The time has come for key international actors, particularly the US and the EU, to press for a settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict by beginning the process of returning occupied lands to Azerbaijan, Janusz Bugajski, a senior fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) in Washington DC said in his article published in Washington Times.
“Twenty-five years of international mediation to resolve the conflict and return the territories to Baku’s jurisdiction have proved unsuccessful. Four resolutions (822, 853, 874 and 884) adopted by the UN Security Council in 1993 regarding the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which confirm that Azerbaijan territories are occupied by Armenian armed forces, remain unimplemented,” said the author in his article titled “Why Azerbaijan matters for the West”.
The time has come for key international actors, particularly the US and the EU, to press for a settlement by beginning the process of returning occupied lands to Azerbaijan, enabling displaced people to return to their homes, and demilitarizing a region where dozens of soldiers and civilians from both sides perish in skirmishes each year, the article reads.
Bugajski believes that in the current regional climate, with an unresolved long-term conflict within its territory, an ongoing crisis between neighboring countries, with the danger of regional terrorism and Islamic radicalization, Baku’s primary goal must be to maintain national independence and regional stability
Further the author pointed out that Azerbaijan has become a bridge between several regions as well as an energy and transportation hub, important for Europe, Russia, Central Asia, the Middle East and the United States.
“Azerbaijan is at the heart of Europe’s gateway to Central Asia and a critical transportation and over-flight zone for NATO supplies in its military operations in Afghanistan. With the newly developed transportation corridors, Azerbaijan will have a central position in the Silk Roads between China and Europe,” said the article.
The author pointed out that Azerbaijan has been a source of attraction for American business. U.S. companies, including, Exxon, Unicol, Amoco, Chevron, McDermott, Halliburton and Boeing earned billions of dollars in the country benefiting from favorable economic conditions during the years of independence.
AmCham (American Chamber of Commerce in Azerbaijan) has organized visits by these companies for several years and supported cooperation with local business, he added.
“Next year, Azerbaijan will start the first deliveries of natural gas to Europe, launching the Southern Gas Corridor from the Caspian Sea to Italy via Georgia, Turkey, and the Balkans, thus making an essential contribution to Europe’s diversification of gas supplies. The $40-billion investment in three major pipelines that form the Southern Gas Corridor was made possible because of the strategic vision of Azerbaijan’s government and the commitment of its business partners, first of all BP,” the article reads.