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For whom Warlick tolls: about consequences of U.S. mediator’s groundless optimism

U.S. Co-Chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, Ambassador James Warlick. Photo: lenta.newsper.net

U.S. Co-Chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, Ambassador James Warlick has posted a note on Twitter saying, “It’s time to recommit to the ceasefire and a negotiation leading to a peace agreement.”  This tweet of the U.S. diplomat on Nagorno-Karabakh little differs from the dozens or, maybe, even hundreds of similar notes he posted on Twitter previously. 

The frequency of Warlick’s at first sight optimistic and decisive statements on “sooner settlement,” “readiness of the parties,” “a step away from the normalization,” “sooner meeting of Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents” resemble the theater of the absurd. The more active and wordier is Warlick, the deeper is the gap between the conflicting parties and the tenser is the situation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border and on the Line of Contact of the Karabakh and Azerbaijani armed forces.

Warlick’s activity in social media, his “predictions” of sooner resolution of the conflict were followed by an unprecedented number of sabotage attacks and provocations by Azerbaijan last summer claiming lives of civilians and soldiers, as well as by systematic shelling at the near border villages in Tavush province, Armenia. While Warlick was speaking of the “confidence-building measures,” Azerbaijan’s anti-aircraft forces brought down an unarmed Armenian helicopter making a training flight. In such situation, one cannot but ask, “What is the U.S. co-chair talking about? What is he really engaged in?” It is not a rhetorical question... There are neither objective nor subjective reasons, motives, factors for a “sooner resolution” of the conflict, which the diplomat predicts.

The peace process is brokered by OSCE Minsk Group, a tripartite mediating body comprising Russia, U.S., and France. The relations of Moscow and Washington - the two mediators, the key actors in the South Caucasus – have reached an unprecedented level of tension since the end of the cold war. The atmosphere of distrust and mutual accusations has gone beyond all reason. Malicious gossip – by respectful U.S. and British militaries and diplomats – has it that American short- and medium-range missiles could be deployed in Europe, which is an integral feature of the cold war.  In this light, it is not clear what common interests Russia and the United States can have in the Karabakh conflict zone. What aggravates the situation is that the U.S. mediator speaks of sooner settlement of the conflict, while others keep silent.

Perhaps, one could take Warlick’s tweets easy, but for an interesting detail… In May 2014, Warlick voiced the need to “return the territories around Nagorno-Karabakh to Azerbaijan.” That suggestion of Warlick was opposed vigorously.  More than a year has passed since then, and the diplomat hardly can “bargain away” those lands, as Baku fell into Washington’s disgrace. Nevertheless, one should exercise extreme caution to Warlick’s activity.  The point is that the United States have always used the Karabakh conflict like many other hot points in the post-Soviet area as a method to fight Russia’s influence there. The major goals of the U.S. strategists are to do harm to Moscow, fuel the conflict, and destabilize the situation near Russia’s borders.  Along with the Trans-boundary terrorist threats,  the Ukraine crisis and the processes in Transnistria, the threat of resumption of the military actions in the Karabakh conflict zone will become a new headache for Russia setting difficult tasks to Russian diplomats and distracting the organizational and other resources from the key problems.

Afterwards, the U.S. will try to blame Moscow for the destabilization in the region.  Some experts in Armenia already believe that the Karabakh conflict is “in favor of Moscow,” because “as long as there is the Karabakh conflict, there is Russia in the South Caucasus. If there is no conflict in the South Caucasus, there is no Russia there.”

Perhaps, there is no need to explain who in fact needs the shelling in Karabakh, the frequent sabotage attempts, amid endless “negotiations.” Yet, there will be more “optimistic tweets” from Warlick.

Ashot Safaryan for EADaily

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