Armenia's Blackmails and Co-chairs: Risks Are Increasing

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Baku, 24 November 2014 –

Frenzy surrounding the downing of helicopter belonging to Armenia’s air force is growing. Along with illogical and pointless statements by the official Yerevan, it is the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs that are using dubious language. And it is only natural that Azerbaijani side is demonstrating harsh reaction to that. Instead of objective evaluation of the situation on the ground the international organizations are continuing the policy of double-standards. All of this significantly hampers the resolution process and puts the negotiations into a stalemate.

Search of ''Neutral Zone'' in Azerbaijan’s Territory

The OSCE Minsk Group Co-chairs have finally broke silence with regards to the downing of the Armenian military helicopter over the Azerbaijani territory. However, it would have been more helpful if they stayed quite. Their assessment was in line with the accustomed behavior and events were described in confusing and general terms.

The circumstances under which the helicopter was neutralized are as clear as a day. There is concrete evidence and footage of the large-scale military exercises in the Armenia-occupied territories. Some 47000 Armenian troops and 3000 military vehicles were involved. During the exercises an Armenian helicopters had performed provocative flights and as they had approached Azerbaijan’s military positions they have assumed assault formation. And the outcome is known.

Astonishingly, some quarters chose to disregard real evidence and focused on Yerevan’s propaganda campaign. They have not questioned the motive of Armenia’s military exercises in the occupied Azerbaijani territories as if this was business as usual. By doing so, they are attempting to covertly justify Armenia’s provocative actions. Armenians in turn are capitalizing on the position of such patrons and aim to derail the negotiations and fail to honor every official document that was adopted.

Moreover, the OSCE Minsk Group Co-chairs are perfectly aware of that because for over 20 years they have been tasked with mediation of this conflict (at least that was the purpose of its inception). Yet, against the backdrop of stalled resolution process some 1 million Azerbaijanis remain expelled from their native lands and thousands of lives already lost.

Today there is not a single civilian Azerbaijani living there. In fact, ordinary Armenians have also fled, escaping from the separatist regime. If compared, Armenian military personnel involved in the very exercises substantially outnumbered the civilians actually residing in the Nagorno Karabakh. Does not this mean that Yerevan has turned the occupied territories into a military firing range?

Why are the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs not mentioning these facts and not questioning deployment by the official Yerevan of such an immense number of troops and military hardware in the Azerbaijani territories? The answers are evident. Nevertheless, it is not just Armenians that are deliberately presenting the situation in the Armenian-style fashion. This is why the term ''neutral zone'' used by the Armenians was picked up by the co-chairs of the Minsk Group; although they eventually had to backpedal and substitute the term ''neutral zone'' by the ''buffer zone separating the armed forces''.

Double Standards and International Law: Source of Contradiction

This does not change the situation because the international organizations must cast off the double standards and punish Armenia. Still their behavior comes nowhere close to that. It is only fascinating that opinions of certain quarters concur with the fictions of the Armenian experts. Member of the Armenia’s Parliament Artag Zakaryan seizes such opportunities and lectures the co-chairs on their performance. Allegedly, belligerent statements by Azerbaijan should receive harsh reaction from the international organizations, particularly by the OSCE Minsk Group (see: Минской группе давно пора дать адресную оценку произошедшему – Артак Закарян /, 20 November 2014).

Apparently, even a term so negligently used by the co-chairs is overblown by the Armenian diplomacy and put to use for smear purposes. Seemingly, some circles are doing this intentionally to prevent fair resolution of the conflict. This was the primary motive of staging military exercises in the Armenia-occupied Azerbaijani territories. By derailing the negotiation processes the Armenians are attempting to maintain the status quo. To that end there are resorting to any means because the official Yerevan is perfectly aware of being wrong. They fail to produce real arguments for annexation of lands of a neighboring country.

The only available option is to mislead the international community and commit subversions followed by uncivilized hullabaloo. Regrettably, the co-chairs fail to take that into account and dismiss the international law by trying to cover-up aggressor’s actions. Instead of committing themselves to the resolution of the conflict there are dodging responsibility and aim to put it on somebody else’s shoulders by saying, ''you should reach an agreement yourselves”. Don’t these co-chairs have obligations or responsibility? (see: Prezident Administrasiyası rəhbərinin müavini: Necə yəni vertolyot ''neytral ərazidə'' düşüb?'' (Deputy Head of Administration: What do you mean the Helicopter crashed in the ''neutral zone''?) / APA, 20 November 2014). Then, why they call themselves the mediators in the first place?

Another aspect must be emphasized in this context. The President of Azerbaijan has repeatedly underscored that the situation created by the Armenia’s occupation constitutes a grave threat for the region (see: Ilham Aliyev addressed the PACE Summer Session /, 24 June 2014). Nevertheless, the co-chairs aim to maintain the current situation. This has to imply something.

First and foremost, this demonstrates that the international organizations and certain political quarters are not interested in the resolution of the conflict. This actually is quite a complex situation. It turns out that Azerbaijan may encounter an unexpected provocation at any time. The developments regarding the helicopter must be regarded as a telling example of that. And as we move forward we must not rule out that the enemy is gearing up for more actions.

There is no doubt that such methods are dooming the resolution of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict, whereas its protraction is perilous for the region and the world. Official Yerevan aims to realize its sordid intentions through causing propaganda frenzy around the incident related to the military helicopter.

The tensions witnessed in different parts of the world indeed require a different attitude on the part of the international community. Developments in Ukraine have compounded the situation throughout a vast geopolitical space. Events in the Middle East need no elaboration. Regions engulfed by conflict are deprived of normal living conditions. And in this sense, protraction of the Nagorno Karabakh or its use for geopolitical purposes is a treacherous development for the world.

Certainly, the hype around the downed Armenian military is futile. Azerbaijan reserves the right to restore its territorial integrity and it is inconceivable that it deviates from this course. Therefore, fictions of the official Yerevan will eventually backfire. When it comes to the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs, they should stop playing around with bogus terms and really commit themselves to the resolution of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict.

The international community must finally provide legal appraisal of Armenia’s capricious behavior. Armenia has to be made clear that distortion of any event is unacceptable. Otherwise, risky situations would continue to emerge, effectively reducing to minimum the overall chances of achieving stability.

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