Armenia must fulfill requirements of four UN Security Council resolutions

Tue 31 Mar 2015 03:43 GMT | 07:43 Local Time

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News.Az interviews Peter Tase, a political analyst, Special Assistant to the Secretary General of the International Federation of Engineering Education Societies and to the Executive Secretary of the Global Engineering Deans Council.

What is the contribution of The United States of America in resolving the Nagorno – Karabakh conflict: Is it really important for the U.S. to settle this conflict?

The armed conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan started as the Soviet Union was falling apart.  At this time the ethnic Armenians in Azerbaijan’s province of Nagorno-Karabakh rallied to join Armenia. In front of this situation Moscow, according to the Foreign Affairs Magazine, "armed both sides and played them against each other, turning a local dispute over the status of a territory inhabited by 90,000 people into a regional war."

For nearly six years, the newly independent countries of Armenia and Azerbaijan fought over this territory, leaving 30,000 dead and creating approximately a million refugees. Ultimately, Yerevan was victorious, and it took control of Nagorno-Karabakh and seven other districts in the sovereign territory of Azerbaijan.  These aggressive actions of Armenia, which continue to affect this region until the present, are of unprecedented proportions in the world history, not only for the loss of human lives but also for violating four of the UN Security Council Resolutions and over all conducting a protracted warfare for more than two decades by constantly breaching, unilaterally, the cease fire that was brokered in 1994.  

It must be noted that from time to time, Moscow has provided information and armaments to Armenia while encouraging the latter to continue with its provocative attitude. According to Foreign Policy Magazine "Russia has thousands of troops stationed in Armenia, it runs the country’s air defenses, and it controls key elements of its economy and infrastructure. As long as Moscow backs Yerevan, Baku can do little to make peace with its neighbor."

Despite the great influence of Russia in the region, the United States has done little to defend its staunchest ally in the Caspian Sea, the Republic of Azerbaijan, which was the first modern parliamentary republic in the Muslim world, founded on May 1918. 

It is of vital interest for the United States to take a leading role, beyond the initiatives of the OSCE Minsk Group that was created in 1992.  Since the five day war between Georgia and Russia in August 2008, Washington has not been so proactive and indeed its reluctance to deliver a straight forward response towards the illegal actions of Armenian troops against the Azerbaijani border patrols, has sped up the provocative actions and increased the number of military exercises and reconnaissance missions from the Armenian armed forces taking place in the sovereign territory of Azerbaijan. As Yerevan's national economy lingers it continues to embrace a belligerent attitude and is unwilling to back down unless the United States and other major world actors don't take a serious stance and bring this conflict to a solution. On the same token, Georgia and Ukraine were left alone when the U.S. President rejected publicly in Brussels on March 2014 the NATO membership aspirations of Ukraine and Georgia after Russia first conducted the annexation of Crimea and as a result it was no longer convenient geopolitically. However it took Georgia more than a decade to embrace reforms towards its NATO ambitions.

On June 4th 2013, after his official meeting with the Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan, Secretary of State John Kerry stated that “The US is interested in assisting Azerbaijan and Armenia in the resolution of Nagorno Karabakh conflict”, however due to his busy agenda, the US Diplomatic Chief has not been able yet to pay an official visit to Baku in almost two years after meeting with his counterpart in Washington D.C.. Nevertheless Mr. Kerry has visited Turkey, one of the neighboring countries of Azerbaijan, four times over the last two years.  The prospects to bring the Conflict of Nagorno Karabakh to an end are high even though the economic sanctions imposed by the United States and European Union against Russia, after the annexation of Crimea, have caused an irreparable friction between all parties involved and these measures from the west are causing a negative impact and unimagined consequences towards reaching a definitive peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Even though Russia plays a fatherly role on its relations with Armenia, the Republic of Azerbaijan has mended constructive relations with Russia, it has improved significantly the commercial and trade relations with Moscow while approaching a pro western course.

Do you agree with the assertion that the U.S. is losing its role in the Southern Caucasus?

We must keep in mind that, as the President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated recently, the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict would not have happened had Turkey been as strong in the region as it is today. At the same time is relevant to add that even though the United States was successful towards tearing down the Berlin Wall, it was not as triumphant towards avoiding such a protracted conflict which has been setting back the whole region since 1988. The apathy of US Foreign Policy towards the Caspian region and towards Baku in particular continues, even though democratic reforms and impressive economic growth implemented by the current government of Azerbaijan are reaching the apex of success. The current influence by the United States in the South Caucasus region is reminiscent to Washington's little support provided to Azerbaijan when the latter declared its short lived independence in 1918, which subsequently was brought to an end by the newly established Soviet Union. The Russian-Georgian war of 2008, has shown clearly that the United States and other western nations are reluctant to become directly involved in conflicts that are commonly regarded as “Russia’s backyard.”

Pragmatism is almost absent although the Economic relations between the United States and the three countries of the South Caucasus Region - Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia - is steady while there is further improvement in the trade balance.  

It is imperative that the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Russia, France and the United States, involve other nations and become more active towards securing peace and stability in the invaded territories of Azerbaijan.  Without the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan as it is clearly defined by the four UN Security Council Resolutions, we will barely experience peace and economic progress in the Caucasus region. Armenia must respect and fulfill the requirements set forth by the four UN Security Council resolutions which request the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh province and the surrounding regions.

Why is the western world implementing a double standard policy towards Azerbaijan, in the case of Ukraine they sanctioned Russia, as we can see there is no sanctions against Armenia, despite Armenia is occupying 20 % of Azerbaijani territories?

PMT: Over the last decade the power within the international system is increasingly distributed in a multipolarity approach, meaning that there are many developed and influential countries in the world and there is not only Russia and the United States dominating international affairs just like it was during the Cold War.  Today multilateral organizations and institutions have not addressed appropriately this paradigm and continue to suffer heavily from the double standard attitude which we face everyday not only in respect to the Nagorno Karabakh conflict but also towards some international press coverage of the current situation in Venezuela, which is biased.  A typical example of manipulated press is the international press coverage on the congressional impeachment against Paraguay's president Fernando Lugo Mendez in June 20th, 2012, led by a full political isolation orchestrated by Venezuela, Brazil and other neighboring countries of Paraguay for more than a year, while arguing that Asuncion had violated the democracy clause of MERCOSUR. Paraguay is perhaps the only country in Latin America with a stable democratic government in which there are no political prisoners and the transition of government from Fernando Lugo Mendez to the incoming Constituent President Federico Franco Gomez, was undertaken according to the national constitution and occurred without any impasse and while supported by the majority of the people and had the full support of the National Congress.  Meanwhile the recent crisis in Venezuela where violent riots have erupted and generated various victims including a child while a few political dissidents arrested, has not generated the same international pressure from other South American nations (Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, Peru, Paraguay, to mention a few) therefore these countries are not behaving the same way as they did in respect to the case against President Lugo in Paraguay, almost three years ago. The phenomena of double standard is not only present in Eurasia, it is indeed a world-wide trend.    

I would like to conclude by sharing with you what Dr. Blas Oddone, an International Affairs expert, once told me: "the world's problems, four thousand years ago in Athens, the birth place of democracy, where solved under open discussions in the common citizens' Agora on a peaceful and intelligent dialogue to reach meaningful outcomes.  Today countries are becoming more and more belligerent instead of incorporating more peaceful and tolerant means resolving their problems so that by doing it in this way we might reach the peace that we all aspire for and eventually reach a mankind peace."




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