YEREVAN, August 12. /ARKA/. Karen Bekaryan, head of European Integration NGO, is convinced that the recent escalation of tension in the Karabakh conflict zone was triggered by the West’s wrong policy toward Azerbaijan.
Speaking Monday at a news conference, he said the United States and the European Union’s steps toward Baku have been prompted by their conflict with Russia for Ukraine and the increase of Azerbaijan’s significance as an alternative supplier of energy resources.
“Our western partners made a serious mistake as they put aside values and were guided only by their interests, and by doing this they fueled Azerbaijan’s cynicism,” he said.
In his words, the West’s reaction to arrests of human rights activists in Azerbaijan has never been as gentle as now, and the Azerbaijani authorities though they could do whatever they wanted.
At the same time, Bekaryan stressed that western countries are not interested in war resumption in Nagorno Karabakh, since it would jeopardize the idea of replacement of Russian energy resources by Azerbaijani and undermine the European Union’s position in relationship with Moscow.
The expert also added that some part of the responsibility for the recent escalation of confrontation will be borne by Russia, since it has sold weapons worth several billions dollars to Baku deluding the Azerbaijani authorities into a dangerous belief that they can solve the Karabakh problem by force.
In late July and early August, raids from the Azerbaijani side became frequent. As a result, 25 Azerbaijani and six Nagorno-Karabakh servicemen have been killed.
Karabakh conflict broke out in 1988 when Karabakh, mainly populated by Armenians, declared its independence from Azerbaijan.
On December 10, 1991, a few days after the collapse of the Soviet Union, a referendum took place in Nagorno-Karabakh, and the majority of the population (99.89%) voted for secession from Azerbaijan.
Afterwards, large-scale military operations began. As a result, Azerbaijan lost control over Nagorno-Karabakh and the seven regions adjacent to it.
Some 30,000 people were killed in this war and about one million people fled their homes. On May 12, 1994, the Bishkek cease-fire agreement put an end to the military operations.
Since 1992, talks brokered by OSCE Minsk Group are being held over peaceful settlement of the conflict. The group is co-chaired by USA, Russia and France. -0---