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Matthew Bryza’s mistake “samoopredelenie”: Deliberate or undeliberate? – ANALYSIS

Prague talks showed that Turkey-Armenia rapprochement had more negative influence on the settlement of Nagorno Karabakh conflict

Baku. Vugar Masimoglu – APA. The presidents’ Prague meeting that had been expected to play the decisive role in the settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict did not give the expected results. The most interesting is that for the first time the statements on the outcomes of the meeting differed from one another distinctly.

-The co-chairing country confirms the Prague meeting took place in an uneasy manner

Both the statements of the co-chairs at the press conference after the meeting, and American co-chair Matthew Bryza’s interview to Radio Liberty showed that the talks were held in constructive manner, the sides agreed on the ideas of the basic principles. But these optimistic statements contradict the information given by diplomatic sources. According to the source, the talks took place in an uneasy manner, Armenia again
tried to put into discussion a formula it had proposed two years ago. French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner’s assessment of the meeting also confirmed the information given by the diplomatic source. Mr. Kouchner said in his interview to Ekho Moskvi radio station that the meeting was held in an uneasy manner, there were still many divergences between the sides. Contradictions in the assessments confirm that the Prague meeting did not produce expected results.

-Why Armenia puts into discussion the proposals made two years ago?

Armenia’s attempts to put into discussion the proposals debated before the Madrid process, mean that the views that agreement will be reached soon on the basic principles of the settlement are not convincing. Actually, official Yerevan’s attempts to change the direction of the dialogue have objective reasons. Putting into discussion the proposals made before the Madrid process means that Armenia deviates from the settlement proposal that is on the table (though while coordinating the presidents’ meeting, the issues to be discussed are also coordinated accurately between the sides). There had been such an assumption before the Prague meeting, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov said after meeting with the U.S. Secretary of State “Armenia still has hesitations over the settlement of the conflict and it will be known in the Prague meeting whether the process, which began with great hopes, will produce results or not.” Prague meeting indeed showed that official Yerevan was not ready for the process of settlement and had hesitations, there is no other explanation to President Serzh Sargsyan’s refusing the settlement formula on the table and putting into discussion the proposals debated and not coordinated two years.

Three objective reasons of Yerevan’s hesitations
Armenia’s hesitations have objective reasons. Firstly, putting into discussion the old proposals means that the process of settlement is delayed and Armenia gains extra time. Secondly, after the start of the six-party political dialogue on the settlement of Nagorno Karabakh conflict, Armenian Diaspora increased pressures on official Yerevan. It is proved by the fact that the leaders of the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) refused to meet with Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian during his visit to the United States. This demonstrative refusal means that Armenian Diaspora is dissatisfied with the plan of solution that is on the table. Armenia, which agreed to the process of settlement at the urgent request of the co-chairing countries of Minsk Group, faced pressures of Armenian Diaspora. The only way out for Sargsyan government to balance the pressures exerted from both sides is to delay the process of settlement and gain time. The best way is to put the old proposals on the table again, and this was what Serzh Sargsyan did in Prague.

-Turkey-Armenia rapprochement struck the first blow on Nagorno Karabakh conflict!

