Matthew Bryza: Russia creates an imbalance in the Caucasus

Baku continues the three-day 86th Rose Roth seminar of NATO Parliamentary Assembly "South Caucasus: Challenges and Opportunities."

In one section of the forum was the former U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan Matthew Bryza. He said that the U.S. and Azerbaijan strengthen dialogue on regional and energy security, as well as the global fight against international terrorism.

"Azerbaijan is on the eve of concluding agreements with the European Union, which implies equal relationship and access of this country to all projects in the humanitarian sphere. There is a specific timetable for laying gas pipelines to Europe, TAP and TANAP, which further strengthen your national independence," said Bryza.

For the Armenian deputies he cited the example of peaceful coexistence and mutual understanding of many nations and religious communities in Azerbaijan. He also cited the example of tolerance of the authorities, citing the protest of the human rights activist Leyla Yunus at a seminar in defense of political prisoners. At the same time, he alluded to the fact that not all is right in terms of democracy in the country.

“Leadership of the country has a lot to work on domestic policy in the implementation of commitments to international organizations,” he said.

Referring to the Karabakh issue, Bryza called "erroneous" the Armenian initiative to involve representatives of Nagorno-Karabakh in the negotiations.

As an example, he cited the communities of Abkhazia and South Ossetia "managed" by the Russian Foreign Ministry at the Geneva talks with Georgia, where “hard-line separatists had the sole purpose to disrupt any agreement.”

"With the Karabakh conflict we cannot linger, because it inhibits the important regional projects and threatens to turn into a 40-year-old analogue problem in Cyprus, the population of both parts of which is already resigned to the status quo and does not want to change anything," he said.

According to him, a destabilizing factor in the South Caucasus is Russia's position, which is aimed at regional imbalances. Together with Iran, it "presses" Azerbaijan, wanting to alienate it from the processes of integration into Europe and European values, Bryza said. -17D-

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