September 28, 2020

Experts in Armenia say messages in Obama-Putin-Hollande statement addressed to Azerbaijan

By Siranuysh Gevorgyan

ArmeniaNow reporter

Most analysts and ruling party representatives in Armenia believe that messages in the Minsk Group co-chair countries’ leaders’ statement are more directed to Azerbaijan than Armenia.

In Armenia most pundits say that there is a clear change in accents in the fifth statement to be issued by the leaders of the United States, Russia and France in the last five years, in other words that the world powers stress the inadmissibility of the use of force and war rhetoric.

Since it is Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev who frequently uses war rhetoric and keeps alluding to the possibility of renewed hostilities in Karabakh, the most common view is that the statement contains “criticism” mostly directed at Azerbaijan.

President Barack Obama, of the United States, and his Russian and French counterparts, Vladimir Putin, and Francois Hollande, issued a joint statement from the G8 summit in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, on Tuesday, urging Armenia and Azerbaijan to focus on issues that remain unresolved in their negotiations. The said that “further delay in reaching a balanced agreement on the framework for a comprehensive peace is unacceptable.”

“We strongly urge the leaders of all the sides to recommit to the Helsinki principles, particularly those relating to the non-use of force or the threat of force, territorial integrity, and equal rights and self-determination of peoples. We also appeal to them to refrain from any actions or rhetoric that could raise tension in the region and lead to escalation of the conflict. The leaders should prepare their people for peace, not war,” said the leaders.

Armenia reacted to the statement within minutes, with Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian hailing it and stressing that Yerevan agrees with its main points. But it took Azerbaijan more time to formulate its position. Only the next day, during a news briefing in Baku, Elman Abdullayev, a spokesman for the country’s Foreign Ministry, said that the statement reflects the position of Azerbaijan.

In his written comments Armenia’s top diplomat also blamed Azerbaijan for lack of progress in the resolution of the protracted conflict, accusing Baku of continuing its bellicose rhetoric and provocations on the line of contact with Nagorno-Karabakh and on the border with Armenia.

Deputy Director of the Yerevan-based Caucasus Institute Sergey Minasyan, commenting on the statement by the U.S., Russian and French leaders, said that Azerbaijan was clearly the only and real addressee of the call for rejection of war rhetoric. The political analyst also thinks that the Minsk Group co-chair countries’ presidents by their statement also call upon the parties to speed up the process of Karabakh settlement.

Meanwhile, Armenian Center for National and International Studies expert Edgar Vardanyan expressed an opinion that this latest statement does not differ from previous ones.

“Here they again mention the principles on which the international community believes the Karabakh problem should be solved. I just felt that the international community does not put up with the status quo and in reality the international community is doing everything for the status quo to change, but the parties do not demonstrate sufficient political will. In fact, it is to some extent pressure on the parties to say: “hey, guys, change your hardened attitudes and show more constructive approaches,” said the analyst.

Vardanyan also stressed that although the three presidents criticized the parties to the conflict, there was still no word about new approaches or solutions.

“In essence, nothing has changed, because the same thing is being said on and on. On the other hand, it is expected that new approaches and solutions should to be proposed to end this crisis and impasse, but this statement contains no such approaches or solutions. Perhaps in the near future we will see some new but similar approaches, but this text does not say anything about that,” he said.

Vardanyan found it difficult to say why it took Azerbaijan a day to respond to the statement.

“Maybe they expected something else,” he said, at the same time stressing that the international community puts a sign of equality between the parties in the sense that they do not display the political will to solve the problem, that is, both are equally responsible for the lack of progress.

Source: Armenia Now



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