Today Russia is the only country in the world that is taking real steps to reduce tensions in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone, where hostilities resumed yesterday, the former US Assistant Secretary for the South Caucasus, the former US Ambassador to Azerbaijan, Matthew Bryza, stated in an interview.
He noted that what we are seeing now “is the most serious combat actions on the contact line since the signing of the truce in 1994.”
Most likely, neither the President of Azerbaijan nor the Armenian President wanted to start such a sudden escalation of the conflict, considering the fact that they were both in Washington at that time, and trying to achieve a more active participation of the United States at the highest level in the work of the Minsk Group, introducing themselves as people who want a just and lasting settlement of the conflict,” the former diplomat believes.
“Moreover, the armed conflict began a day after President Ilham Aliyev and President Serzh Sargsyan met separately with the US Vice-President, Joe Biden. Many observers expected that this particular meeting would contribute to revitalization of the work of the Minsk Group. Instead, along with the conduction of these negotiations, on which such high hopes were placed, terrible clashes occurred, which are comparable to clashes during the war in the early 1990s,” Bryza complained.
According to him, “all these events coincided by chance.” “In any event, most importantly, it is necessary for the presidents of the Minsk Group co-chairing countries to jointly help to stop the beginning of violence and to promote the peace process,” the expert thinks.
Speaking about that, the former diplomat stressed that right now only one country in the world is engaged in reducing tension not only in words, but in deeds. “At the moment, only the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, and the Defense Minister, Sergey Shoigu, are taking concrete steps, calling for a de-escalation of the conflict. The White House did not even issue an official statement. This is a sure sign to the conflicting parties that all the trumps are in the hands of President Putin. The consequences of such an indifferent attitude on the part of the United States could be very serious not only for Azerbaijan and Armenia, but also for Ukraine and Syria,” he expressed concern.
Recall that on the night of April 2nd all the border positions of Azerbaijan were shelled from large-caliber weapons, mortars, rocket-propelled grenades and guns. In addition, a number of shots were fired at settlements near the frontline, densely populated by civilians.