Avoiding reconciliation: Armenians distort Washington discussions

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Baku, 25 June 2019 –

The foreign ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenian held another meeting in Washington, mediated by the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group. The meeting grabbed the media spotlight. But the Armenian side distorted some details of the meeting. Yerevan appears to be losing the sense of logic behind its position. It ether distorts the Azerbaijani side`s views, or invents different lies. Armenia is trying to perpetuate the status quo rather than withdrawing from Azerbaijan`s occupied lands. All these efforts, of course, are doomed to failure. Sooner or later the occupying forces will be expelled from the Azerbaijani lands. This article will highlight the Washington meeting from this perspective.

Hiding the truth: no-win situation!

The visit of the Azerbaijani and Armenian foreign ministers to Washington and their meeting grabbed the media spotlight. The content is clear: prospects for finding a negotiated solution to the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict as well as different aspects of the U.S.-Azerbaijan and U.S.-Armenia relations. As a rule, the Armenian and Azerbaijani media give different interpretations of the essence of the meeting. This time the coverage differed almost completely. But where does the truth lie?

Most importantly, the reason for such misinterpretations is that the American side and the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs do not demonstrate a concrete and resolute position. The co-chairs, including Washington, confine themselves just to making general remarks and giving general recommendations. In addition, they help the aggressor in the financial, political ideological, military, economic and other forms. Will the aggressor accept the truth or withdraw from the occupied lands of another state under such circumstances? Absolutely not. Then does the composition or the venue of the meeting make a sense?

This is the true essence of the issue and the meeting in Washington should be analyzed from this perspective. Naturally, such meetings are important because they help clarify the positions of the parties and at one point they reach such a stage when there is no other choice than taking real action. The Azerbaijani foreign minister put the Washington discussions in this very context. Azerbaijan`s argument is that it is high time to stop speaking just for the sake of speaking. It is high time to fulfill the decisions taken, in particular the four resolutions of the UN Security Council. The agreements reached at the Vienna, Moscow and Washington meetings must be realized. Unfortunately, everything happens except for the realization of the aforementioned issues. The Washington negotiations did not clarify this problem either.

Experts confirm the uncertainty surrounding the situation. Azerbaijan reaffirmed its resolute standing to continue the negotiations. Experts point out that Baku expressed its readiness to continue the talks even amid the Armenian defense minister`s provocative and ridiculous decision. This gesture of goodwill by Azerbaijan was again interpreted in an unfair and biased manner by the Armenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and media. The Armenian Foreign Ministry released a statement alleging that Azerbaijan`s minister of foreign affairs made remarks that go beyond the negotiations format. They even alleged that the FM gave green light to military provocations on the frontline. They claimed that the Armenia side does not accept the provocations on the frontline at all. It is a barefaced lie and it was the Armenians who shot down the Azerbaijani officer.

On the other hand, the Armenians always encourage trouble. Their goal is to throw the negotiations into dead end, maintain the uncertainty and prevent the restoration of Azerbaijan`s territorial integrity. What worries official Yerevan the most is that Azerbaijan reiterated the importance of the ongoing format of the negotiations. At the same time the Azerbaijani FM said there was no logic in Armenia`s speaking of peace, while it was trying to maintain its occupation. In what ethic or legal frameworks does the Armenian side want to put the ethnic cleansing that they conducted in the region and the expulsion of people from their homes using the pretext of "nations` self-determination”? Does this question go beyond any frameworks of the negotiations?

Conflict settlement and U.S.-Azerbaijan relations: searching for effective way

Or let`s take the Azerbaijani side`s question "if Armenian cannot speak on behalf of the separatists in the Nagorno-Karabakh, then what are the Armenian armed forces doing in the occupied territories?” Does this question run contrary to any legal norm? All this is so simple that there is no need to repeat. But the Armenian leaders cannot find other ways of expressing their biased and primitive position.

And it`s not a coincidence that the Armenians so frequently speak of the monitoring on the line of contact or the deployment of an international peacekeeping force in the conflict region.

They exaggerate the issue of monitoring, and have a negative attitude towards the idea of the deployment of the peacekeeping force. They even shamelessly claim that the Armenian troops "maintain peace”. But if they did, then we would not have the conflict. In reality, the negotiations are aimed at forcing the Armenian armed forces to withdraw from Azerbaijan`s occupied lands. We do not say that the peacekeeping force should necessarily be deployed in the region. In fact, Azerbaijan is capable of maintaining control over every inch of its territory and will do so.

But the Azerbaijani foreign minister just pointed out the proposals put forward by the co-chairs and said nothing about the document. Azerbaijan emphasizes that this issue should be discussed.

On the other hand, if there is no agreement on the problem, it is useless to speak of the peacekeeping force. It is a well-known fact. This means that the enemy is afraid to be expelled from Azerbaijan`s lands.

The Washington meeting obviously did not produce any results. The U.S. President`s security adviser John Bolton did not put forward any concrete initiative either. Experts believe that he is preoccupied with the Iran issue. The Armenia-Azerbaijan relations are interpreted in this context. However, the official statement emphasized Washington`s big interest in developing relations with Azerbaijan, which has nothing to do with the Iran issue.

So apart from the ways of solving the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict and moving the talks on substantive agreement forward, the Azerbaijani foreign minister discussed in Washington a number of issues on the political agenda between Azerbaijan and the United States.

Among the matters discussed were economic relations and initiatives, energy and transport projects, and diversification of European gas supplies. In addition, Washington discusses with Azerbaijan the situation in the Middle East, as well as other global affairs. This was pointed out in Donald Trump`s letters addressed to President Ilham Aliyev.

These facts bear testimony to the high dynamics of the U.S.-Azerbaijan relationship, and the process will move forward. But this does not mean that someone can exert pressure on official Baku in relation to the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict settlement. It is absolutely impossible. In addition, Azerbaijan does not have concessions limit: its lands have been occupied and must be liberated. If the negotiations yield no tangible results, Azerbaijan will use alternative methods. It is the country`s natural right! The Washington meeting did not change anything from this point of view.

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