AZERBAIJAN GETS POSITIVE SIGNALS ON KARABAKH CONFLICT FROM WASHINGTON: POLITICAL EXPERT

Today
http://www.today.az/news/politics/57 398.html
Nov 11 2009
Azerbaijan

Day.Az interview with Azerbaijani political expert Ilgar Mammadov.

Day.Az: What are your views regarding the U.S. Department of State
annual Religious Freedom report which called "NKR" 'separatist regime"
and included its data in a report on Azerbaijan?

Ilgar Mammadov: It is not the first time the U.S. State Department
in its papers indicates that former Nagorny-Karabakh Autonomous
Region belongs to Azerbaijan. Thus, consistently speaking about
the territorial integrity of our country, the United States, like
other states, means that former Nagorny-Karabakh Autonomous Region
belongs to Azerbaijan. If this happens during 18 years after the
"ethnically cleansed" "Karabakh people" expressed its will and amid
diabolism of Armenian activists around the world, even if Armenia is
unable recognize the independence of these "people", it means that
what happened 18 years ago was particularly outstanding lawlessness
and injustice.

Q: Does the trend in the U.S. position on territorial belonging of
Nagorno Karabakh to Azerbaijan indicate that the U.S. will make all
necessary efforts for a just settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani
Nagorno-Karabakh conflict?

A: I believe the U.S. view has stopped in a designated above point and
it has no special motion. At times, Azerbaijan receives some kind of
positive signals on the Karabakh conflict from Washington, while there
is not full support for the restoration of territorial integrity yet.

Q: Then how would you explain the fact that a member of the Armenian
National Congress, former Culture Minister Aram Manukyan believes
that the Armenia authorities have agreed to free the Azerbaijani
territories, without any preconditions, and this position is held by
a number of Armenian experts?

A: I do not want to get involved in a propaganda war between the
Armenian and Azerbaijani observers but, apparently, Armenia loses a
phase of peaceful economic and political competition after it made
a success on the front.

Oil revenues give our country great and indisputable advantage
over Armenia along with demographics in the medium term which must
saw resolution of the Karabakh conflict. In 2014, 20 years after
the armistice, Azerbaijan GDP per capita will be two or more times
higher than in Armenia, while the initial conditions of the countries
were identical. Moreover, Azerbaijan's population will increase by
1.5 million people, while fewer people than in the 1994 will live
in Armenia.

However, even more important factor of our advantages is the recent
active involvement of Turkey in the South Caucasus diplomacy and in
solution of the Karabakh conflict, in particular. The fact of Turkey's
involvement gives reason to be optimistic about the prospects for
peace for the first time since the conflict began in 1987.

Q: Meanwhile, the Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyyet reported that during
his Washington visit Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan intends to
ask U.S. President Barack Obama to solve the Karabakh conflict by late
2010. Are real steps likely to be taken to liberate Armenia-occupied
territories of Azerbaijan following prime minister's visit to the
United States?

A: Despite the factors that feed my optimism, it think if consent
of Ankara, Baku, Yerevan and Washington was enough for a peaceful
solution to this conflict, it would have been resolved long ago.

Unfortunately, influential circles in Russia believe that Moscow
will lose its major roles in the peaceful South Caucasus in case the
conflict is resolved. Even if during his visit Erdogan agrees with the
Americans and we are on the threshold of a real breakthrough, we should
all be careful not to drag the region to a new military confrontation.