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US diplomats: Polarized politics in Armenia, Aliyev, will impede NK

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  • US diplomats: Polarized politics in Armenia, Aliyev, will impede NK

    US diplomats: Polarized politics in Armenia, and the likely retention
    in Azerbaijan of an autocrat whose legitimacy is declining, will
    impede compromises to reach a peace settlement of the Karabakh

    by Ashot Safaryan
    Saturday, August 31, 17:36

    Russia is pressuring its neighbors to join the Eurasian Economic
    Community. the article by the American diplomats "Choices for the
    South Caucasus", published in New York Times, says.

    "Moscow worries, with reason, that the South Caucasus countries prefer
    to align with the European Union. Even though Armenia is an observer
    in the Eurasian group, it does not seem eager to join", - the article

    It also tells about domestic political problems in Armenia, Azerbaijan
    and Georgia. In particular: "Political strains and stasis impede
    reforms in a country weakened by blocked borders, emigration and
    oligarch ties with officialdom.

    In Azerbaijan, the potential for political upheaval is increasing amid
    massive corruption, grossly unequal distribution of wealth and

    "All three countries are at decisive moments with the European Union.
    The Eastern Partnership can help anchor their future in an expanded
    European structure. This November in Vilnius, the European Union will
    likely sign a free trade agreement and other accords with Armenia and
    Georgia. Azerbaijan has a distance to travel but may sign a visa
    agreement. The E.U. is right to offer more cooperation and political
    support in return for more reforms.

    The West must speak out on behalf of those denied freedom, especially
    in Azerbaijan. With every flawed election that is allowed to pass,
    every uncontested arrest of an opposition figure and every usurpation
    of wealth, those who stand for freedom become more impatient with
    Western dithering. A worrisome sign in Azerbaijan is rising
    anti-American sentiment among youths and intellectuals.

    Second, the European Union must take greater advantage of an historic
    opportunity in the South Caucasus. The E.U.'s democratic standards and
    wealth are appealing beacons. Closer E.U. ties will bring more freedom
    of maneuver in dealing with powerful neighbors.

    Third, Western support for the independence of South Caucasian
    countries remains essential.

    It is time for the South Caucasians to make up their minds about their
    future. If they want closer cooperation with the West, they must
    pursue reforms for transparent governance and wider economic
    opportunity. As the countries grapple with their choices, the West
    must keep faith with those advocating reforms and freedom", - the
    article says.

    From: A. Papazian