The Azerbaijan and Armenian Relations needs to be mitigated and some litigation needs to be done. They need to come to some kind of conclusion and help each other through tough talks over the independence issues they have with each other and have financial regulations and keep secession from parts of the country from happening. These nations need mediation from CIS nations and other forms of mediation within to keep them from falling out and making conflict worse. I don't like see secession happening cause I want people to be close and have helpful relations.
Note : http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/RWB.NSF/db900SID/KKAA-7DFABH?OpenDocument
Armenia, Azerbaijan clash over OSCE mediation
Azerbaijanis hint they want change to the way the negotiations over Nagorny Karabakh are managed.
By Zarema Velikhanova in Baku and Ara Tadevosian in Yerevan (CRS No. 438 02-Apr-08)
The peace process over Nagorny Karabakh is in danger of unravelling, as Azerbaijanis cast doubt over the usefulness of the way the negotiations have been conducted by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
Since 1997, the talks have been mediated by the American, French and Russian co-chairmen of the OSCE's 'Minsk Group.' At the end of last year, the Minsk Group tried to persuade the two sides to accept a statement of basic principles, as a first step towards breaking the deadlock over Nagorny Karabakh's future - but no agreement was reached.
There is now a widespread perception that the peace process is exhausted.
On March 12, Azerbaijan's ambassador to the OSCE sent secretary general Marc Perrin de Brichambaut a letter asking him to 'clarify existing or possible procedures' for replacing or terminating the Minsk Group co-chairmanship.
Two days later, the United Nations General Assembly passed an Azerbaijan-sponsored resolution, which expressed support for the Minsk Group, but whose first two points reaffirmed Azerbaijan's territorial integrity – taken to include Armenian-held Nagorny Karabakh – and demanded 'the immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal of all Armenian forces from all the occupied territories of the Republic of Azerbaijan'.
Most countries abstained, but 39 voted in favour, including Georgia, Turkey and Ukraine.
Among the seven countries that voted against the resolution were the three main mediating states - France, Russia and the United States – which said the document reflected only the Azerbaijani position in the dispute.
On March 19 the three current co-chairmen of the Minsk Group – Russia's Yury Merzlyakov, Bernard Fassier of France and Matt Bryza from the US administration – issued a statement reaffirming their support for the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan,'while holding that the future status of Nagorno-Karabakh is a matter of negotiations between the parties'.
Zeyno Baran of the Hudson Institute in Washington told the Mediamax news agency in Yerevan that the UN resolution came in response to Azerbaijani concerns about Kosovo's recent declaration of independence from Serbia.
'Baku seems to worry that Kosovo will be used as a precedent,' she said. 'Azerbaijanis have seen how strongly the US has supported Georgia's territorial integrity, yet has been more ambivalent on Azerbaijan's. Of course, given that the US is a co-chair of the Minsk Group and must therefore remain an honest broker, the US government could not really take a different position on Karabakh. Unfortunately, for the ordinary Azeri this is a distinction that is difficult to understand or accept.'
Armenian officials angrily accused Azerbaijan of undermining the negotiation process. Foreign ministry spokesman Tigran Balayan also criticised Baku for not agreeing to a meeting between President Ilham Aliev and Armenian president-elect Serzh Sarkisian at the current NATO summit in Bucharest.
'This shows once again that the statements and steps made by Azerbaijani officials have nothing in common with their promises to continue the peace process,' said Balayan.
In response, Azerbaijani deputy foreign minister Araz Azimov told journalists that his country was not shunning the current negotiating framework. He said that an affirmation of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan lies at the heart of the so-called Prague Process, which has been the basis of negotiations over the past three years.
'If that hadn't been the case, Baku would have rejected these negotiations,' he said. 'It says in these proposals that Nagorny Karabakh is part of Azerbaijan and that Azerbaijanis and Armenians receive the right to live on this territory. It is unacceptable to introduce any changes and conjectures into this formula. Azerbaijan will not permit the loss of part of its territory, and will guarantee its territorial integrity by any means.'
Outside government, a fierce debate has begun in Azerbaijan about whether the Minsk Group should now be changed.
A well-known pro-government member of parliament, Anar Mamedkhanov, wrote an article entitled, 'Shouldn't we tell the Minsk Group to…?' in which he recommended that his Azerbaijan give up on the current mediators.
Political analyst Ilgar Mamedov argued that it was time for Azerbaijan to challenge the format of the Minsk Group co-chairmanship.
'The procedure for changing the co-chairmen is straightforward,' Mamedov told IWPR. 'You put a blank piece of paper with the president's letterhead into the printer. You type a text on your computer rejecting the services of the mediators, you sign it and you send it to the presidents of the co-chairmanship countries. That's it.'
