BAKU: Azeri Analyst Warns Against Concessions To Armenia


July 22 2008

"They want to include Azerbaijan in the ‘bandwagon’ of preliminary
concessions to Armenia?"

Another meeting between the foreign ministers of Azerbaijan and
Armenia, Elmar Mammadyarov and Edvard Nalbandyan, within the framework
of the Prague negotiations process for a peaceful settlement of the
Nagornyy Karabakh conflict will take place in Moscow on 1 August, the
press secretary of the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry, Xazar Ibrahim,
said yesterday [21 July]. He added that the meeting was proposed by
the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group.

"Currently the talks are conducted on the basis of the Madrid proposals
of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs," Xazar Ibrahim said. According to
him, the discussions in Moscow will be carried out in the context of
Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity and the 14 March 2008 UN General
Assembly Resolution "On the situation in the occupied territories
of Azerbaijan".

One day before, on 31 July, OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs Bernard Fassier
(France), Matthew Bryza (USA) and Yuriy Merzlyakov (Russia) plan to
have a meeting between themselves and then separate meetings with the
Azerbaijani and Armenian foreign ministers, Matthew Bryza has told the
media. He added that on 1 August the co-chairs plan to have a joint
meeting with Mammadyarov and Nalbandyan. He also added that precise
details of the forthcoming negotiations have yet to be worked out.

[Passage omitted: The chairman of the Parliamentary Assembly of the
Council of Europe recently visited Azerbaijan and Armenia]

"To be frank, the veil of mystery that surrounded a surge of
activity related to Matthew Bryza’s remarks, hints by co-chairs,
changed rhetoric of Armenian decision-makers has now been partially
opened," well-known political analyst Rasim Agayev said. "And then it
becomes clear that under pressure from the West a serious progress in
Turkish-Armenian relations is about to be made. There is now talk of
opening the border. This is a serious decision on the part of Turkey
and can be considered a significant achievement of the Armenian
diplomacy, if this happens."

"And now it becomes clear that inspired by this manoeuvre the Western
strategists who closely follow, including with the mediation of
co-chairs, the conduct of the leaders of the conflicting South Caucasus
countries would like to build on this success with regard to Armenia
and Azerbaijan," the expert said. "Perhaps not now, but in the near
future Azerbaijan will come under certain pressure to agree to some
concessions in terms of establishing relations, to some diplomatic
deals or progress to this end, opening the railway communications with
Armenia before it agrees to do anything concerning the settlement of
the conflict. It is all because since the times of Richard Kauzlarich
[US ambassador to Azerbaijan in 1994- 97] the West and USA put the
question this way – it is necessary to start economic cooperation
and then Armenia will see how promising this is and then somehow the
Karabakh issue will be resolved by itself."

"Azerbaijan has to warn its ally [Turkey] not to open its border
before Armenia takes real steps that confirm its peacefulness, desire
to settle the conflict and agreement to renounce aggressive ideas
and territorial claims," Rasim Agayev said.