BAKU: It Is Enough To Compare Azerbaijani, Armenian Capitals: Americ



Aug 3 2009

American political commentator and representative of the
California-based analytical center The Tool Shed Group Jameson Katz
spoke in an interview with Day.Az.

Day.Az: President Obama says that the U.S. supports Georgia’s
territorial integrity, but against a new war in the Caucasus. Do not
you think that this indicates a change in American approach to the
resolution of Georgia’s territorial problems?

Jameson Katz: No, I do not think so. I am convinced that the United
States have always to say something in defense of the territorial
integrity of Georgia. I do not think that Obama has an intention to
change these approaches.

Q: Missile shield is still one of the most complicated issues in the
U.S.-Russia relations. Are you sure that the missile system which
may be deployed in Eastern Europe, in fact, directed against Iran,
but not Russia, it as suggested in Moscow?

A: No, I do not think that missiles will be directed against Russia,
at least in the predictable future. In the short term target of these
systems will involve the threat posed by Iran. I think this threat
today is one of the major challenges facing U.S. foreign policy and
security interests. So, I think fears of Russia about these systems
are not reasonable.

Q: What is it? United States and Russia are the main mediators in
the Karabakh settlement. After all, improving mutual understanding
between Moscow and Washington should be only for the benefit of
solving the conflict?

A: Yes, I think it would be useful for the resolution. Bilateral
relations between the United States and Russia are important in many
aspects including diversification of energy supply, security and
other issues. At the same time, as I already mentioned, Washington
is not fully aware of the essence of Moscow’s foreign policy.

Either way, reverting to the question of understanding, I would say
that yes, constructive relations between the United States and Russia
can help solve the conflict. In any case, the close relationship
between the two countries is better than confrontation. It is another
thing – whether Russians want the conflict to be resolved. For
instance, I am not sure they want it.

Q: Karabakh separatists did not abandon attempts to achieve
international recognition. Is there any possibility of separation of
Nagorno Karabakh from Azerbaijan and recognition of its independence?

A: Frankly speaking, I do not understand on what grounds the Armenians
of Nagorno-Karabakh expect that they could gain independence. I do
not think that this recognition will ever happen. I do not think that
anyone in the United States, with exception of the Armenian lobby,
would argue for the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh. The opposite
would be a big geopolitical mistake by the U.S. and I do not think
it will happen. The fact remains: the international community, UN,
EU and the United States does not intend to recognize independence
of Nagorno-Karabakh. This is an integral part of Azerbaijan and it
should remain so.

Frankly, if the Armenians had been wiser, they would not have engaged
in self-imposed isolation from the regional integration, but returned
the occupied territories and restored good relations with surrounding
countries. This is a very promising region with great political and
geopolitical importance.

To make sure that what policy by Azerbaijan and Armenia have brought
for these countries it is enough to look at capitals of these
countries. Today, Baku and Yerevan are simply not comparable for the
level of development. Armenia is a country that faces deep economic
crisis while Azerbaijan occupies a leading position in the world for
pace of economic development. Because Azerbaijan has good-neighborly
policy, builds constructive relationship with neighbors, is a reliable
trade partner and pursues pragmatic policy unlike Armenia.