BAKU: US analysts call NATO to strengthen role on S. Caucasus

Azer Tag, Azerbaijan
April 24 2004


As was reported by correspondent of AzerTAj from the USA, the Central
Asia-Caucasus Institute of Studies in Washington has prepared
research work on the subject `Establishment of stability on Southern
Caucasus: multilateral safety and the role of NATO’. Authors of
research are known experts on the region Frederic Starr, Vladimir
Sokor, Svante Cornell, William O’Malley and Roger McDermott.

At the forum, which has been lead by institute, authors have
acquainted representatives of political circles in Washington with
the basic moments of the uncompleted research. The 90-page scientific
work included conditions of safety in each of three states of
Southern Caucasus, interests of various geo-politic forces in region,
military potential of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia, the detailed
information on the program `Partnership for Peace’, carried out here
by NATO, the materials displaying the military assistance by the USA
and the Western circles to Georgia and Azerbaijan. Then, the authors
have presented their recommendations concerning policy of NATO in the
states of Southern Caucasus.

Speaking at the forum, Vladimir Sokor noted that earlier the West
looked at Southern Caucasus as the region located on border of Europe
and Asia. Recently such approach has changed. The reason is connected
to three factors – weakening of the authority of Russia in region,
revealing of huge natural resources of the Caspian basin being a key
for the future power resources of the West, and the role, which plays
the region in antiterrorist struggle. Vladimir Sokor marks that there
is a need for wider participation of the NATO in the region. In his
opinion, summit of the Alliance, which will be held in Istanbul in
June of this year, can become a favorable forum for demonstration of
support of intentions of Georgia and Azerbaijan to become members of
the NATO and for statement by the Alliance of priorities of safety on
Southern Caucasus. The cooperation offered by NATO to these two
countries, should touch and Armenia. However, the question on
membership of Azerbaijan and Georgia in the Alliance should not
depend on objections of Armenia and Russia.

Speakers at the forum have emphasized that to speak about regional
economic or social development, not having provided safety of
Southern Caucasus, is inappropriate. In this sense, the
Armenian-Azerbaijan, Nagorny Karabakh conflict and other conflicts in
region should be shortly settled, and available foreign military
forces should be removed from the region.