BAKU: Washington not to hamper US companies working in Karabakh,envo

Washington not to hamper US companies working in Karabakh, envoy says

Ekspress, Baku
21 May 04

Text of Alakbar Raufoglu report by Azerbaijani newspaper Ekspress on
21 May headlined “Are the politics and trade separate?”, subheaded
“Washington does not intend to prevent the US companies working in
Nagornyy Karabakh”

Washington is not going to apply economic sanctions against US
companies operating in Azerbaijan’s occupied territory of Nagornyy
Karabakh, US ambassador to Azerbaijan Reno Harnish has told a news
conference on the results of the US-Azerbaijani intergovernmental
working group yesterday [20 May]. According to him, the US government
believes in independent trade and “we do not support imposing any
trade restrictions on independent countries”.

At the same time, the ambassador said if Washington applied sanctions
against Nagornyy Karabakh, then those sanctions had to be addressed
to Azerbaijan, since US laws had not experienced the application of
sanctions against any autonomous establishment.

For this reason, US companies can continue their activities in
Nagornyy Karabakh.

The ambassador, who declined to answer questions about the recognition
of Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity by Washington, said: “It is not
worth speaking about politics in such issues. We support efforts on
the Nagornyy Karabakh resolution. The US government wants to see a
lasting, but just solution to the problem.”

Thus, Harnish thinks that the operation of foreign companies in
Nagornyy Karabakh is a “trade issue” and this should not be confused
with political processes. From this viewpoint, the ambassador recalled
the proposal to open borders between Turkey and Armenia advanced by
US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage during his visit to
the region last month.

“He said that borders should be opened so that trade relations can
be established,” the ambassador said and added that he was against
the presentation of the US companies’ operation in Nagornyy Karabakh
as a success of the USA.

Harnish said that the USA wanted to show once again its close relations
with Azerbaijan in the economic sector and that “an intergovernmental
agreement was achieved on the preparation of new programmes”.

It is interesting that the USA can easily confuse “trade relations”
with politics when this is beneficial for it. For instance, when
Washington applies sanctions against numerous countries in the world,
it bans private companies from keeping ties with those countries.