'Otherwise we will soon be doubting whom Karabakh actually belongs to – Azerbaijan or the co-chairmen.'
Orkhan Fikretoglu, a writer and commentator with the ANS television channel, told IWPR, 'It's not worth waiting for any serious actions from the co-chairs of the Minsk Group either now or in the near future. The mediators in the negotiations ought to be countries that have no interests in the region - for example, certain Muslim countries or neutral European ones like Switzerland, Norway or Sweden. These countries don't need our oil or our lands.'
By contrast, the Armenians basically supports the current US-Russian-French arrangement. In 2006, President Robert Kocharian told Armenian television, 'The mediators are doing the maximum possible within the framework of their mandate. From time to time, I ask myself what I would do in their place and I find it hard to answer.'
On March 20 this year, Kocharian – whose successor Sarkisian was voted in last month - told a press conference in Yerevan that he wanted to see the negotiations continue in their current form.
He then issued a warning that 'if Azerbaijan continues with its unconstructive steps, Armenia will recognise the independence of the Nagorny Karabakh Republic, and will sign a collective defence treaty with it'.
This threat has been hinted at before, but never acted on.
The 'Nagorny Karabakh Republic' unilaterally declared itself independent from Azerbaijan in1991. However, Yerevan has never formally recognised the breakaway territory as a sovereign state, nor has it moved to annex it.
In practical terms, Armenia and Nagorny Karabakh are now closely integrated with each other.
Last August, the opposition Heritage Party led by former Armenian foreign minister Raffi Hovannissian submitted a bill to parliament calling on Armenia to recognise the Nagorny Karabakh Republic. The bill did not come to a vote.
Hrair Karapetian, who heads the parliamentary faction of the nationalist Dashnaktsutiun party, told IWPR, 'We continue to call for the unification of Nagorny Karabakh and Armenia, which has de facto already taken place.'
He went on to add the proviso that 'legal recognition of this reality will be possible only if further negotiations on resolving the Karabakh problem prove impossible.'
Armenia's national budget consistently earmarks a credit line for Nagorny Karabakh.
In the view of Tigran Torosian, the speaker of Armenia's parliament, 'By approving the state budget every year, the parliament of Armenia recognises the independence of the Nagorny Karabakh Republic.'
US co-chairman Bryza warned that if Armenia moved towards formal recognition of Nagorny Karabakh, this would represent a 'highly asymmetric response' to Azerbaijan's actions.
'Any move that prejudges the outcome of the negotiations that are under way, and that are achieving some real results in terms of moving closer to finalising the basic principles, would be unhelpful,' Bryza told the Armenian Report newspaper in the United States. 'And we looked at the UN GA (General Assembly) resolution of Azerbaijan in that very light - that it was a one-sided resolution that did not reflect the fair and balanced nature of the proposal on the table.'
He added, 'Similarly, if the Armenian side were to move unilaterally and prejudge the outcome of the negotiations by recognising Nagorno Karabakh, that would be something that is very seriously undermining the peace process.'
Arif Yunus, a veteran specialist on the Nagorny Karabakh conflict, based in Baku, said the current negotiations were certainly not working, but for a different reason - they were failing to engage with the public on either side of the conflict.
'We absolutely do have to pose the question of changing the format of the Minsk Group,' said Yunus. 'The co-chairmen have just turned into people who turn up at the negotiations. However, the problems of Nagorny Karabakh depend not on the co-chairmen, but on the Azerbaijani and Armenian peoples.'
Zarema Velikhanova is a freelance journalist in Baku. Ara Tadevosian is director of Mediamax news agency in Yerevan.
Note : http://www.isn.ethz.ch/news/sw/details.cfm?id=18831
Azerbaijan changes tactic over the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, lashing out at the Minsk Group and hoping for more pull with the UN, as the peace process threatens to unwind, Haroutiun Khachatrian reports for ISN Security Watch.
By Haroutiun Khachatrian in Yerevan for ISN Security Watch (07/04/08)
Recent moves by Azerbaijan to criticize and question the OSCE Minsk Group, the international mediating force in the Nagorno Karabakh conflict, have experts and observers concerned that the peace process may have reached its end along with chances for peaceful resolution.
March 2008 was marked with two events related to the conflict of Nagorno Karabakh, which were unprecedented for at least a decade.
On 4 March, a military incident took place in one of the fragments of the contact line between the armed forces of Azerbaijan and the unrecognized Nagorno Karabakh Republic. It differed from other incidents in that for the first time in over a decade, heavy weapons were used and more than 15 people were killed from both sides (with each side accusing the other of initiating the incident).
