|THE MEDIATORS ARE CALLING ON AND AZERBAIJAN IS IGNORING|
|Friday, 13 July 2012 16:32|
On Wednesday, July 11, OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairmen Robert Bradtke (USA), Igor Popov (RF), and Jack Fore (France) visited the NKR within their regional visit.
According to the official information, issues related to the Azerbaijani-Karabakh conflict settlement and regional processes were discussed at the meeting with the NKR President.
As you can see, the subject matter is rather capacious, but we can suppose with a high probability that among the considered issues an important place was occupied by the military component of the Karabakh conflict, or more precisely, the possibility of resuming the war. Indirectly, this is indicated also by the fact that the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmen timed their visit to Nagorno-Karabakh to the scheduled monitoring of the contact-line, during which the mediators moved from the Azerbaijani territory to that of Karabakh. Rather, they wanted to see with their own eyes and feel the situation at the front-line, where about a month ago there was extremely dangerous increase in tensions. As you know, on June 4-6, Azerbaijan took armed subversive actions, resulting in the deaths of over ten people, which made many experts speak about the increasing risk of resumption of the large-scale hostilities
The situation was really teetering on the brink of war and peace, prompting the international mediators, presented by the Presidents of Russia, the USA and France, to speak at the G-20 summit in Los Cabos, Mexico, with a hard call to the parties, emphasizing the inadmissibility of the use of military force for resolving the conflict. I must say that lately, of the three principles proposed by the Minsk Group co-chairmen for resolving the Karabakh conflict – non-use of force or threat of force, the right of peoples to self-determination and territorial integrity of states - just the first one is more often put forward. Also, the main goal of the Minsk Group co-chairs’ current visit was prevention of the hostilities’ resumption and maintenance of peace.
It seems that the mediators are losing their patience with the endless militaristic statements and provocative actions of Azerbaijan, which states with aggressive self-confidence its intention to solve the problem by force. The co-chairs seem to begin to get irritated at the permanent refusal of Baku - in spite of the numerous appeals of international structures - to withdraw snipers from the frontline and its endless armed provocations. And the first reaction of the American party has taken place.
We are talking about the recent decision of the U.S. State Department to delete Azerbaijan from the list of countries, to which American military equipment will soon be sold. It can be supposed that the State Department's decision was a response to the disrespectful attitude of official Baku to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whose visit to the region on June 4 was spoiled by sabotage operations of the Azerbaijani armed forces on the borders with Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh. We are far from thinking that the cessation of the U.S. military supplies to Azerbaijan will hurt the Azerbaijani army, however, the very precedent is important here. In fact, they gave the Baku regime to understand that they know very well who actually destabilizes the situation in the conflict zone and that they will not continue to tolerate its dangerous steps threatening the peace and stability in the region. We'd like to believe that the U.S. will be consistent and will take further measures to curb the aggressor, which has felt its impunity up to now.
The issue of the destructive policy of Azerbaijan was touched upon also during this visit of the mediators to Stepanakert. The NKR President called on the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs to use their efforts to finally move Azerbaijan to a constructive direction and to restore the full format of the negotiations, with Nagorno-Karabakh’s participation in them. Unfortunately, this time too, there was no clear answer to the question on the term of the Karabakh party’s involvement in the negotiations. In Stepanakert, the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs noted only that at some stage, perhaps, with the beginning of the works over the text of the peace agreement, the current format of negotiations may be expanded. Either, there were no specifics on the term of putting into operation the mechanism of investigating the incidents at the contact-line, which has been noted for many years. This mechanism, to some extent, could become a deterrent to Azerbaijan, the Foreign Minister of which has recently stated that the sniper war will be continued until a final settlement of the conflict. It is while both Armenian parties initially gave their consent to the withdrawal of snipers.
Does the international community need any other evidence of who actually inflames the situation in this explosive region? Surely, not. Only the political will and determination of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmanship are needed to take serious steps against the major culprit in creating a situation that threatens to escalate into a full-scale war. At least that official Baku, as First Vice-Parliament Speaker Ziyafyat Askerov has recently done, does not state that "the OSCE Minsk Group is a dead organization", adding that "the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict will be solved by powerful Azerbaijan and its powerful army."
Editor-in-Chief of Azat Artsakh newspaper
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