The third objective reason is the notable improvement in Armenia-Turkey relations. From the very beginning official Yerevan claimed that the reopening of the borders with Turkey had no links to the settlement of Nagorno Karabakh conflict. At first similar colours were observed in Turkey’s position, but later it was stated on various levels that the reopening of borders was parallel to the settlement of the conflict. Though American co-chair Matthew Bryza said in his interview to the Radio Liberty that the process took place in parallel, he underlined that they did not depend on each other: “Nagorno Karabakh and improvement of Turkey-Armenia relations are two separate processes. They are moving in parallel, but with different speed. And an improvement in one has positive influence on the other.” In his statement the co-chair confirmed that improvement of Turkey-Armenia relations was more ahead of the settlement of Nagorno Karabakh conflict. This is one of the factors making Armenia change the agenda easily. Taking into account that the relations with Turkey moved forward enough, became an irresistible process, Turkey will not stop the process, even if there is no improvement in the settlement of the conflict, Yerevan wanted to put Azerbaijan before facts.
Most likely Yerevan thinks that Turkey will not keep its promise “the borders with Armenia will be not opened until the solution of Nagorno Karabakh problem” under the foreign pressure. It will be clear soon how it will be justified, but the fact remains: “Turkey-Armenia rapprochement strengthened the political position of Yerevan and contrary to the expectations this process negatively effected on the settlement of Nagorno Karabakh conflict”. The Yerevan’s policy “first open the borders and then we will see the settlement of the conflict” probably is supported by the United States, one of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs. The answer to an enigma of Matthew Bryza, who valued the Prague meeting, “that progress of one of the processes will have a positive impact on the other” is following: “The opening of Turkey-Armenia borders should take place before the settlement of Nagorno Karabakh problem and this process will promote the settlement of the conflict”. With these ideas, the US co-chair supported the Armenia’s tactic “first open the borders and then we will see the settlement of the conflict” in Prague.

- “Samoopredelenie”(self-determination) or “samoupravlenie”(self-administration)?

There is one more interesting point in the Matthew Bryza’s evaluation of the meeting. The US co-chair said that in his interview two weeks ago the Azerbaijani president told that he respected the self-determination right of Nagorno Karabakh Armenians and Bryza considered it as a preparation of Azerbaijani population to agree with one of the basic principles. “President Aliyev spoke about the Lachin corridor and its role in the security, self-administration and self-determination (added in Russian “samoopredelenie”) of Karabakh population. With this statement, he made a significant step toward the preparation of Azerbaijani population to the agreement on basic principles”. He referred to the interview of Azerbaijani President to Vesti and ITAR-TASS agency on April 18 during his working visit to Moscow, but there are no such ideas in the part of interview Matthew Bryza referred. “Our proposal contains the security of the people living in Nagorno Karabakh and the people to live there in future; local self-administration of Nagorno Karabakh; restoration of territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. The decision on the status of Nagorno Karabakh can be delayed for uncertain time. We support the proposals of Minsk Group co-chairs at present. Results of the conflict should be eliminated and Armenia must withdraw its occupant forces from the territories outside the administrative borders of Nagorno Karabakh as well. We understand that above-ground corridor between Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh is important for the Armenian side and we don’t see a problem in this issue. The issues related to Lachin corridor can be resolved so usefully that the people living in Nagorno Karabakh today and the Azerbaijanis returned there after the solution to the conflict will not concern over the communication blockade.
We approach this issue so that it can be possible to be resolved. The restoration of territorial integrity, guarantee for security, return of all refugees and displaced persons to their historic homelands in Nagorno Karabakh and surrounding territories and making decision in future on the status of Nagorno Karabakh acceptable for both sides are coordinated in both our and OSCE Minsk Group proposals. There is can’t be unilateral decision on the status of Nagorno Karabakh. Azerbaijan will never participate in the processes considered the mechanisms of legal separation of Nagorno Karabakh from Azerbaijan. This is our univocal position.
At the same time, we understand that the people living there should feel themselves secure, have self-administration opportunities and spend their lives for the solution to the conflict. From this point of view we have no domination or interference into their lives. In my opinion all theses factors can lead to the progress in the solution to the conflict”.


Matthew Bryza’s incomprehensible (?) happiness


The head of state spoke about the local self-administration right of Armenians, but not about the self-determination. Most likely Bryza mixed up the words “samoupravlenie” and “samoopredelenie”. The first notion is about the forming of self-administration bodies, the second one is about the right of any nation to establish its state. The President said “the people living there should feel themselves secure, have self-administration opportunities for the solution to the conflict”. The Matthew Bryza’s mistake put forward one of the main targets of the OSCE Minsk Group – the recognition of Nagorno Karabakh self-determination right by Azerbaijan and they follows this goal in long-year negotiations. Otherwise Matthew Bryza, who mixed up “samoupravlenie” and “samoopredelenie”, wouldn’t say that “significant step was made toward the preparation of Azerbaijani population to the agreement on basic principles”. Unfortunately! /APA-Analytics/


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