Baku. 21 November. REPORT.AZ/ Yesterday marked the 26th anniversary of Azerbaijan's MI-8 helicopter shootdown, also known as the Garakand tragedy committed on November 20, 1991, when an Azerbaijani MI-8 military helicopter, carrying a peacekeeping mission team consisting of Azerbaijani Government officials, Russian and Kazakh Ministry of Internal Affairs officials, journalists and helicopter crew was shot down amidst heavy fighting near the Garakand village of Khojavand district in the Nagorno-Karabakh. All 22 people on board were killed in the crash
However, despite these many years, a number of issues in this regard still remain unanswered.
In fact, the reasons, the essence of the terror, states that covered it are known. However, person or people responsible for this crime are concealed in these states. As a result, the criminal case is open for 26 years. The tragedy in Garakand is considered as the international crime. If this goes on, then it will remain as another unresolved, unclear case in the history. It is interesting why the reason of this tragedy in Garakand not disclosed yet? Because this criminal case is closely connected with the liberation of Karabakh from occupation. After the liberation of Azerbaijani lands from the occupation, knot of Garakand tragedy will also be opened. Perhaps, then the criminals will not be alive, but this will be considered a triumph of historical justice.
At present, Nagorno-Karabakh and several adjacent areas are under occupation and international mediators continue negotiations on their release. In November, visits, meetings and negotiations on settlement of this conflict intensified. On November 16, Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan Elmar Mammadyarov held talks in Moscow with international mediators in the person of the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group Igor Popov (Russia), Andrew Chaufer (USA) and Stefan Visconti (France) on the settlement of the conflict. On November 14, the co-chairs met with Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandyan. Official Baku agreed to a meeting of ministers in Vienna, December 6-7.
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov arrived in Baku on November 19 to discuss Nagorno-Karabakh settlement. President Ilham Aliyev at a meeting with him once again expressed position of the Azerbaijani state on settlement of the conflict: "Of course, today we will also talk about issues related to the settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Azerbaijan is extremely interested in early settlement of this issue”.
Five days before this meeting, President Ilham Aliyev touched upon the issue of the settlement of the conflict at the meeting on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the New Azerbaijan Party: "There will be no change in our principled position in the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The Armenian-Azerbaijani, Nagorno-Karabakh conflict must be resolved within the territorial integrity of our country. There is no other way.We will never allow the establishment of a second Armenian state on our historical lands. The norms of international law must be fully applied, the resolutions of the UN Security Council must be fully implemented, the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan must be restored. This is a principled position. It is based on history and international law. Because Nagorno-Karabakh is our historical, primordial land, because the whole world, all countries recognize and respect territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. Nagorno-Karabakh is an integral part of Azerbaijan”.
Consequently, the official position of Azerbaijan is known. What do international mediators say? One of them is Russia. Sergei Lavrov, at a meeting with President Ilham Aliyev, noted that Russia as a co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group is interested in finding ways out of the conflict and its settlement.
Of course, the question arises out of regret and astonishment: is that all? In my opinion, to wait for something more is naive. Because international mediators usually talk about a ceasefire, a reduction in tension and come up with traditional protocol statements that do not help to properly resolve the conflict. They say no word on the liberation of lands from the occupation, known by four resolutions of the UN Security Council, ensuring the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, the restoration of violated articles of international law. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, officials of the states they represent have not yet told Azerbaijan anything intelligible on the settlement of the conflict, liberation of Nagorno-Karabakh.
The developments followed by the meeting of Presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia in Geneva on October 16 shows the nature of mediators and official Yerevan. On the meeting with Armenian diaspora in Geneva Serzh Sargsyan said the conflict can be solved once Nagorno Karabakh gets status outside the Azerbaijan.
“I want you all to be confident on one issue - there is no settlement for us which can somehow undermines Karabakh’s security. The only settlement acceptable for us is that Karabakh be out of Azerbaijan. Never can any Armenian leader accept and implement other solutions whatsoever, and for that purpose we will everything at the same time developing Armenia and strengthening our country economically.”
Did Sergey Lavrov or co-chairs in Moscow condemn this statement of Serzh Sargsyan. The answer is - no.
Turkish president Recen Tayyip Erdoğan met with Russian president Vladimir Putin in Sochi on November 13. Ahead of the meeting Turkish leader said he will discuss the Nagorno Karabakh conflict with his Russian counterpart. He kept his promise and brought the issue on the conflict to the attention of Putin.
On his return from Kuwait and Qatar to Ankara, Erdoğan informed reporters on this issue. “I told him that on the issue of liberation of five districts positive results have been achieved. Putin positively approached to the issue. But in my opinion he had no hope because of the positions of the parties. The UN recognized the occupation of Azerbaijani lands, but the Armenian armed forces did not leave these areas, and if these areas are liberated, the ancestral inhabitants of these regions can return to their native lands."
Interestingly, what makes Russian president hopeless? Which country created and manages the Nagorno Karabakh problem?
Which country appoints presidents in Armenia and keep army and military base there to control the Near East, Middle East, South Caucasus states and Turkey? Which country has a role in creating the state called Armenia and clearing the Azerbaijani Turks, the local residents of this country? Does this country fear to say to Armenia “stop occupation”?! Or cannot help international mediators in this direction?!
The answer of these questions is so clear that there is no serious need to write them.
That is why as a continuation of what Erdoğan said it can be suggested that Sergei Lavrov came to Baku allegedly to offer “Five districts may be liberated”, “You also make concession for Armenians”.
It can be assumed that what made Putin hopeless was that Azerbaijan will not make concession.
After the meeting of Azerbaijani foreign minister with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in the media briefing he complained about the activity of international mediators.
“All the old and new ideas on the resolution of the conflict are on the negotiating table. We need to develop from these ideas a single document acceptable to both parties. If the problem was easy, it would have been resolved long ago. The situation on the line of contact is unstable and remains tense. We have repeatedly mentioned that we should take a step that requires political will. All know what steps we should take. Simply, the speed of the movement is slow. Azerbaijan demands the implementation of UN Security Council’s resolutions. Efforts towards the settlement of the conflict should be tripled.”
By saying “tripling the efforts” E. Mammadyarov in diplomatic form sends messages to three co-chairs of Minsk group – USA, France and Russia and wants Moscow equally to put efforts for solution of the conflict.
From the statement of minister, it can be concluded that the activity of co-chairs is not satisfactory or there is a serious disagreement among them. Perhaps some of co-chairs hampers the solution of the conflict dues to its interests. Azerbaijani foreign minister preferred more appropriate to express his discontent on this situation just near his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov.
Year 2017 nearly comes to an end, the door of Azerbaijan in this matter will be knocked many times yet. Those who present themselves as mediators to solve the conflict and organisations that represent them should also report to the relevant structures of their countries. Among those documents there is also a financial report. It is not ruled out that the mediators are asked to submit expense report for the negotiations that did not liberate even inch of Azerbaijani territories from occupation. For this reason, in the end of each year international mediators show excessive initiative to organize the meeting of presidents and ministers. International mediators waste the financial means of their country’s budget. Because business trips and mediators have no importance in the conflict settlement. The way things are, they neither liberate the Nagorno Karabakh from occupation, nor untie the knots of Garakand tragedy.