Armenian Diaspora prompted US to meddle in Karabakh conflict - expert | Eurasia Diary -

25 November, Wednesday

Armenian Diaspora prompted US to meddle in Karabakh conflict - expert

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After demonstrating weeks of silence towards the ongoing war in Karabakh, US administration as though woke up from the moans of retreating Armenian forces.  US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo scheduled a meeting with both foreign ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia in Washington. 

The obscure meeting has no prediction whether the envoys will meet with each other or whether U.S. officials will try to convene a trilateral session. But their same-day visits signal that the U.S. is deepening its efforts to tamp down the resurgent conflict, which has reportedly killed hundreds of combatants and civilians since late September.

Further to the news, experts have some reviews on the upcoming meeting in the capital of US. Speaking to Eurasia Diary Prof. Dr. İrfan Kaya ÜLGER said the involvement of the US in the conflict after the long-time silence indicates the push from the Armenian Diaspora. 

- Dear Professor, first of all thank you for sharing your reviews with us. As is known, a sudden meeting has been planned to take place in Washington on Friday, and it is unclear whether the meeting will have three countries at a table. What outcomes does this meeting promise for the future of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict?

On October 9, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had gathered the Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan at a meeting in Moscow. After 10 hours of negotiations, a ceasefire decision was made, and before the debate on whether it was a permanent ceasefire, the Armenian side blatantly broke it.

I expect France to start a similar initiative soon. Since France is also co-chairman, he has to make an effort too. I mean, these efforts are futile. Countries holding the co-chairs have done nothing but legitimate the actual occupation so far. When it was understood that it would not be possible to continue the occupation any longer, the second fiction was put into effect. That is to give Nagorno-Karabakh a special status or independence.

Therefore, nothing will come out of the US summit. Regardless of whether there is a ceasefire decision or not, I think that both the USA and Russia will endeavor to remove Armenians living in the Nagorno-Karabakh region from Azerbaijan within the framework of their right to self-determination.

It is considered legitimate to liberate Azerbaijani territories that were disguisedly occupied. But the real trap is what will be the status of autonomous Nagorno-Karabakh. I think that both the USA, Russia and France have prepared a scenario similar to Trans-Dniester or Abkhazia under the umbrella of self-determination regarding the status of autonomous Nagorno-Karabakh.

The issue that the Minsk Group countries agreed on is that Nagorno-Karabakh and the occupied territories belong to Azerbaijan. However, the problem does not end with saying this. They will focus on the autonomous status of Nagorno-Karabakh, and from here the road to greater autonomy or recognition of the so-called Arsak Republic will be paved.

- What is the main reaction from Turkey? 

Turkey so far, defended his opinion in a fair manner towards the problem of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict under the UN umbrella. The OSCE Minsk Group declared that the activities of the OSCE Minsk Group did not yield any results for the end of the attack on Azerbaijani territory and the end of the occupation. Turkey, of course wants to participate actively in activities carried out by the international community to protect independence, sovereignty and the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. So he wants to be represented Turkey as co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group. The Turkey's reaction on Washington meeting will be announced by the spokesman of the Turkish Foreign Ministry. I think Turkey will not legitimize or accept de facto occupation of Azerbaijan's territorial integrity as what was over in the past or any decisions that may aim to endanger the country’s future. 

- In the first week of the war, the US was silent. However, the positive developments on the Azerbaijani side, the rapprochement with Russia disturbed the US as well. What do you think of the main reason for this?

There is a strong Armenian lobby in the USA. I think this lobby before the election is putting pressure on the Republican Party and the Democratic Party. There is also this; As the co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, the USA does not want to leave the square empty in the Nagorno-Karabakh issue. It knows that if it does not follow closely, Russian influence will increase in the South Caucasus. Therefore, it wants to deal with the issue more actively. It is necessary to read the last attempt of the US like this.

- Does America's intervention in the conflict refer to Russia's diminishing popularity in the Caucasus?

There is still a strong Russian influence in the former Soviet Republics outside the Baltics. It is not possible to expect this to end overnight. Russia intervened in Georgia and Ukraine, who made a request to join NATO. The West could not do anything other than sanction decisions that were not very effective in the face of this intervention. Russia sees the Caucasus and Central Asia as its backyard. In order to maintain its power in these regions and to eliminate threats to these places, it is turning to further fronts, such as Syria and Libya. If we need to look at the issue in particular for Armenia, it does not seem realistic to expect Russia to fully gain its influence in this country and to be replaced by the USA. Russia has a base in Gyumri and around 6,000 soldiers throughout Armenia, they have senior advisors. Russia is now aiming to bring the status of Nagorno-Karabakh to the agenda and ensure the continuation of the conflict in the region. It does not seem rational to me to think that the influence of the USA on Armenia will strengthen in the short term. It is possible to say that the pressure of Diaspora Armenians has prompted the USA to be more active.

by Elnur Enveroglu 

Eurasia Diary

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