Expert: US policy on Karabakh passive, Russia holds advantage

Russia’s mediation in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement affects intensification of actions by the West in this issue, Mehmet Fatih Oztarsu, vice chairman of the Turkish analytical center Strategic Outlook, told Trend July 4.

However, Oztarsu, who is an expert on the South Caucasus, added that the US won’t be able to gain the leadership in this issue from Russia.

He said that after the April events on the contact line of Azerbaijani and Armenian troops, Russia made it clear to the world that this issue cannot be solved without Moscow, and after relations with Turkey got back on track, Russia’s role in resolving the conflict increased even more.

Oztarsu mentioned the events of April 2, when the frontier positions of Azerbaijan were subjected to heavy fire from the Armenian side, which used large-caliber weapons, mortars and grenade launchers. The armed clashes resulted in deaths and injuries among the Azerbaijani population. Azerbaijan responded with a counter-attack, which led to liberation of several strategic heights and settlements.

Oztarsu noted that one cannot ignore Russia’s growing political and military weight in the region.

“The US, especially under President Obama, has quite a passive policy in the Caucasus,” Oztarsu said. “All the West can do in this issue is to organize usual meetings. It is impossible to reduce the importance of Russia in this issue.”

The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts. The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.

Source: Trend