Co-Chairs, who arrived in the zone of the Karabakh issue, but did not
visit Karabakh, refused talking to reporters in Armenia and
Azerbaijan. However, judging by their meeting with the Minister of
Defense of Armenia Seyran Ohanyan, they did not talk about the basic
principles but about the prevention of possible hostilities.

Seyran Ohanyan complained that Azerbaijan is not withdrawing its
snipers from the first line, but uses them for provocations. One day
before this meeting, Tert.am, citing a source from the Defense
Ministry, informed that Azerbaijan bought a big batch of sniper
weapons and that in response, Armenia is getting ready for an
operation to neutralize the snipers.

On February 8, a report by the International Crisis Group was
released, in which, instead of the basic principles of the settlement,
the termination of escalation in the conflict zone was stressed.

ICG called on Russia, as a leading mediator, to stop arming the sides,
and `other superpowers should follow the limitations on arm supplies
recommended by OSCE and UN. OSCE should achieve enlargement of its
competences and number of its observers on the frontline'.

EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus Peter Semneby called
on February 10 in Wien to strengthen the ceasefire regime as well as
that the EU and other international organizations could actively
interact with Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan.

Former adviser of the first president of Armenia on security issues
Ashot Manucharyan thinks that no war will start if the sponsors of the
Minsk Group do not want. According to Armenian experts, the guilt for
the preservation and escalation of the current situation is on the
Minsk group co-chairing countries.

Dwelling on the possibilities of resumption of hostilities, these
countries do not undertake logical steps for prevention. Such steps
may be, above all, tough sanctions against Azerbaijan, which violates
not only the treaty on arms limitation, but also the fundamental
principle of international law - the use of force or threat of force.
If the international community imposes sanctions against Azerbaijan,
Baku militancy could be affected negatively.

But the main lever, which in the past 2 years was used more than once,
can be the recognition by the international community of the NKR
independence. The refusal to recognize gives hope to Azerbaijan and
provokes it to militant action. Why the mediator countries do not
recognize Nagorno-Karabakh, if they believe that `the status of
Karabakh should be determined during negotiations' and, therefore,
they recognize its divisiveness from the territorial integrity of

It is noteworthy that in the ICG report, as a tool of instruction for
prevention of escalation of the conflict, is an appeal to Armenia to
`soften its position in negotiations, particularly in terms of the
issue of determining the final status of Nagorno-Karabakh'. This means
that the international mediators have not only failed to take
sanctions against Azerbaijan, but also not willing even to persuade
Azerbaijan to go to the only `concession' in respect of Karabakh -
agreement to a referendum. Moreover, they urged Armenia to yield in
this too.

The aforementioned position of the OSCE and other world superpowers
promotes military moods of Azerbaijan and leads to the growth of
number of victims from snipers shots. And the whole responsibility for
the death of these people is on the mediator countries.


From: A. Papazian