How will Helsinki Commission’s hearings affect Karabakh peace diplomacy?
Baku, Azerbaijan, Oct. 15
By Gulgiz Muradova - Trend:
At the beginning of the next week, Azerbaijani and Armenian presidents will come together in Geneva to discuss the resolution of the long-lasting Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, one of the deadliest conflicts in the world.
While the event is viewed as a chance to move the peace talks from the dead end, there are concerns that several days’ later hearings on Nagorno-Karabakh to be hosted by the Helsinki Commission may pull back any progress achieved in the process.
The Commission often touts its record of peace maker yet the truth is that most of the hearings aim at supporting the aggressive policy of Armenia, which causes due demur in Baku.
Asked whether holding of hearings ahead of the President's summit may put a pressure on the talks, Dr. Ariel Cohen,senior research fellow at the Atlantic Council and director at the Center for energy, natural resources and geopolitics at the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security said that the ultimate decisions are made in Baku and Yerevan.
“If the two leaders decide to move towards peace, such hearings are not going to be an obstacle. If there is no decision for peace, such hearings will not be able unfortunately to bring peace,” Cohen told Trend.
The Helsinki Commission is chaired by Chris Smith, who enjoys close ties with the Armenian lobby in the U.S. Smith was also the initiator of the anti-Azerbaijani bill previously submitted to the U.S. Congress by the Helsinki Commission.
Azerbaijan and Armenia for over two decades have been locked in a conflict, which emerged over Armenia's territorial claims to Azerbaijan. Since the 1990s war, Armenian armed forces have occupied over 20 percent of Azerbaijan's internationally recognized territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions. Although the UN Security Council has adopted four resolutions on Armenian withdrawal from the occupied lands of Azerbaijan, they have not been enforced to this day.