The second event, on 14 March, came in the form of a contentious vote at the UN General Assembly that saw the Assembly call for the recognition of Azerbaijan's right to territorial integrity and for the immediate withdrawal of Armenian forces "from all the occupied territories of the Republic of Azerbaijan."
Thirty-nine countries supported the Azerbaijani draft resolution, while seven voted against, including the US, Russia and France, the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group.
The UN General Assembly vote has indeed set a precedent, as it was the first time that an international body outside of the OSCE's Minsk Group has been involved in the Nagorno Karabakh dispute.
Frozen in bloody time
In February 1988, with the rise of Gorbachev's glasnost and perestroika, Armenians began demonstrating for the return of Nagorno Karabakh, an ethnic Armenian enclave that the Soviet Union had handed over to Azerbaijan in 1923 as an autonomous oblast within Soviet Azerbaijan. At the time, Nagorno Karabakh was 95 percent ethnic Armenian.
The fallout was devastating, leading to pogroms of Armenians in the Azeri city of Sumgait and a war that would last until 1994.
With the collapse of the Soviet Union, national passions in both Armenia and Azerbaijan were allowed to surface with all their oppressed gusto, and the early 1990s proved particularly bloody.
In 1994, the Armenian forces from Armenia proper and ethnic Armenian forces from Nagorno Karabakh had managed to violently expel the Azeri Turk minority from Nagorno Karabakh and went as far as to annex parts of Azerbaijan that bordered the enclave for security reasons.
Today, the de facto independent republic - which was declared independent after a 1991 referendum but was never recognized, not even by Armenia - officially remains a part of Azerbaijan, and is connected to Armenia by the Lachin Corridor, a piece of land the Armenians forcibly annexed from Azerbaijan in 1992.
The adoption of the non-binding resolution by the UN General Assembly was followed by a rather unexpected turn in Azerbaijan's policy. Baku officially started an unprecedented campaign of criticism against the US, Russia and France for their failure to support Azerbaijan's position both at the UN and in the mediation process.
Azerbaijan accused the three superpowers of being "unbalanced" in the negotiation process. Polad Bul-Bul Ogly, the Azerbaijani ambassador to Russia, was quoted by the Russian daily Nezavisimaya Gazeta on 25 March as saying that Azerbaijan may seek other mediators to act along with or instead of the current ones.
The Minsk Group was formed in 1992 by the Council of Security and Cooperation in Europe (later reorganized as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, OSCE) with the aim of holding a conference in Minsk to discuss possible political solutions for the Nagorno Karabakh conflict. The group consists of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden, Turkey and the US.
In an interview with ISN Security Watch, Vladimir Kazamirov, the Russian envoy for the Karabakh issue in 1994-1996, pointed out that the Minsk Group had no formal mandate other than its members were obliged to attend the conference.
The CSCE December 1994 summit in Budapest established the institute of the Minsk Group co-chairmen "to ensure a common and agreed basis for negotiations," as 12 countries could not act as mediators.
Formally, the co-chairmen are appointed by the CSCE/OSCE chairman-in-office, but in reality, the chairmanship is given to specific countries ("co-chairs"), and the latter appoint this or that diplomat to represent the countries. Initially, there were two co-chairmen (representatives of Italy, and later Sweden, both with Russia as the second co-chair).
The current three co-chair countries have not been changed since 1997, but each country - Russia, France and the US - has changed at least five diplomats as their representatives. During this time, the three "superpowers" have managed to act as a single team, presenting the conflicting parties with the necessary support to reach a consensus.
Until now, these chairs have largely been viewed as objective and equally representing the quarreling parties.
Baku's new tactic
Armenia, for one, believes that the ultimate goal of Azerbaijan is to dissolve the Minsk Group.
Azerbaijan is correct in saying that the efforts of the co-chairs have been so far fruitless, but a new mediator will not likely bring any positive change.
"After all, the experience the current co-chairs gained in these years is valuable," Kazamirov said, mentioning that few have a good knowledge of the Nagorno Karabakh problem, and a new mediator would face serious difficulties.
Over the course of the past 11 years, the co-chairs presented many proposals - all of them rejected by at least one party to the conflict.
Armenia (which in recent years has represented both itself and Nagorno Karabakh at the negotiations) supports the concept that the people of Nagorno Karabakh have the right of self-determination, based on the December 1991 referendum. The Armenian parties claim that the occupied territories around Nagorno Karabakh will be freed and their former Azeri inhabitants will be allowed to return if the right of self-determination of Nagorno Karabakh is recognized.
