Konstantin Zatulin, First Deputy Chairman of the State Duma (lower house of Russian parliament) Committee for CIS Affairs, Eurasian Integration and Relations with Compatriots, Head of the Institute of CIS Countries, opposes a military solution for the Nagorno Karabakh conflict.
‘Justice requires accepting that Nagorno Karabakh will never return to be part of Azerbaijan’, Senior Russian lawmaker
STEPANAKERT, FEBRUARY 23, ARTSAKHPRESS-ARMENPRESS: Mr Zatulin said Armenia and Azerbaijan must reach agreement and compromise, which will be realistic and most importantly fair.
“I’ve said many times that justice requires to accept that Nagorno Karabakh will never return to be part of Azerbaijan. Recently I even talked about the fact that actually Azerbaijan was declared an independent state after the collapse of the Soviet Union and nobody paid proper attention to the fact that at that time, factually, the territory of Nagorno Karabakh was not under its control, meaning it wasn’t de facto ruled from Baku. It didn’t receive attention in Baku, which allows them now to announce that this territory belongs to them, however Nagorno Karabakh has not been part of independent Azerbaijan not even for a single day. And the justifications under which Azerbaijan is claiming the territories are vulnerable and unrealistic from the point of view of real politics”, Mr. Zatulin said.
At a February 19 meeting with EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus and the crisis in Georgia Toivo Klaar, Azeri defense minister Zakir Hasanov didn’t rule out the resumption of war at any moment. Asked whether the absence of necessary counter-responses from the international community to Azerbaijani statements doesn’t encourage sparking a new war, the Russian politician said:
“I believe that perhaps the international community is guilty for overlooking the endless statements of Azerbaijan, and in many statements depreciates what it’s saying, nevertheless I believe the 2016 events received an adequate assessment from the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs. It is another issue that there was no clear public condemnation, it is a fact, but I think the Co-Chairs thought that by doing so they would’ve appeared in a quite difficult situation in the future negotiations process. I think they were guided by this when they gave a more equal response and didn’t directly accuse Azerbaijan for restarting military operations. However the fact is that there was no such clear statement from the co-chairs, including from the Russian [co-chair]”, he stressed.
According to Mr. Zatulin, the statements were mostly limited with calls on the non use of force, which can factually be considered to be a condemnation of Azeri actions.
“Statements were about the conflict being unresolved for many years, and that the use of force is unacceptable. Indeed, they didn’t openly accuse Azerbaijan, including because discussions over the principles of the Karabakh conflict settlement are continuing till now. We know, that Azerbaijan is participating in the negotiations process, at the same time making statements everywhere claiming that Nagorno Karabakh is part of Azerbaijan. And probably, taking into account such difficult circumstances which were accumulated during the negotiations of so many years, one can conclude that it was this that refrained official circles from addressed assessment. Regarding the civil society, the opinions of independent people who aren’t tied with mediating duties, they were very clear in Russia. For us, it was understandable who launched these military operations. Recently we even found out with interest about president Aliyev’s historic views”, Konstantin Zatulin said, adding that he has numerously stated his opinion as an MP, who doesn’t depend on any mediating activity, and which enables him to call things by their names.