BAKU: Mann: Karabakh Mediators Not to Recognize Armenia as Aggressor


Azad Azarbaycan TV, Baku
17 Aug 04

(Presenter) The US co-chairman of the OSCE Minsk Group, Steven Mann,
has made a bizarre statement. In an interview with Azartac news
agency, Mann said that recognition of Armenia as an aggressor was not
relevant to the Minsk Group’s mission. In addition, Mann stressed that
they made no differences between the occupier and the occupied.

(Correspondent, over Mann’s archive footage) Illegal elections in
Nagornyy Karabakh (to local government bodies on 8 August) will not
have an impact on the conflict settlement within the framework of the
OSCE Minsk Group, Mann said. Recalling the US stance on these
elections, Mann added that his country did not recognize Nagornyy
Karabakh as an independent entity and backed Azerbaijan’s territorial
integrity. But he said that recognition of Armenia as an aggressor was
not relevant to the Minsk Group’s mission. Wishes of all people in the
region should be taken into consideration while settling the Karabakh
conflict, Mann said. He added that the Minsk Group did not side with
anybody because the international community had not authorized the
Minsk Group to act as a judge, end quote.

Mann once again called on the sides to the conflict not to expect the
mediators to perform miracles. He said that the settlement of the
problem depended not on the mediators, but on Azerbaijan and
Armenia. That is why, Mr Mann believes that Azerbaijani President
Ilham Aliyev’s decision to take part in the peace process is correct
and based on Azerbaijan’s national interests.

Speaking on the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, Mann admitted that
the Washington government had been surprised at the delay in the
construction of the pipeline’s Georgian section. He said that this
issue had been widely discussed during Georgian President Mikheil
Saakashvili’s visit to the USA. Mann expressed his satisfaction with
the resumption of the construction. Mr Mann added that he was against
linking the construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline with
the settlement of the Nagornyy Karabakh conflict. This project has
nothing to do with the settlement of the Nagornyy Karabakh conflict,
he said. Mann added that the oil pipeline reflected the South
Caucasus’ economic realities, but not political ones, end quote.

Qalib Sukurov, for “Son Xabar” programme.