Armenia is violating international law by introducing outside populations into occupied lands - American expert | Eurasia Diary - ednews.net

29 October, Thursday


Armenia is violating international law by introducing outside populations into occupied lands - American expert

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Eurasia Diary introduce an interview with Paul Goble, American analyst with expertise on Soviet Union and Russia. Goble served as special adviser on Soviet nationality issues and Baltic affairs to Secretary of State of the United States. In his interview, he touched upon the current role of OSCE Minsk Group in the negotiations over the solution of Karabakh conflict, the US mission in the peace talks and the illegal settlement policy of Armenia. 

- Numbers of experts, both local and external, consider that OSCE Minsk Group failed and it needs to be replaced with another diplomatic structure, which could make both sides come to an agreement on a peaceful solution to the conflict. Do you assume the possibility for the establishment of the new diplomatic structure on the promotion of the negotiations for the solution of the long-term Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict?

- I have never been a fan of the Minsk Group but not because of its structure but because of the message it has sent that outside actors will decide for Baku and Yerevan. Replacing it with another similarly defined structure won’t help.  The only way forward in my view are frequent talks between the two governments directly involved, Azerbaijan and Armenia.  They have to solve this, not wait for someone else to do so.

- Unfortunately, the United States has been paying less attention to the solution of Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh since 2001. We have not seen the active involvement of the US in the establishment of the peace process between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Please tell us, what is a main reason for that?

- The September 11 terrorist attack on the US led to a fundamental redefinition of the US agenda. Anything that could prevent a future attack became important. Anything that didn’t receded. Further, in the first decade of this century, Washington assumed that Russia was moving in the right direction. That was wrong but only after Ukraine has the US seen the light. Unfortunately, we now have an administration more interested in pleasing Russia than anything else. That means no movement by the US independent of what the Russians want – and Moscow as before doesn’t want a settlement to the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict unless it leaves it in full control of Baku.

- We all have followed the history of the United States’ diplomatic initiative on the elimination of hostilities and the establishment of peace between Israel and Arab countries. We see again such initiatives by the Trump administration to restore peace in the Middle East nowadays. How do you think that Washington could take a main key from Russia to engage in the peaceful and fair solution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict?

- The US needs to recognize that Russia is not its friend or ally here or indeed anywhere else. That will take a new administration and a sea change in American attitudes. Perhaps after the next elections?  My fear is that we have ignored the South Caucasus so long that we won’t be inclined to focus on it anytime soon.

- Armenian  government is using the tragedy occurred in Beirut, capital of Lebanon, in particular following the illegal settlement of Armenians from Lebanon into the occupied territories of Azerbaijan. Some of experts consider that the illegal settlement policy by Armenia causes serious blow to peace negotiations between two countries to solve the Karabakh problem. What can you say about this? What measures should the international community fulfil in order to put pressure on Armenia to stop illegal settlement policy?

Armenia is violating international law by introducing outside populations into occupied lands. That is wrong, and the international community must make it clear.  I believe that those countries which do want a settlement – and they include all the members of the Minsk Group plus Iran – need to say that progress toward other goals will be impossible unless Yerevan reverses course on this.  

Interviewed by Yunis Abdullayev

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