FM: Int’l Comm. Inclines to Protect Peoples’ Right To Self-Determntn


YEREVAN, AUGUST 22, NOYAN TAPAN. Prior to the presidents’ meeting in
Kazan, Azerbaijan’s assessments of the Nagorno Karabakh resolution
process have become more frequent. Specifically, Azerbaijani officials
of varying capacities, have made statements on different occasions,
alleging that the essence of the Prague Process is a stage-by-stage
solution, and that time works in their favor, and that international
public opinion is moving in their direction. On the other hand, they
also say that the negotiations are not productive and that “we must be
prepared for everything,” most probably having in mind a military
solution to the conflict, since Azerbaijan’s military budget has
increased by one-third. RA Foreign Minsiter Vartan Oskanian’s
interpretations of the above-mentioned estimations of the Azerbaijani
party were submitted to Noyan Tapan by the RA Foreign Ministry’s Press
and Information Department. The interpretations are the following: “As
a rule, each time Azerbaijan does not achieve what it wants, they
either badmouth the Minsk Group, or express dissatisfaction or
disaffection with the negotiations process, thus creating new
political backdrop for the next stage of the negotiating process.

That’s what they’re trying to do now. As for the Azerbaijani
characterization of the Prague Process, here too, they are talking not
about what is, but about what they would like to see. It is clear to
everyone, including the Azerbaijanis, that Karabakh’s
self-determination is the key issue, which must find expression in the
right of the people of Nagorno Karabakh to decide its own future. The
remainder – doing away with the consequences of the conflict, the
issue of territories, return of refugees, etc. – will follow. Of
course, the package solution of the conflict may be implemented in
stages; in this regard, we are prepared to demonstrate flexibility. As
for the time factor, I will repeat that which we all know: time works
to no one’s advantage, because as a result of the unresolved conflict,
Azerbaijan, Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh all suffer. On the other
hand, an Azerbaijani military budget that is bloated by oil dollars,
doesn’t change anything. First, they can neither seduce nor, worse,
scare us with their oil. Armenia always has the ability to militarily
counter any Azerbaijani military budget. In fact, the advantage that
Armenians have over Azerbaijan is not in military expenditures or
arms, but in the justness of the cause. Armenians believe that the
Nagorno Karabakh cause is just, and in case of war, they will be
fighting for their own homes and land. This is not what the
Azerbaijanis did or would do. It would be better for Azerbaijan to
compete not militarily, but engage in healthy economic and political
competition. And in those realms, today, Azerbaijan is far from
challenging Armenia or even Nagorno Karabakh. As for the position of
the international community, they are assessing the situation more
realistically, and are reckoning with reality and fact. The
international trend regarding conflicts – East Timor, developments
around Kosovo, the Sudan Agreement – all these developments
demonstrate that the international community today is leaning towards
greater respect for the right of peoples to self-determination.”

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress