Bryza Says ‘Territories’ will be Returned, New ‘Status’ for Karabakh

US Deputy Secretary of State Matthew Bryza is the Chief US diplomat in the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict

US Deputy Secretary of State Matthew Bryza is the Chief US diplomat in the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict

The US Co-chair of the OSCE Minks Group, Matthew Bryza, announced Monday that the liberated territories surrounding the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic will be turned over to Azerbaijan with plans to resettle those areas with so-called Azeri refugees and that Karabakh will be granted a new status, the nature of which is the subject of negotiations.

This is an alarming revelation because, if true, it indicates that certain concessions have been agreed to in peace talks mediated by the Minsk Group.

Bryza also commented in an interview with Ekho Moskvy that the creation of a new status for Karabakh is the concession that Baku is willing to make as diplomatic gesture.

“When President Aliyev was in Moscow, he said very constructively, that first of all there must be a corridor linking Karabakh with Armenia. This is a huge step forward that he said this. And he spoke of the right to self-government for the population of Karabakh,” said Bryza who explained that “Before that [Aliyev] and Azerbaijani officials always talked about a regime in Karabakh that is criminal, that is illegitimate. Now he talks about self-government. That means, that step by step he reflects the reality, and he is preparing his population for compromises-difficult-but that will be made, I hope.”

Bryza’s optimism, however, goes counter to another point he made when he announced that any peace agreement should correspond with the Helsinki accords, which among other points include provisions that indicated that right to self-determination and territorial integrity go hand in hand in resolution of disputes. This means, that the so-called new leaf that Aliyev has turned should not be applauded as a concession, but rather a state following international norms. Are we at a point where leaders who have continuously violated these norms now are being rewarded for not embracing but merely hinting at their willingness to adhere to them?

Clearly, yes. Or else how do we explain the Obama administration rewarding Azerbaijan with a 20-percent increase in aid, which includes a significant boost in military aid? What happens when Aliyev doesn’t keep his promise and uses the military aid provided by the US against Armenian civilians in Karabakh? It was merely a year ago that Daniel Fried warned Congressional leaders that Aliyev’s bellicose statements were threatening the fragile peace process.

The people of Karabakh, in no uncertain terms, exercised their right to self-determination and through a referendum declared independence, adopted a constitution, which clearly stipulates that the liberated territories are part of Karabakh, and, since then have established democratic norms, the likes of which are far from reality in Azerbaijan, Armenia and even the US.

For Karabakh to not be included in the peace talks-a process that elevates the right to self-determination principle-further speaks to the absurdity of Bryza’s comments, while at the same time demonstrating the dangerous precedent being set in this and future conflict resolution processes.

It is dangerous and a threat to the national security of both Armenia and Karabakh if, according to Bryza, the current focus of the talks is the “status” issue, because it signals that an agreement already has been reached to return the liberated territories.

Armenian foreign ministry spokesperson Tigran Balayan issued a statement Monday saying that Armenian and Azeri presidents did not discuss the return of territories during their meeting in Prague, but rather focused on the status issue, since “it is the focal point of the Karabakh conflict resolution.”

This glaring contradiction in statements by a Minsk Group co-chair and the Armenian foreign ministry raises another critical point in this process, and leads one to believe that Armenia is not being forthcoming and through evasive responses to one-off questions is attempting to veil the possibility that it has, in fact, agreed to the return of the liberated territories.

As this circuitous diplomatic banter continues, Karabakh and the entire Karabakh liberation movement is being jeopardized with consequences so far reaching that it will impact every Armenian around the world.


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  1. Tsoghig said:

    Nice editorial. What more can we expect if the US hires, and promotes to the co-chair of the Minsk group a man married to a Turk. It’s like the US hiring a Nazi in 1940 to coordinate reliefe efforst for Jews in Germany.

  2. leoAryatsi said:

    No real Armenian will ever agree with any plan to throw away liberated lands as some of the leaders in Armenia are doing. Let them talk all they want, it’s not happening.

  3. Vahagn said:

    Matthew Bryza is not and has not been a credible diplomat to be the co-chair of the Minsk group. He has been wasting everyone’s time.

  4. Sirvart Saboundjian said:

    In other words, armenian authorities are “selling” land liberated by blood of their own children!

  5. Mischa said:

    Azerbaijan made no concession. The so-called corridor that Aliyev has granted to Armenians is already a reality. The only concession that Aliyev has made to his own person is that he quit being a stupid brutal tyran (at least in words) by calling “crriminal illegitimate regime” of Karabakh by “self-governement. Big deal ! All changes of mentality do good to Azerbaijani people. But I still don’t see how Armenians would live in Karabakh next to Azeris? The wounds are still to fresh…. and Aliyev doesn’t help…

  6. Hye4Life said:

    Bryza, is a big time Pro Turkish and Pro Azeri, who knows how much oil money Aliyev has promised him after “karabakh” returns to Azeribajan. I can’t believe that after we won the military war, we lost the battle on the informational and propaganda war. It shows how disorganized and scattered we are.

