BAKU: State Dept.: Separatists control NK with Armenia’s support

Trend, Azerbaijan
April 26 2013

State Dept.: Separatists control Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia’s support

By Sara Rajabova, Azernews

Armenia’s policy of aggression against Azerbaijan is causing concern
and drawing condemnation from superpowers.

Thus, recently the U.S. State Department stated in its report on human
rights practices for 2012 that separatists, with Armenia’s support,
continue to control most of Nagorno-Karabakh and seven other
Azerbaijani territories.

The report also said the final status of Nagorno-Karabakh remained the
subject of international mediation by the OSCE Minsk Group, which is
co-chaired by Russia, France, and the United States.

Director of the Institute of Political Studies of the Academy of
Public Administration under the President of Azerbaijan, political
expert Elman Nasirov said there are several points related to Armenia
in the State Department’s report that are of great interest to
Azerbaijan.

“Firstly, this report specifically cites the state of Armenia and its
support for the separatist regime. This is a very important point for
us, because we are witnessing that in many cases Armenia is left
outside [the negotiation process], as if the separatist regime, not
Armenia, mainly takes part in the peace process.

“None of the four UN Security Council resolutions [calling for
Armenia’s withdrawal from the occupied Azerbaijani territory], cites
Armenia. This report, however, does cite it, which is an extremely
important issue,” Nasirov said.

Another point in the report is confirmation of the fact about the
separatist regime’s occupying Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent
regions of Azerbaijan with Armenia’s support, he said.

“This is also a very important point, because in most cases the
Armenian side does not deny the seven adjacent regions’ belonging to
Azerbaijan, saying that they keep them as a security zone, but argues
that Nagorno-Karabakh belongs to them. But the fact that the
occupation of both Nagorno-Karabakh and the seven surrounding regions
was reflected in the State Department report is one of the very
important points.”

According to the expert, another important point in the report is the
reference to widespread corruption in Armenia, serious problems with
democracy and the violations of law revealed during the parliamentary
election held in Armenia last May.

In this case, the analyst said, Baku gains additional arguments in the
negotiations with international organizations, namely, the OSCE and
its Minsk Group. It can draw special attention to this fact during the
discussions, saying that “massive fraud occurred, there are serious
problems with democracy and human rights during elections, corruption
and bribery is rife, so, how can we engage in talks on
Nagorno-Karabakh with such a regime, solve the problem, negotiate
normally?”

Nasirov said another point is that the United States’ stating its
position as a Minsk Group co-chair and sharply criticizing Armenia in
the mentioned report shows that this country has no intention to
seemingly act as an outside observer of the conflict settlement
process as it did previously.

“It is not ruled out that Washington will step up its activity on the
issue [the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict resolution]. And in this case,
one of the tasks facing the Azerbaijani diplomacy should be to convey
to the U.S that Armenia has deliberately choosen the tactic of backing
down from peace talks. Whereas previously Armenia followed the policy
of prolongation of the conflict, now it has chosen the tactic of
refusing to hold talks and is trying by all means to prevent them from
taking place,” Nasirov said.

The expert said that the goal pursued by Yerevan is to replace itself
in peace talks with the separatist regime – the self-proclaimed
“Nagorno-Karabakh Republic”, which would negotiate as a full-fledged
party.

“Armenia thus tries to legitimize the separatist regime and present it
as a subject of international law. Certain steps have already been
taken in this regard. Thus, in 2012 the legislative bodies of Rhode
Island and Massachusetts states of the U.S. essentially passed a
decision on the recognition of the self-proclaimed “Nagorno-Karabakh
Republic” and sent that decision to the federal government. New South
Wales State of Australia has made a similar decision; also, a
friendship group with the so-called “Nagorno-Karabakh Republic” in the
Lithuanian parliament has been set up. All this once again proves that
Armenia has chosen the tactic of achieving recognition of the
separatist regime by the international community. So, the mentioned
report shows that the U.S. indeed intends to play an active role in
the peace process. This being said, taking into account the points I
made, it is necessary to convey to the U.S. that it should direct its
activity in this direction,” Nasirov said.

Azerbaijan and Armenia for over two decades have been locked in
conflict, which emerged over Armenian territorial claims. Since a
lengthy war in the early 1990s, Armenian armed forces have occupied
over 20 percent of Azerbaijan’s internationally recognized territory,
including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions. The UN Security
Council has adopted four resolutions on Armenia’s withdrawal from the
Azerbaijani territory, but they have not been enforced to this day.

Peace talks brokered by OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs representing the
United States, Russia and France have been largely fruitless so far.

The negotiations are underway on the basis of a peace outline proposed
by the Minsk Group co-chairs and dubbed the Madrid Principles, also
known as Basic Principles. The document envisions a return of the
territories surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh to Azerbaijani control;
determining the final legal status of Nagorno-Karabakh; a corridor
linking Armenia to the region; and the right of all internally
displaced persons to return home.

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