The Washington Times: US must support Azerbaijan in Karabakh conflict

The Washington Times: US must support Azerbaijan in Karabakh conflict

Baku, Azerbaijan, April 14

By Elena Kosolapova - Trend:

The US must take immediate and decisive actions to support Azerbaijan in the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman, director of international communications for an Israeli think tank, wrote in her article published in The Washington Times.

"The US Congress must understand that an extended cease fire between Azerbaijan and Armenia won't stick," Jaffe-Hoffman, who is also former editor for the Jerusalem Post and former editor in chief of the Baltimore Jewish Times, wrote. "Now is the time to take action toward a peaceful and complete reconciliation between the two countries."

Jaffe-Hoffman wrote that preserving the status quo is unacceptable.

The author wrote that for starters, as a result of the Armenian occupation, around one million Azerbaijanis have been forced to flee their homes.

"Second, the U.N. Security Council has recognized Azerbaijan's right to this territory with Resolutions 822, 853, 874 and 884, among others," the author wrote. "Armenia has continued to ignore the resolutions. By sitting idly, the United States looks weak and sends a less-than-caring message to its ally Azerbaijan."

"Third, while there may be another cease fire now - and it may even stick for months - keeping the status quo is like standing by a volcano waiting for it to erupt," the author wrote.

"Fourth: Azerbaijan is the most important player in the $45 billion international Southern Gas Corridor pipeline project to bring new gas supplies to the European market," the author wrote.

"This project is arguably the global oil and gas industry's most significant and ambitious undertaking yet," the article says.

The author wrote that Armenian commanders have more than once threatened to attack Azerbaijan's oil and gas infrastructure, and some of the fighting that took place in recent weeks was not far from the route of the oil pipeline.

"If the line was attacked, this would drastically slow down and potentially put on hold a project in which seven European governments and 11 companies are invested," the article says.

"This, not to mention that European energy security is at stake."

The author wrote that finally, and most importantly, is the fact that with every day the cease fire holds, Moscow's influence in the region grows.

"Yet it was also Moscow that brokered the cease fire agreement, which significantly increased Russia's diplomatic profile in the region," the article says.

The author wrote that Moscow is on Armenia's side.

"If Moscow's participation becomes any deeper, the Turks will undoubtedly involve themselves, too; Turkey backs fraternal Azerbaijan," the article says. "The result may be a regional war with two major powers and militaries fighting on the periphery, while supporting the two central players as proxies."

The author wrote that the region cannot afford another flash point.

While appealing to the US Congress, the author wrote that now is the time to step in and forestall the Russians and ensure justice in the region.

"It is necessary to force Armenia to remove its troops from the region," the article says. "It is necessary to allow Azerbaijani refugees to return to their homes and reconvene the Minsk Process to produce a peaceful and lasting solution to the conflict."

On the night of April 2, 2016, all the frontier positions of Azerbaijan were subjected to heavy fire from the Armenian side, which used large-caliber weapons, mortars and grenade launchers. The armed clashes resulted in deaths and injuries among the Azerbaijani population. Azerbaijan responded with a counter-attack, which led to liberation of several strategic heights and settlements.

Military operations were stopped on the line of contact between Azerbaijani and Armenian armies on Apr. 5 at 12:00 (UTC/GMT + 4 hours) with the consent of the sides, Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry earlier said. Ignoring the agreement, the Armenian side again started violating the ceasefire.

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.

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Follow the author on Twitter:@E_Kosolapova

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