Matthew Bryza: U.S. president should meet with presidents Aliyev and Sargsyan

Matthew Bryza: U.S. president should meet with presidents Aliyev and Sargsyan
# 31 January 2015 11:59 (UTC +04:00)

Baku – APA. “Sooner or later the American leaders will recognize relations with Azerbaijan themselves, that there are strategic interests, big interests, and they need protecting,” former U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan, Matthew Bryza said in his interview to Vestnik Kavkaza, APA reports.

“But so far, it is not permissible in Washington. I think that a few months later, strategic thinkers would pay proper attention to Azerbaijan, then the situation would improve, as I see it.

In my opinion, sadly, people in general expressing their opinion about the situation in Azerbaijan are hardly familiar with the situation in Azerbaijan. All they do is waste words. Without experience, they do not know what is going on in Azerbaijan, how complicated the situation is, how tangled the situation is. And they simply decide that Azerbaijan should be some country somewhere that has enormous problems with corruption, human rights, democracy. If my colleagues there, in America, knew the situation here… And concerning order in Saudi Arabia, President Obama said two days ago, yes, there are problems, solutions, and our strategic interests should be protected. And if together with Saudi Arabia, then why not do it with Azerbaijan, I would say.

Matthew Bryza: U.S. president should meet with presidents Aliyev and Sargsyan

“Some American politicians do not know what is going on in Azerbaijan, are hardly familiar with the situation in the country”

Baku – APA. “Sooner or later the American leaders will recognize relations with Azerbaijan themselves, that there are strategic interests, big interests, and they need protecting,” former U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan, Matthew Bryza said in his interview to Vestnik Kavkaza, APA reports.

“But so far, it is not permissible in Washington. I think that a few months later, strategic thinkers would pay proper attention to Azerbaijan, then the situation would improve, as I see it.

In my opinion, sadly, people in general expressing their opinion about the situation in Azerbaijan are hardly familiar with the situation in Azerbaijan. All they do is waste words. Without experience, they do not know what is going on in Azerbaijan, how complicated the situation is, how tangled the situation is. And they simply decide that Azerbaijan should be some country somewhere that has enormous problems with corruption, human rights, democracy. If my colleagues there, in America, knew the situation here… And concerning order in Saudi Arabia, President Obama said two days ago, yes, there are problems, solutions, and our strategic interests should be protected. And if together with Saudi Arabia, then why not do it with Azerbaijan, I would say.

The U.S. paid very little attention to the South Caucasus. An American strategy is needed and the first step is to determine the strategic interests of the U.S. in the South Caucasus. I think that America is real in the South Caucasus. There are three separate countries. The most active one of them is Azerbaijan, of course, in terms of the economy, in terms of the population, in terms of strategic construction. But each country is different. Yes, Russia plays a big role, but on the other side, concerning Azerbaijan, it is an independent state. And for the first time in the history of Azerbaijan, Azerbaijan decides its fate to a certain extent,” he said.

Touching on the Karabakh conflict, he said that the U.S. has some interest in settling the conflict, but that is not enough. “If the U.S. wants a breakthrough in the conflict, a new process, the president and the secretary of state themselves should make a political umbrella, political support for the presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia. The U.S. president should meet with the presidents, with Aliyev and with Sargsyan, from time to time. The way President Medvedev did it when he was the president. But he, President Obama, needs to demonstrate publicly that the conflict is important to the U.S.

First of all, the Azerbaijani Diaspora and the Turkish one could play a bigger role in forming opinion in the U.S. That would be nice. Secondly, in the end, it would be insufficient. What is needed is what I have just said: so that a side, so that Azerbaijan or Armenia, or both, would take some concrete step. And say that we, as presidents, are ready for direct negotiations between each other. Then it would be a positive fuss, I can say, which would draw the attention of the bigwigs in America,” Bryza said.

An American strategy is needed and the first step is to determine the strategic interests of the U.S. in the South Caucasus. I think that America is real in the South Caucasus. There are three separate countries. The most active one of them is Azerbaijan, of course, in terms of the economy, in terms of the population, in terms of strategic construction. But each country is different. Yes, Russia plays a big role, but on the other side, concerning Azerbaijan, it is an independent state. And for the first time in the history of Azerbaijan, Azerbaijan decides its fate to a certain extent,” he said.

Touching on the Karabakh conflict, he said that the U.S. has some interest in settling the conflict, but that is not enough. “If the U.S. wants a breakthrough in the conflict, a new process, the president and the secretary of state themselves should make a political umbrella, political support for the presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia. The U.S. president should meet with the presidents, with Aliyev and with Sargsyan, from time to time. The way President Medvedev did it when he was the president. But he, President Obama, needs to demonstrate publicly that the conflict is important to the U.S.

First of all, the Azerbaijani Diaspora and the Turkish one could play a bigger role in forming opinion in the U.S. That would be nice. Secondly, in the end, it would be insufficient. What is needed is what I have just said: so that a side, so that Azerbaijan or Armenia, or both, would take some concrete step. And say that we, as presidents, are ready for direct negotiations between each other. Then it would be a positive fuss, I can say, which would draw the attention of the bigwigs in America,” Bryza said.

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