By Rashid Shirinov
Resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is possible only within the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, taking into account the right of peoples to self-determination, Former U.S. ambassador to Azerbaijan Matthew Bryza told reporters in Baku on June 16.
Armenia keeps the Azerbaijani lands under the occupation, said Bryza, adding it is necessary that Armenian troops withdraw from those lands and the parties reach an agreement.
The former ambassador noted that there is no trust between the conflict sides, they do not believe in the sincerity of each other and this hampers settlement of the conflict. Complex compromises are needed for the conflict to be resolved, Bryza said.
"The only way is if the U.S. and Russia, with participation of the EU, are able to provide political support to the leadership of Azerbaijan and Armenia in the conflict resolution," Bryza said, adding that Nagorno-Karabakh is one of the few issues, on which the U.S. and Russia have a common position and are ready to act together.
The framework agreement [Madrid Principles] has existed for 10 years already, said Bryza, adding it is necessary to complete this process.
Bryza noted that when he served as an OSCE MG co-chair, the co-chairs made progress, because the presidents of the U.S. and Russia – George W. Bush and Dmitry Medvedev – paid more attention to the conflict and directly participated in its settlement.
"At that time, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov creatively approached this issue, and he also encouraged the co-chairs to take a creative approach," noted Bryza.
Bryza added that neither Azerbaijan, nor Armenia is interested in the resumption of hostilities on the line of contact. At the same time, he noted that the deployment of heavy weapons to the line of contact, such as the OSA missile systems, can contribute to resumption of hostilities.
Bryza said he doesn’t expect progress in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict’s resolution until the presidents of Russia and the U.S. make their personal contribution to its settlement. "They should put this conflict to the agenda of the Russia-U.S. relations, but now the relations are not at a proper level," he said.
The Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict hinders the economic development of the South Caucasus and security in the region, he stressed.
Azerbaijan and Armenia fought a lengthy war that ended with signing of a fragile ceasefire in 1994. Since the war, Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan's territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding regions. More than 20,000 Azerbaijanis were killed and over 1 million were displaced as a result of the large-scale hostilities.
While the OSCE Minsk Group acted as the only mediator in resolution of the conflict, the occupation of the territory of the sovereign state with its internationally recognized boundaries has been left out of due attention of the international community for years.
Armenia ignores four UN Security Council resolutions on immediate withdrawal from the occupied territory of Azerbaijan, thus keeping tension high in the region.
Rashid Shirinov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @RashidShirinov
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