USA treats ex-Soviet Union separatist regimes differently - Azeri politicians

Ekho, Baku
31 Aug 04

The USA is not planning to impose sanctions on Nagornyy Karabakh,
the US embassy to Azerbaijan has told Ekho. As our newspaper has
already reported, the US State Department has imposed restrictions
on giving visas to 10 more representatives of the separatist Dniester
regime in Moldova. The European Union also imposed similar sanctions
on the Dniester separatists.

Late last week Azerbaijan's Foreign Ministry told Ekho that it was
ready to prepare a list of Karabakh separatists and ask foreign
countries to impose sanctions against them.

The US embassy said that sanctions on the Dniester representatives
were aimed against a campaign launched [in the unrecognized Dniester
republic] to ban Moldovan schools and also isolate [Moldovan] orphans
in orphanages.

"The sanctions have been imposed in connection with the situation
developed in the Dniester region. It is not connected with Nagornyy
Karabakh [as published]," the embassy said.

The Azerbaijani public's reaction to the statement by the US
embassy has been mixed. Tamerlan Qarayev, head of the Karabakh
House organization and former Azerbaijani ambassador to China, said
that official Baku may assess the statement as an unfriendly act
and support for separatism. Qarayev said that the arguments given
in the statement by the US embassy give no grounds for rejecting
Azerbaijan's calls. "If the American authorities have imposed sanctions
on Dniester separatists in response to the closure of Moldovan schools,
[they have to consider that] an ethnic cleansing has been carried
out in Karabakh," he said. But Qarayev found it difficult to answer
the question whether Washington's avoiding Azerbaijan's appeal can
chill the relationship between the two countries.

Alimammad Nuriyev, chairman of the parliamentary national security
and defence committee, expressed regret that the US embassy had
made a statement like this. As far as Nuriyev knows, Azerbaijan's
Foreign Ministry had planned to appeal to the US State Department [on
imposition of sanctions on Nagornyy Karabakh]. Nuriyev said that the
USA and the West approach the separatists of Karabakh, the Dniester
region and those of South Ossetia in different ways. "These kinds
of statements by the [US] embassy can undermine intergovernmental
relations. Furthermore, [US] refusal to impose sanctions can
prompt the separatists in Karabakh to step up their activities,"
he noted. Nuriyev said that these kinds of statements were further
complicating the Karabakh conflict.

However, the MP insists that the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry
should prepare a list of Karabakh separatists and sent it to the
US authorities so that the latter impose sanctions on them. Nuriyev
suggests that Azerbaijan voice its position on the issue after hearing
back from official Washington.

Ramiz Ahmadov, an MP and leader of the Communist Party of Azerbaijan,
told Ekho that "it was because of the US position that the Karabakh
conflict had not been resolved so far". Ahmadov said that Washington
was not interested in the settlement of the conflict. He believes that
the great powers are making use of the Karabakh conflict for their
own interests. Ahmadov said that the USA underhandedly supported the
Armenian interests. Furthermore, he said, the fact that the US embassy
refuses to consider Azerbaijan's appeal obviously shows that Washington
is not interested in stability in the South Caucasus. Ahmadov believes
that if the USA refuses Azerbaijan's suggestion, it will negatively
affect relations between the two countries.