By Tatoul Hakobian
(AZG)–The former Russian co-chair of OSCE Minsk Group Vladimir Kazimirov–dissatisfied with the Parliamentary of Council of Europe’s (PACE) latest report on the Mountainous Karabagh conflict–wrote a letter to PACE rapporteur David Atkinson–who authored the report.
Kazimirov–who chaired Russia’s mediating mission in Karabagh–particularly blasted the pro-Azerbaijan nature of the report. "The most important international documen’s on Mountainous Karabagh always maintained balance in order to make it easy for the sides to compromise. None of them has ever been as single-mindedly pro-Azeri as yours," Kazimirov wrote.
Having visited the Karabagh conflict zone 47 times–Kazimirov–considered an expert on the conflict–says both Atkinson’s report–as well as his predecessor’s Terry Davis’s–neglect the history of the confrontation–the 1992-1994 war–and the conflict regulation process.
"Many issues of the conflict resulted from actions on both sides; yet your approach pins the entire blame on the Armenian side. I am not trying to justify the Armenia’s; I only say that we need to be impartial in assessing the actions of both sides. Moreover–it was Azerbaijan that wanted to settle the Karabagh issue by means of force–that rejected all steps to ease the tension," he writes.
Kazimirov stresses that Mountainous Karabagh–both in the UN formulas and OSCE documen’s–was either directly or indirectly recognized as a side to the conflict: "Only your formula overlooks this issue and recognizes only Armenia and Azerbaijan as sides–thus playing into Baku’s hands." He recalls that the OSCE Budapest summit also mentions "three sides" to the conflict.
He criticizes the report’s emphasis on the importance of Karabagh’s Azeri community. "Azerbaijan is a side to conflict–not the Azeri population in Mountainous Karabagh. There is no difference of viewpoints between Azerbaijan’s and Karabagh’s Azeri population," he stresses. "Could it be that it is appropriate to use the terms–’London’s British community,’ ‘Baku’s Azeri community,’ or ‘Moscow’s Russian community’?"
Both the Davis and Atkinson reports–Kazimirov writes–refer to the four UN resolutions on the Karabagh conflict–accenting only deman’s for the withdrawal of Armenian Armed forces. Kazimirov stresses–however–that even having lost control over their territories–Azerbaijan’s leadership persisted in their attempts to solve the conflict by force. Already having all the four resolutions of the UN Security Council–Baku directly ignored the chances of putting an end to hostilities three times.
"Azerbaijan agreed on ceasefire under the threat of all-out defeat and loss of power–not to implement the UN Security Council’s resolutions. The Armenia’s also had many problems–but they turned to be more flexible and constructive," Kazimirov reminds.
The Russian diplomat concedes that the Armenia’s did not withdraw forces from the occupied territories–as stipulated by the UN formula–"But–in fact–Azerbaijan has not implemented any of the deman’s put forth by the UN either–and continue to this day to do nothing. Moreover–they demand that Turkey maintains its blockade of Armenia–threatens–time after time–to resume the war–and encourages anti-Armenian hysteria in Azerbaijan–but there is no word about this [in Atkinson’s report]."
Toward the end of his letter–Kazimirov reminds Atkinson that Armenia has full control over five regions and partial over two–not eight as Atkinson contends. He also notes that Azerbaijan also occupies Armenian territories such as Artsvashen.
Kazimirov ends the letter with hope that a distinguished organization–such as PACE–will be able to demonstrate a balanced approach in the Karabagh conflict.