Azerbaijan claims the region to be an inseparable part of its territory and is offering a high level of autonomy inside Azerbaijan.
The co-chairs were meant to act as neutral brokers. Under the latest version of the so-called Basic Principles, presented by the mediators in November 2007 in Madrid, this right to self-determination is expected to be realized through a form of plebiscite in Nagorno Karabakh.
However, in recent weeks, Azerbaijan accusations that the Minsk Group co-chairs are "not neutral" - meaning they do not recognize Nagorno Karabakh as a part of Azerbaijan, officially - may throw a wrench in what is already a complicated process.
"Some people in Azerbaijan do not want to negotiate about the compromise regarding the future status of Nagorno Karabakh. If they don't want to negotiate about this point, then there is no sense for negotiations to be continued at all. You can't judge the outcome of the negotiating process until you go to the negotiation," APA agency quoted US co-chair Matthew Bryza as saying on 27 March.
But perhaps, as pointed out by Robert D Kaplan in his book, Eastward to Tartary, Azerbaijan knows that its ship has sailed. "The Armenians […] were never going to give up Karabakh in negotiations. No one gives up what has been captured in battle when the area is occupied overwhelmingly by one's own ethnic group and the rest of the population has been violently expelled, with barely a murmur from the Great Powers or the global media," Kaplan writes.
Azerbaijan's hardening position
The Armenian side believes that there are two reasons for Azerbaijan's sudden hardening of its position. The first reason is the fairly wide international recognition of Kosovo's 17 February unilateral declaration of independence.
Indeed, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev on 4 March overwhelmingly approved a proposal to recall the country's Kosovo platoon. At the same time, Aliyev confirmed that Azerbaijan was still considering a military option for the settling of the Nagorno Karabakh issue.
The other reason, according to Armenian officials, is the recent political crisis caused by the 19 February presidential elections, which created an impression of instability in Armenia. (Serzh Sarkisian defeated Levon Ter-Petrosyan and protests turned bloody, leaving at least eight people dead after an unexpectedly violent crackdown by security forces.)
"Azerbaijan made an attempt to test our toughness. I do doubt that if they are convinced that Armenia and Karabakh have weakened, they will again make an attempt to achieve success," Armenian President Robert Kocharian told a 20 March press conference.
Kocharian warned that if Azerbaijan continued to undermine the peace process, Armenia may officially recognize the Nagorno Karabakh Republic to ensure its security. Bryza immediately reacted by calling on Armenia not to take such a step, according to the 22 March issue of the New York-based Armenian Reporter newspaper.
The Armenian side says that Azerbaijan's real aim with its most recent maneuverings is to halt status negotiations for Nagorno Karabakh.
The mutual trust deficit
Kazimirov says the conflict in Karabakh has several features which increase the risk of stability. First, there are no separating or peacekeeping forces, and the ceasefire fully depends on the conflicting parties.
Second, the establishment of the ceasefire was not followed by a withdrawal of troops to a safe distance, and the positions of the conflicting parties are sometimes several hundred meters from each other.
However, the most serious danger is probably the deficit of mutual trust and war rhetoric.
"In no other conflict in the world can one find such a mood for a forced revanche that is seen in the case of Karabakh, and it is declared openly by the top leaders. In no other place can you see this number of incidents along the contact line as in Karabakh. The growth of military budgets, especially in Azerbaijan, is also alarming, as they also can create dangerous illusions," Kazimirov said.
Haroutiun Khachatrian is an editor and an analyst for Noyan Tapan news agency and editor-in-chief of the Noyan Tapan Highlights weekly. He is based in Yerevan.
Note : http://en.apa.az/news.php?id=46627
Eduard Lintner: “The Council of Europe intends to solve political prisoner issue together with Azerbaijani Government”
[ 07 Apr 2008 15:22 ]
Baku. Ulviyya Aliyeva-APA. “The issue on Political Prisoners has been postponed till the spring session of PACE because of elimination of misunderstanding”, Eduard Lintner, former Chairman of PACE Monitoring Committee told journalists, APA reports.
He stated that political prisoner should be investigated in detail.
“Azerbaijani Government claims that these persons had been arrested for committing crime. Several bodies of the Council of Europe stated that they had been arrested for political opinions. The Council of Europe wants to give much attention to this issue till the spring session”, he said.
Lintner noted that Commission would be established on political prisoner during 2-day conference in Baku. He added that the Council of Europe intended to solve the problem with the Government of Azerbaijan.
“Co-rapporteurs’ meeting with Azerbaijani Government was successful in February and it served as a background for the solution to the issue”, he said. The PACE member stated that it was very good that NGOs had closely engaged in this issue.