Azerbaijani top official: Security in South Caucasus can be achieved if influential OSCE member states demonstrate single political will (UPDATE)

Azerbaijani top official: Security in South Caucasus can be achieved if influential OSCE member states demonstrate single political will (UPDATE)

EDITOR's NOTE: Title and structure of article changed

The statement adopted during the OSCE summit in Astana will contribute to establishing an atmosphere of stability and security in the South Caucasus. However, this is only possible if the OSCE member states demonstrate a single political will based on a single universal morality and force Armenia to withdraw its troops from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, Azerbaijani Presidential Center for Strategic Studies Director Elkhan Nuriyev told Trend in an interview.

The summit of the OSCE member states was held in early December in the capital of Kazakhstan, which is ending its one-year chairmanship in the organization. Along with the final declaration within the summit a joint statement was adopted by the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan, as well as the heads of delegations of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chair countries on the Nagorno-Karabakh resolution. The statement calls for a rapid resolution of the conflict.

Good intentions reflected in the documents of previous OSCE summits have not yet been implemented. This suggests that the OSCE has not yet become an effective mechanism for implementing the political will of the international community to maintain stability and ensure fair solution of the regional problems.

"I would like to hope that the document adopted within the OSCE summit in Astana will be implemented in practice, because the solution to the conflict affecting interests of tens of states and the international community as a whole is real taking into account the real capacity of the largest OSCE participating states," Nuriyev said.

Security in the OSCE space was one of the main topics of the summit. In this context, great emphasis was made on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which arose in 1988 due to Armenian territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding districts - 20 percent of Azerbaijani territories- are under occupation. Armenia has not yet implemented the U.N. Security Council's four resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.

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.

Taking into account the destructive policy instruments of Armenia against Azerbaijan, and using contemporary international practice, the OSCE may make a petition before the UN to adopt "measures to implement the peace process" or "measures of coercion to peace", Nuriyev believes.

"It deals with organizing an international operation to restore and maintain peace, which is conducted without the consent of the side initiating the conflict by using the elements of humanitarian action within the U.N. peacekeeping forces. Objectively, such a will and morality can be formed within the OSCE, whose mission is to prevent conflicts and ensure supremacy of law," he said.

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe is the world's major regional organization dealing with security. It brings together 56 countries, which are located in North America, Europe and Central Asia.

According to Nuriyev, after the end of the Cold War, the expectations of effective mediation for peace negotiations and subsequent control over compliance with the terms of a future agreement on a comprehensive political settlement were linked exactly with the OSCE.

"However, like the approach to other regional issues, in the issue of the Armenian-Azerbaijani settlement, the political face OSCE as an international organization reflects all the convulsions of the world order at the turn of the millennium," he said.

The OSCE summit in Astana was not a breakthrough in resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, but the statement made by presidents was a positive trend. The statement targets resolving the conflict through peaceful negotiations and approves the principles of the supremacy of international law.

In fact, for the first time, the leaders of the U.N., EU, CIS, CSTO, NATO and OSCE met on one site at the OSCE summit in Astana, which testifies maintaining the balance between the East and West. On the other hand, the geopolitics of Eurasia is now rapidly changing.

"The logic of geopolitical changes in the Eurasian region is to expand the boundaries of the concept of "European security". Therefore, the European political circles now increasingly speak of Eurasian security, not separating Central Asia and South Caucasus from "old Europe," Nuriyev said.

According to him, the Astana summit demonstrated certain helplessness of the OSCE in making significant and qualitatively new decisions

"The fact that for 15 years, the OSCE has not been able to develop a common agenda urgent for all participants indicated the low level of part of the European political elite's understanding of the realities and challenges of modern times," Nuriyev said.

And still it seems that the agreed text of the final document contains certain contours of the organizational and substantial evolution of the OSCE, which allows this organization to transform into an international organization capable to quickly and effectively respond to the challenges of the rapidly changing world, he said.

"To realize this purpose, the OSCE should move away from double standards and abandon the old world order rivalry of states for influence and for global domination," Nuriyev added.

As known from the international practice, the results of conflict solution largely depend on the active efforts and fair position of the mediators, as well as on what means they use to avoid confrontation and its extremely negative consequences, Nuriyev said.

Assessing the OSCE Minsk Group's activity, Nuriyev said that the Minsk Group made a serious mistake, because from the beginning wrongly approached the issue of settlement, trying to balance between the aggressor and the suffered side.

He said in addition, the stagnation in the negotiating process is linked with the fact that Armenia obviously counteracts any peaceful initiatives of the international organizations, there are other reasons affecting basic aspects, particularly important from the point of view of international law.

According to him, one of the main reasons is that the solution of the Karabakh conflict within the OSCE Minsk Group, including the diplomatic efforts of the major powers, involves actions aimed at achieving a "negative" peace, that is prevention and non-admission of the resumption of war or hostilities in the conflict zone.

However, "negative" peace in Nagorno-Karabakh is insufficient and it is only an important part of a larger political process, to which the traditional diplomacy, including the Minsk Group, occasionally helps and it does not allow to achieve certain successes.

Nuriyev calls not to forget that there is a "positive" peace. However, unfortunately, the Minsk Group does not make anything to achieve it, he believes.

The "positive" peace means eliminating the internal reasons and conditions that cause forced conflict, at prevention of which the "negative" peace process is aimed.

"The Minsk Group is not an independent institution, that is, the actions of mediators are authorized and carried out by the co-chairing states. In fact, since its formation, the Minsk Group has become a platform on which geopolitical games began, which are not directly linked with the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, but more related to the study and search of modern geopolitics of the South Caucasus," he said.

Nuriyev believes that it is evidently advantageous for the co-chairing states to use the international organizations and in this case the OSCE Minsk Group, since such joint activities allow dividing common responsibility for the intervention, but not laying it on one of these countries, even if it takes positive and effective measures. 

According to Nuriyev, thus, to promptly reach an agreement, the traditional diplomacy in the person of the Minsk Group often uses non-positive methods of conflict solution, which lead to establishing "negative" peace.

"If "positive" peace is not achieved in such a complex geopolitical situation, the "negative" peace could easily collapse, which somehow will bring to the resumption of hostilities," he said.

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