Rumours exaggerated

Azat Artsakh, Republic of Nagorno Karabakh (NKR)
April 8 2004


The messages of the recent days remind those made before a war.
Threats and answers are made once from the Armenian party, and once
from the Azerbaijani. In Karabakh, however, there is no sign of war.
People think if there is, in fact, such threat why nobody reacts to
it. It means the tensions are provoked deliberately hoping that
something will explode somewhere. In this case for whom are these
tensions favourable? On March 29 negotiations were to take place
between the Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers in Prague with
the participation of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmen. The
negotiations were cancelled because the Azerbaijani party refused to
take part in them. The Armenian newspaper `Haykakan Zhamanakâ’
writes that Baku generally refuses to negotiate with
Armenia. According to the newspaper, the maintenance of the deadlock
situation in the negotiation process is, as usual, favourable for
Russia. In his interview to the newspaper `Azg’ NKR minister of
foreign affairs Ashot Ghulian said, `The very first months of office
of Ilham Aliev showed that the prospect of the process of negotiations
is blurred. Perhaps for them the Karabakh problem has stopped being a
priority, and only vague militarist expressions are made, such as
starting negotiations from the beginning, complaining of the
activities of the international organizations and in particular the
Minsk Group,’ emphasized A. Ghulian. Although, maybe, the talks in
Prague failed because Ilham Aliev was going to relieve minister of
foreign affairs Vilayat Guliev from his post. The corresponding
decision was signed on April 2, 2004 and Elmar Maherram Oghli
Mamediarov was appointed minister of foreign affairs of Azerbaijan. It
is obvious that the process of negotiations is rolling
backward. Apparently this was the reason for active militarist
propaganda. Moreover, now in Baku, on the one hand, they say that
Azerbaijan cannot get reconciled with the loss of the territories, and
on the other hand, the resumption of the military actions is
favourable for the government of Armenia which prefers this to a civil
war. `As long as the Azerbaijani territories are occupied, the war
with Armenia may start at any moment,’ told the Azerbaijani minister
of home affairs Safar Abiev to the Azerbaijani agency `Trend’. `You
know what the situation in Armenia is, as long as the Armenian armed
forces are in our territory, the danger of resumption of war exists,’
stressed S. Abiev. Member of parliament of the Azerbaijani Mili Mejlis
Anar Mamedkhanov announced that the parliaments of Armenia and the
Republic of Nagorni Karabakh are going to legalize the occupation of
the Azerbaijani territories within one or two months. And the
Baku-based newspaper `Zerkalo’ foresees that in the upcoming days
additional points may be introduced in the military doctrine of
Armenia concerning the security of Nagorni Karabakh. `According to one
of the points of the doctrine, in case of military threat or
announcement of martial law the armed forces deployed in Nagorni
Karabakh pass under the military commandment of Armenia.’ Russia is
also worried by the danger of resumption of the military actions in
the conflict area of Karabakh. The Russian news agency `Regnum’
headlined the materials concerning Nagorni Karabakh last week `Will
the USA manage to prevent war in Karabakh?’. As to the USA, it will do
anything for the settlement of the Karabakh conflict. This statement
was made by the deputy secretary state of the US Richard
Armitage. According to the newspaper `Turkish Daily News’, Armitage
cited the example of the recent events in Kosovo, adding at the same
time that such collisions are possible in Nagorni Karabakh too, writes
the newspaper `Azg’ and mentions that in the recent months the
skirmishes at the border between the Armenian and Azerbaijani forces
have become frequent. The head of the director of plan and defence of
the US European command, major general Jeffrey Kohler announced that
the appeals of Washington for peaceful settlement refer to both
Azerbaijan and Armenia. According to him, before the years 2001-2002
the US government imposed sanctions against the Armenian and
Azerbaijani parties, which may be imposed again in case of new
confrontations at the border. At the same time he announced that the
USA does not intend deploying new military installations in
Azerbaijan. The opening of the Armenia-Turkey border also has a
special role in the relationships of Armenia with Azerbaijan. This
topic was touched upon the during the meeting of Richard Armitage with
Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliev; the latter was against, as,
according to him, opening the border with Turkey will render the
conflict impossible to settle, because Azerbaijan will lose an
important lever for putting pressure in Armenia. In his turn foreign
minister of Armenia Vardan Oskanian appealed to the government of
Ankara to make corresponding conclusions from Aliev’s statements who
considers Turkey as a lever in its hand against Armenia. On April 6 a
group of journalists representing the leading mass media of Azerbaijan
moves to the Armenian-Turkish border for the action `Turks Supporting
Turks’. The main slogan of the action is `No to Opening Border with
Armenia’. The action will start in the towns Igdir and Kars in the
northeast of Turkey and will end in Ankara. The participants of the
action will address a message to the government of the brotherly
country appealing to oppose the tension on the part of a number of
countries in this matter. The Azerbaijani journalists and the local
inhabitants will create a symbolic wall between the territories of
Armenia and Turkey. What is this if not a provocation of

From: Baghdasarian