DEBATE ON GARABAGH MARRED BY TENSION

AssA-Irada
November 2, 2009 Monday
Azerbaijan

A roundtable devoted to the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict over Upper
(Nagorno) Garabagh held in the editorial office of Izvestiya newspaper
in Moscow was marred by tensions. According to Heydar Jamal, the
chairman of Russias Islamic Committee who attended the discussions,
an incident occurred over a separatist regimes representative joining
the event. We demanded that he be represented at the event not as
a representative of Upper Garabagh [an Azerbaijani region currently
under Armenian occupation], but as a private individual.

But, since his speech was a political statement, he was immediately
taken out of the roundtable venue. Jamal emphasized that more Armenians
than Azerbaijanis attended the roundtable, entitled Upper Garabagh
conflict: providing conditions for making peace and Russias role. He
said Azerbaijan was represented by political analysts Rasim Musabayov
and Avaz Hasanov but added: Though I had been invited to the function
as the chairman of Russias Islamic Committee, I could be considered as
a person representing Azerbaijan because I supported the Azerbaijani
stance on the Garabagh issue as well. The Garabagh conflict reared
up in the late 1980s due to Armenias territorial claims. Armenia has
been occupying over 20% of Azerbaijans internationally-recognized
territory since the early 1990s in defiance of international law. The
ceasefire accord was signed in May 1994, but over a decade of efforts
by US, Russian and French mediators have been fruitless so far. Jamal
believes that the Garabagh problem would not exist today if Russia
didnt directly support Armenia. He went on to criticize the Armenian
speakers actions and statements during the roundtable. As a result
of unfairness displayed by Armenian experts, a negative environment
and an atmosphere of unprofessional analysis emerged. As before,
the main issues were not being discussed. There was little time to
make speeches, but since Armenians outnumbered others and failed to
observe the rules, their addresses took longer.

Jamal also stated during the debate that the countries around the
South Caucasus region Iran, Turkey, Russia and European states -
are not interested in a solution to the Garabagh conflict and are
using the current situation for their own ends.