BAKU: Paper slams USA’s “double standards” towards Azerbaijan

Paper slams USA’s “double standards” towards Azerbaijan

Zerkalo, Baku
18 Aug 04

Azerbaijan is becoming a testing ground for the super powers, as
Russian MPs express concern at possible US plans to base troops there,
an article in an Azerbaijani daily has said. Despite the USA’s
statements on supporting Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity, “Baku can
sacrifice its interests for Washington, but Americans could not care
less about either Azerbaijan or the Karabakh dispute,” the article
concluded. “Uncle Sam is interested only in Caspian oil and elbowing
Russia and Iran out of its interest areas.” The following is an
excerpt from A. Rasidoglu’s report by Azerbaijani newspaper Zerkalo on
18 August headlined “Uncle Sam’s double standards” and subheaded “Baku
may sacrifice its interests for Washington, but no appreciation is
worth waiting for”; subheadings inserted editorially:

The search for ways of settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict
depends not on the Minsk Group co-chairs, but on the governments of
Azerbaijan and Armenia, Trend news agency has quoted the US
co-chairman of the OSCE Minsk Group, Steven Mann, as saying.

Asked about the illegitimate municipal elections in the so-called
Nagornyy Karabakh Republic, as well as the command and staff exercises
in the occupied lands of Azerbaijan, Mann said that “The Department of
State has already answered your question. I am reiterating deputy
spokesman Adam Ereli’s words at a briefing. We do not recognize
Nagornyy Karabakh as an independent state. The USA supports
Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity. We do not believe that these
elections will have a negative effect on the Minsk Group’s

Touching upon the impact of these steps by the Armenian side on the
collapse of the negotiation process, Mann said that ” Events
dissatisfying this or that side will always crop up in the region.”

“The responsibility of all the sides involved in the Minsk Group
activities is not to deviate from the negotiations and from taking
further the peace process. Let me explain why we are doing this and
why Azerbaijan and Armenia are doing this. The sides are not in the
negotiations process for the sake of politeness or for the sake of
observing some norms. We are all proceeding from our national
interests. Therefore, I believe that President Ilham Aliyev’s decision
to participate in the negotiations is correct and is based on
Azerbaijan’s national interests,” he said.

Speaking of the long-term US position on the Karabakh process, Mann
stressed that the settlement of the conflict should take into account
the wishes of all the inhabitants in the region. “The Minsk Group does
not support any of the sides. The international community has
recognized the conflict and decided to support the negotiations and
mediate them. The international community has not authorized the Minsk
Group to act as an arbiter. Our mandate from the international
community does not envisage this. It says we should work as much as we
can to find a common ground between the two sides and ensure real
discussions,” the diplomat underlined.

Passage omitted: BTC pipeline

Russia concerned at US troop deployment plans

It is interesting that the diplomatic gestures of the American
co-chairman coincided with US President George W. Bush’s statements,
who officially announced the biggest ever redeployment of troops since
the Cold War. About 70,000 servicemen will leave their bases in Europe
and Asia. The head of the White House disclosed the details of this
plan at a traditional meeting with veterans of overseas wars in
Cincinatti, Ohio during the night of 17 August, Baku time.

Passage omitted: Bush’s details about troops deployment

Earlier, US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld detailed the US
intentions in a meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergey Ivanov,
while General Charles Wald named the countries, which could host US
military bases, among which there was Azerbaijan, too. Rumsfeld said
that the US troops in Europe would be reduced by two-thirds.

Passage omitted: details of troops reduction

In turn, the military contingents in the territories of the USA’s new
allies in Asia and the former Soviet countries will be slightly

Passage omitted: details and reaction in the USA

Bush has equally alarmed Russian political analysts and
officials. “Our concerns are grounded,” the head of the International
Affairs Committee of the Russian State Duma lower house of parliament
, Konstantin Kosachev, told Ekho Moskvy radio station. “We still have
to be sure that new threats will not be created for Russia following
redeployment of the US military bases. But, there is no ground for
panic yet,” he explained.

He said that the talk is now about the deployment of US troops in
Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania and it does not cause
fear. Granted that, as Kosachev noticed, “Americans say that it is
being done to fight terrorism and the bases will be directed towards
the south. But, if the deployment of military bases in Hungary,
Bulgaria and Romania is movement towards the southeast, the appearance
of military bases in Poland is movement to the east,” he told

If we talk about deployment of contingents in the Baltic nations, this
will certainly secure US interests, something that cannot please
Russia. “Russia should negotiate with the countries in the Caucasus
and Central Asia, which could potentially be a place for American
bases, for non-deployment of these bases,” the deputy says. He is also
convinced that only the refusal to host American troops could allow
countries like Moldova and Georgia to “ensure their security”.

Passage omitted: Russian Defence Minister Ivanov’s comments

Russian media say that if the USA happens to redeploy its troops in
Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Georgia, the operation will start not
earlier than four to six years. Probably, these deployments and
generally all military decisions will be discussed at a meeting of the
heads of defence and security committees of CIS parliaments in

“And within the framework of the meeting we will certainly discuss
relations between the CIS and NATO,” the chairman of the Committee on
Security and Defence Issues of the Russian Federation Council, Viktor
Ozerov, said. In any case the former Soviet nations will still have a
lot of time to decide whom to establish blocs with when American bases
approach Russian borders.

USA does not care about Azerbaijan

So, Azerbaijan is becoming a testing ground for super states. Whether
it will positively affect the settlement of the Karabakh dispute is a
matter of time. But, as is seen from Steven Mann’s statements,
Washington is again applying double standards to this
issue. Azerbaijan is a partner of the USA, while Armenia is Russia’s
vassal. But, Uncle Sam is little concerned over these nuances. It
turns out that Baku can sacrifice its interests for Washington, but
Americans could not care less about either Azerbaijan or the Karabakh

Uncle Sam is interested only in Caspian oil and elbowing Russia and
Iran out of its interest areas. The Azerbaijani people is unlikely to
agree to this degrading accord… ellipses as published