An international conference on frozen conflicts has been held in Los Angeles, with one of the panels was dedicated to the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict.
Co-sponsored by some prestigious institutions such as the Atlantic Council, Los Angeles World Affairs Council, Chapman University and University of the Southern California, the event was hosted at the Loyola Marymount University. Experts and scholars of the said institutions as well as of the UC Berkeley and Stanford University, Member of the German Bundestag Doris Barnett, former American and Australian high-ranking diplomats, Los Angeles-based consuls general and honorary consuls of various countries and others attended the event.
Azerbaijani view on the conflict was presented by Asim Mollazade, Member of the Parliament of Azerbaijan. Speaking of the illegal military occupation of 20% of Azerbaijan’s internationally recognized territory by Armenia, Mr Mollazade blamed the international organizations for the current “frozen”ness of this conflict. “The fact that such organizations as the UN or OSCE are not putting any pressure on Armenia or impose any sanctions over it strongly encourages Armenia to continue its policy of occupation of Azerbaijan’s territory,” Mr Mollazade said. He noted that this status quo does not only hurt the Azerbaijani refugees and IDPs, but also the Armenian population “which has become the victim of Armenia’s policy of invasion”. Highlighting the 1992 Khojaly Massacre committed by the Armenian armed forces against Azerbaijani civilians, Mr Mollazade drew the attention to the facts of total ethnic cleansing of Azerbaijan’s lands by Armenia. “In order for us to achieve a real peace in this conflict, we need a truly independent Armenia that is capable of making its own decisions,” the parliamentarian said. “Without such an Armenia, it is hard to be upbeat about the prospects of resolving this conflict soon”.
Speaking of long-standing traditions of multiculturalism in Azerbaijan, Mr Mollazade noted that all confessions, including Muslims, Jews and Christians, have been living together in peace, dignity and mutual respect in Azerbaijan for ages. Touching on Azerbaijan’s foreign policy the parliamentarian mentioned that “today Azerbaijan accounts for 80% of the region’s economy and is successfully implementing a number of vital regional projects”. “Azerbaijan is making serious contributions to the energy security of many of its partners, including the US, Europe and Israel,” added Mr Mollazade.
In his presentation, Mr James Coyle of the Chapman University severely criticized the hitherto activity of the OSCE Minsk Group noting that the proposals of this Group so far have produced no tangible results. As an alternative idea of re-energizing the process of the conflict settlement, Mr Coyle suggested to expand the co-chairmanship of the Minsk Group to include also Turkey and Germany.
The presentations were followed by a lively Q&A session.
The Consul General of Azerbaijan in Los Angeles Nasimi Aghayev, who also attended the event, thanked the conference organizers for increasing awareness and better understanding of this painful conflict.
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