BAKU: Former FA Aide: Peace Talks Arent Worth Of 2 Kopeks

Former FA Aide: Peace Talks Aren’t Worth Of 2 Kopeks

Baku Today
May 17 2004

While high-ranking officials in Baku still seem committed to ending
a decade-old occupation of Azerbaijan’s territories through peaceful
means, a prominent foreign policy expert says the peace process
is worth of nothing as long as there is no change in the region’s
geopolitical situation.

“The current negotiations are not worth of two kopeks,” says Vafa
Guluzade, a former presidential aide who now heads the Baku-based
Caspian Political Researches Foundation. The former diplomat points
to Russia as the country behind the aggression against Azerbaijan,
and contends that the key to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict lies not
in Yerevan, but in Moscow.

“Armenia is a puppet in the hands of Russians,” Guluzade says in an
interview with a correspondent of Baku Today, adding: “I myself have
repeatedly witnessed that Armenians don’t have their own position on
the Karabakh problem. Moscow dictates them on everything that relates
to the settlement of the conflict.”

Armenia occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, a mountainous region of Azerbaijan
that is home to about 100,000 ethnic-Armenians, and also seven Azeri
administrative districts surrounding it in 1991-94 war. Despite a
cease-fire agreement reached in May 1994, no final settlement has
been found to the conflict.

Guluzade said the recent happenings in Georgia’s defiant autonomous
region of Ajara showed that Moscow had no choice but to bow to heavy
pressures by Washington.

“Russia will withdraw from Armenia, too,” Guluzade said.

Those hoping for a peaceful resolution of the conflict were once
more disappointed when a meeting of Azerbaijani and Armenian foreign
ministers in Strasbourg on May 12-13 gave no result, with Aremnia’s
Vardan Oskanian deeming the idea to withdraw from Azerbaijan’s seven
occupied districts “absurd and meaningless.”

Meanwhile, President Ilham Aliyev sent one more warning against the
arch foe Armenia while on a visit to his home region of Nakhchivan
late last week.

“Azerbaijan’s army can resort to using force any time to free the
occupied territories. It is our natural right,” Aliyev stressed.

But the former foreign affairs aide Guluzde believes Azerbaijan has
to get ready for a political isolation, if it decides to take guns
to fight back the territories.

He says the isolation might come from Russia, as well as from the
United States and Europe.

“We also have to be three to five times stronger than the enemy is,
because we’ll suffer more human casualties if we begin to attack,”
Guluzade underlined.

Asked if another war could bring any positive results for Azerbaijan,
Guluzade said: “It may, but it must be based on a very well thought
over plan.”