May 31 2011

News.Az interviews Ulvi Guliyev, a non-partisan member of Azerbaijan's
parliament, the Milli Majlis.

How would you comment on the joint statement on the Nagorno-Karabakh
conflict issued by the US, Russian and French presidents in Deauville?

In itself, this statement is vague, allowing the Armenian side
to resort to speculation about its essence. This could have been
avoided if in Deauville the US, Russian and French presidents had
clearly indicated that Armenia is obliged to begin withdrawal from
the occupied lands of Azerbaijan by the June meeting between the
Azerbaijani and Armenian presidents. It would have been logical.

In fact, all three of these states support Azerbaijan~Rs territorial
integrity at the official level. In addition, there are four UN
Security Council resolutions, which not only recognize the territorial
integrity of Azerbaijan, but also urge Armenia to withdraw troops
from the occupied territories of our country. Alas, instead of demands
for the aggressor country to implement these resolutions, we see that
demands are made on the Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders to demonstrate
the political will to finalize the basic principles to resolve the
Nagorno-Karabakh conflict during the upcoming Armenian-Azerbaijani
summit in June.

This position of the world powers only encourages the Armenian side
to make speculative statements to disrupt the negotiating process.

Will Yerevan achieve this?

Armenia long since became an object of international politics rather
than a subject. Therefore, in this matter, it all depends not on
the position of official Yerevan, but on how much pressure will be
brought to bear on the current Armenian leadership by the leading
states. In this regard, there are different views and approaches to
resolution of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh
on the part of the United States, Europe and Russia. For example,
the US and Russia see settlement of the conflict as a decisive stage
in the struggle for control over the entire South Caucasus region.

In the event that the conflict is settled, the balance of power in the
region can change in one direction or another. For example, Russia
may lose the element of pressure on Armenia and Azerbaijan and may
be completely eliminated from the South Caucasus region. The United
States, already strong in Georgia, may, on the contrary, strongly
increase its influence in our region. Yerevan tries to play on this
conflict of interests. The main point is that it only tries. Armenia
does not have any resources for full participation in these games.

Therefore, it will eventually have to take a decision, which it will
be ordered to implement. We saw a striking example of the obedience
of Yerevan in the signing of the Turkish-Armenian protocols.

And what is the position of Europe?

It is extremely interested in the energy resources of Azerbaijan,
through which it tries to ensure its energy security, as well as
reduce dependence on Russian gas supplies, which Moscow often uses
as a means of political pressure on Europe. In this connection it
is worth recalling that the signing of a memorandum on the Nabucco
project, in which Europe is so interested, will take place in Turkey
on 6 June. And Azerbaijan, who may supply its gas to Europe not via
Nabucco, but via more profitable routes, is very important for Europe.

So, it tries to get more closely involved in settlement of the
Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. And therefore, it is no surprise that the
"Updated European Neighbourhood Policy" states that the EU stands
ready to intensify its involvement in resolving protracted conflicts.

According to the report, the EU should be ready to step up its
involvement in formats where it is not represented, such as the
OSCE Minsk Group, to resolve the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over
Nagorno-Karabakh. Time will show whether this will work. And it is
working in favour of Azerbaijan.

What are your comments on a recent statement by Armenian Defence
Minister Seyran Ohanyan that it was not only Azerbaijan that benefited
from the 17-year Karabakh ceasefire to build up its armed forces?

To begin with, Ohanyan is part of the Armenian authorities, its
avenging club ready to attack the Armenian population who openly want
the current regime in this country to be replaced. This happened
on 1 March 2008 when the Armenian army confronted the people who
were protesting against massive fraud in the elections. Therefore,
any statement made by him should be viewed through the prism of the
attempts of the Armenian authorities to confront the social upheaval
caused by the appalling socio-economic situation in the country.

For example, Armenian MP Viktor Dallakyan recently stated that more
than half of Armenia's population lives below the poverty line. He
said 80% of the population of the Armenian capital barely makes
ends meet and meat has become a delicacy for the majority of the
population. For comparison, I note that the number of people living
in poverty in Azerbaijan has dropped five-fold and today the figure
is 9.1 per cent in Azerbaijan. Yes, we have something to work on,
but the difference between the two countries is already huge. Over the
last seven to eight years, gross domestic product in our country has
tripled, while Armenia's foreign debt will amount to 47% of GDP this
year. If it is "proof" of how Armenia took advantage of the 17-year
ceasefire in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, then, as they say, in
such cases medicine is powerless here.

The talk about the capabilities of the Armenian troops to resist the
Azerbaijani army, if Azerbaijan is obliged to enforce peace when it
sees another attempt to protract the negotiating process, would seem
to be intended for for domestic consumption.

Of course. The current Armenian government is extremely vulnerable. It
has neither foreign nor domestic legitimacy. It has already alienated
the Armenian diaspora. It caused the collapse of the Armenian economy,
forcing the population of this country to leave en masse for other
states, and the remaining population to make ends meet. The only thing
it needs to do is to speculate on external threats. But it does not
work as Azerbaijan does not claim any inch of Armenian territory.

We only demand respect for our territorial integrity, recognized
by all nations of the world. As for comparing the level of combat
readiness of the Azerbaijani and Armenian armies, in this matter
time has worked in our favour. Meanwhile, Armenian experts, who
say the opposite, need to accept a common truth: the army requires
expenditure. Azerbaijan is able to spend money while Armenia is not.

Armenia also lacks human resources to neutralize the advantage of the
Azerbaijani army in technical equipment. So, they can talk a lot in
Armenian, but this does not change objective reality.

Akper Hasanov News.Az