    This should be our top priority, period!!! I call on ANCA to put greather focus on Karabakh issue and put more pressure on US state dept. and administration on this key issue. This is prob. more important than the genocide recognition.

  7. Hye4Life said:

    where is the outrage from the Armenians in Armenia and abroad? this sounds another vicious cycle for armenians, where we are always find ourselves in the compromising side and always end up with the short end of the stick. I can’t believe that we are just going let this one pass by again. We CAN’T afford to lose NKR or the surrounding laborated territories. Without Karbagh Armenia losses its importance in the region. All our focus should be to derail the current “sell out” negotiations

  8. vahe said:

    Peace and open borders with its neigbors will result in economic prosperity for Kharabagh and Armenia. By returning the surrounding terrirtories buffered by peacekeeping forces and achieving the right for self determination for Kharabakh proper, they would have achieved the primary goal of the liberation movement – The Right for Self Determination. Kharabagh cannot survive economically in isolation and closed borders with their only access to the world through a land corridor at Lachin. Both Armenia and Kharabagh will experience a huge increase in economic activity and prosperity if their borders are opened with their neighbors. The war in Georgia and the blocking of the only supply route for Armenia and Kharabagh exposed the vulnerabilities of a landlocked Armenia and the dangers of relying on Georgia as their only access to the Black Sea.

  9. Armanen said:

    Anything the comes out the mouth of bryza is suspect, so I wouldn’t worry too much. However, official Yerevan must begin its own diplomatic offensive and stop keeping Armenians in the dark about the issues being debated.

    As for Artsakh, if it goes you can say good-bye to Armenia as Syunik will be next and then Armenia becomes history. Njdeh understood this 80 years ago and current leaders do as well. Serge giving these lands away would be asking to have his head taken off.
    Vahe, if he is even Armenian, makes it seems like once Armenia and Artsakh have good relations with azerbaijan that everything will get better. Wrong! There is no assurence that azerbaijan will not attack Armenia (including Artsakh), and even with peacekeepers, they will not do anything. The turks and azeris want to get rid of Armenia, to this day they speak about pan-turkism, only thing in their way is Armenia. They are the same barbarians who killed millions of our people in the last century and will do the same in this one if we give away our rightful lands. The areas around Artsakh are what makes attacking the latter so damn difficult, if they are given away then Artsakh is much easier to take. Armenia should focus on developing closer ties with Iran, as they are the most reliable neighbor, and begin to settle Armenians in the so called liberated territories.

  10. Hye4Life said:

    well said Armanen. I think Vahe is in the 7th cloudes.

    No land to Azeries, that is all I have to say. Pressure, Pressue they are keep talking about pressure on armenia by US, Russia, EU, etc.. I DON’T CARE, when Azeris were bombing Stepanakert from Sushi or paying Ukrainian pilots large amount of money to fly over and bomb armenian villages and towns, where was Bryza, where was US or EU? It is like 1915 happening again where other powers are pushing us to “sign” an agreement. I say HELL NO, we have given so much, we can’t afford to give any more inches of land.

  11. jachik said:

    Open ended negotiations are a way to keep idle diplomats busy. Armenia is walking a tughtrope. To parley with Turkey and engage in ” talks about beguiling economic prosperity” ” cornucopia of feverish economic activity” by doing this or that , which fits Turkey’s agenda fitfully is nothing but midnight summer dreams. Turkey has no other option but to finish the job it started in 1915. It failed through military and bloody genocidal means; now it is trying the softer and more lethal diplomatic manner of finishing the job through a process of bloodless genocide, Empty promises, alluring and mesmerizingly grandiloquent statements about ” prosperity”, ” peace” , and “progress” . The same siren calls the Ithadists shouted from the rooftops after toppling Hamid. History repeats itself. It should not repeat itself with Armenians. The lessons of 1915 is beyond eternity. Bryzas is a a mouthpiece of the administration; which has a pro turkish policy. Negotiations with Bryzas will be inimical to Armenia’s interest, given the background of his commentaries on how to resolve ” the conflict”, from a Turko-Azeri perspective. They are preparing to spring a trap upon Armenia , coercing her through blandishments and strong arm tactics, persuade her to bow her head before unacceptable demands . Armenia can not make any concessions, it has nothing to concede.

  12. aramazd said:

    Will someone explain to me why are we “negociating” with ANYONE? Didn’t we fight? Didn’t we win? Didn’t we take up territory? Didn’t Jews fight? Didn’t Jews win? Did’t Jews take up territory? Didn’t the pilgrims fight the Indians? Didn’t the pilgrims win? Didn’t the pilgrims take up territory? So why is there any question about Armenians doing the same thing? Why are our leaders so spineless? Why don’t we throw these bums out of office? Are we spineless? May be we are.