Wednesday, 07 December 2022

W Weekly Update

3-10 September

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Weekly update


10 September reached out to South Caucasus geopolitics expert Angela Elibegova for comments on relations between Azerbaijan and Britain, as well as developments around Artsakh.  In 1994, British Petroleum (BP) entered the Azerbaijani market and due to the signing of the “contract of the century” the BP-led consortium got big opportunities to take a leading position in the Azerbaijani oil and gas industry and has no plans to leave it in the next decade. BP's $100-billion worth investment in Azerbaijan's oil and gas sector also means they have ensured that Azerbaijani oil and gas pipelines are not damaged during wars, that no damages are inflicted on the oil and gas sector of Azerbaijan during the hostilities. European institutions, especially Great Britain, were watching closely to ensure that the war did not harm their economic interests.  Azerbaijan continues to prepare for war, educating its generations in an atmosphere of hatred towards Armenians. In this sense, it is very dangerous for us: if we constantly propagate peaceful coexistence, while the enemy continues to prepare for new aggression and attack, it can blunt our vigilance and create illusions that are far from reality. Therefore, I do not consider any attempts of dialogue and peaceful coexistence realistic without a serious denazification process in Azerbaijan.


9 September
At his meeting with representatives of the Armenian community in Vladivostok, Armenia's PM Nikol Pashinyan admitted threats posed by border delimitation and demarcation. According to "In international venues Azerbaijan states it has no territorial claims on Armenia. However, by using such a phrase as 'Eastern  Zangezur' it, of course, means there is 'Western Zangezur'. All this means implied claims." He pointed out various opinions of which maps should be the basis for border delimitation and demarcation. "Some say these should be maps of 1921 and 1923, others say these should be maps of 1975, 1969. “Azerbaijan is making claims that the map of a town 'proves' that  Zangezur was 'illegally handed over to Armenia' or some settlements  were 'illegally handed over to Armenia' in 1921 or in 1923. This is a counterproductive approach, which also reveals internal threats and Azerbaijan's ambitions. We must move forward and settle the issue of border demarcation and find a solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh problem," Pashinyan said.


8 September
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on Thursday confirmed that there was not much progress in his talks with President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan last week in Brussels, citing differences regarding the status of Nagorno-Karabakh and a settlement to the conflict. In line with Pashinyan told members of the Armenian community in Vladivostok, Russia that the sides failed to agree on some of the “most important issues to Armenia” during the Brussels meeting. “This is particularly about the Nagorno Karabakh conflict,” said Pashinyan, explaining that Azerbaijan believes that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has been settled and there was nothing left to be discussed. The Armenian government will not give any corridor through Armenia’s territory to anyone, Pashinyan said at the community meeting in Vladivostok, in response to questions about whether opening regional transit roads could pose threats to Armenia, especially its Syunik Province. He warned that Azerbaijan wants the regional connections to be opened in a way that Armenia remains blockaded.


7 September
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and President Vladmir Putin of Russia on Wednesday met in Vladivostok where the Eastern Economic Forum is taking place. According to the Karabakh issue was high on the agenda. At the start of the meeting Putin said ensuring security around Nagorno-Karabakh is “one of the most sensitive issues,” adding that he has personally discussed the matter with Pashinyan on numerous occasion. The two leaders discussed matters related to Karabakh twice last week over the phone. Earlier in the day, during the economic summit, Pashinyan warned that the international attention focused on the Ukraine conflict could threaten the stability of the South Caucasus region. In what appeared a reference to Azerbaijan, Pashinyan said that certain actors in the region were taking advantage of the Ukraine crisis to advance their risky agendas in the region.


6 September
The Starmus Science Camp kicked off in Yerevan’s Freedom Square within the framework of Starmus VI International Festival. In line with the purpose of the Science Camp is to enable children and people interested in science to more closely get acquainted with the latest scientific and technological achievements. Founding Director of Starmus Garik Israelian told reporters that the Science Camp is very important as “through these type of camps we are trying to bring the society to scientific pavilions with the involvement of music and art, so that they could study and get acquainted with the latest innovations in science and technology”. Planetary scientist Bethany Ehlmann said that her work on drawing children’s attention to science is quite easy. NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Section Manager of Flight Electronics Arbi Karapetian said that enthusiasm is really very contagious, adding that he is excited about the fact that he is collecting data with his work so his colleagues could make discoveries. “Each of us works in our separate closed space, and we must be able to bring out the excitement of that work and share with others in order to encourage and interest them”, he said.


5 September
On August 31, 2022, the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan held their fourth meeting in Brussels with the mediation of the President of the European Council Charles Michel. According to following the four-hour meeting, Michel called the talks “open and productive”. Reactions in Yerevan and Baku, however, were not as optimistic. The official statement released by the Armenian government outlined a general overview of the issues discussed, noting that “the next meeting of the leaders of the countries will take place in November.” Baku kept silent on the official level, but state sponsored media outlets aimed to show that Ilham Aliyev was not fully satisfied with the results. Clearly, Baku’s main task is to accelerate the process of signing the so-called “peace agreement” based mainly on Azerbaijani interests and demands. On this specific issue, Charles Michel, in a press statement issued after the latest talks, noted, “…we agree to step up substantive work to advance the peace treaty governing interstate relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan and tasked the foreign ministers to meet within one month to work on draft texts.”


4 September
Armenia accused Azerbaijan over the weekend of misrepresenting the latest negotiations between the leaders of the two states and trying to torpedo Nagorno-Karabakh peace efforts. It appeared to respond to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s claims that Yerevan is ready to negotiate and sign a peace treaty with Baku on his terms. In line with  Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian met in Brussels last Wednesday for fresh talks hosted by European Council President Charles Michel. The latter said after the four-hour meeting that the two leaders agreed to intensify negotiations on the peace accord sought by Baku. The Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers will meet in September to “work on draft texts,” Michel added in a statement. Visiting Italy on Friday, Aliyev said the planned talks on the accord will be based on five elements which the Azerbaijani side presented to Yerevan in March this year. Those include a mutual recognition of each other’s territorial integrity, something which Baku believes would uphold its sovereignty over Karabakh.


3 September
When NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, in Finland on June 12, yet again proclaimed that Turkey is a key ally whose “security concerns” must considered, any rational onlooker would have believed that he finally pulled the rug from underneath many Armenians who still cling to the fanciful belief that the “West” is still on their side. According to these naive Armenians believe the West is sympathetic to their moral claims to justice, occupied lands, an independent status for Artsakh, et al. Realpolitik is never a part of the equation for many Armenians. Morality is very low on the list when the dominant nations of the world draft their foreign policy. The West’s strategic interests outweigh any moral demands such Armenians continue to clamor about in the streets of Yerevan or some cozy corner of the diaspora. Stoltenberg’s comments came on the heels of Turkey’s opposition to Sweden and Finland joining NATO. Ankara accuses the Nordic states of supporting and harboring “terrorists” (read Kurds).



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