Azerbaijan decisively protests Warlick's illegal meeting with separatist leader

By Mushvig Mehdiyev

American Co-Chair of the OSCE Minsk Group James Warlick's meeting with the representative of the separatist Nagorno-Karabakh regime sparked outrage among Azerbaijan's authorities and political circles.

Deputy Parliamentary Speaker Bahar Muradova said a meeting with the representative of the separatist regime in the U.S. and talks on the realization of several socio-economic projects were support to the attempts directed against Azerbaijan's territorial integrity and sovereignty, as well as violation of the international law.

Muradova noted that Azerbaijan comes out with decisive protest on the issue.

"The U.S. is the co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group on settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. A co-chair has obligations under the relevant mandate. Such a step by the country, which included several international issues in its political activity, can never be acceptable. Receiving the separatist regime's reps at the parliament, creating condition for their meeting with the OSCE MG Co-Chair James Warlick and congressmen puts the U.S.'s position under doubt as a co-chair country," Muradova said.

American Co-Chair of the OSCE Minsk Group James Warlick met with representative of the so-called "Nagorno-Karabakh Republic" in Washington on December 2, talking on the reduction of tensions on the contact line between Armenian and Azerbaijani armies, which sparkled after the helicopter incident.

According to Muradova, such a "selective" approach of the U.S. and its relevant institute towards the separatist regime shows the ambiguity in their position, signaling to other similar actions.

"I, as an Azerbaijani parliamentarian, express my decisive protest and consider that the representatives of the U.S. Congress, relevant bodies and foreign policy departments should clarify that issue," Muradova said.

She added that Azerbaijan's protest will be official.

"Don't this hint to double standards? Such stance on the issues related to the sovereignty, territorial integrity and international principles shows that the U.S. is "fondling" the Armenians. It is interesting how the official bodies in the U.S. will explain it," Muradova said.

Azerbaijani political expert Fikrat Sadigov believes that Warlick's illegal meeting with the representative of the separatist regime, in fact, impedes the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

"Warlick, as a co-chair, has already discredited himself to some extent. Azerbaijan observed his misuse of power for several times," Sadigov said.

He noted that the sides of the conflict are Armenia and Azerbaijan, as provided in the documents of the OSCE and it is a recognized legal fact. Calling the so-called regime a separate part in the talks means to ignore the decision adopted by the large European institute, according to Sadigov.

While briefing about his meeting, Warlick said it was important for him to hold talks on the Nagorno-Karabakh issue with "all parties of the conflict".

Sadigov added that Warlick's main task is to follow the principles and norms of the international law. He said implementation of the UN resolutions and exertion of pressure on the Armenian side to liberate the occupied Azerbaijani territories are also important to be carried out by the OSCE MG co-chairs. "Warlick's activity is provocative and anti-Azerbaijani, which subsequently causes Azerbaijan's outrage."

Warlick's repeated activities, confronting the interests of the institution he represents, ignores his own announcements on the commitment to peaceful regulation of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. He has to realize that the first preference of the OSCE in the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict is peace and as a co-chair he should spare no effort to achieve a solution to the long-lasting dispute.