN Security Council's four resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.
Edited by CN