U.S. promises more involvement in Karabakh conflict settlement

By: Mushvig Mehdiyev

Recent tensions along the line of contact between Armenia and Azerbaijan armed forces has led the U.S. to express some very serious concerns as to the possibility of renewed violence in the immediate region.

The newly appointed U.S. Ambassador to Baku, Robert Cekuta, called on the belligerents to restraint from furthering exacerbation of the situation.

“The U.S. seriously approaches the conflict in the Nagorno-Karabakh region in view of achieving a peaceful resolution to the problem,” Ambassador Cekuta said in a meeting with Azerbaijani Deputy Prime Minister, Head of the State Committee on Refugees and IDPs, Ali Hasanov in Baku on March 5.

Working with both the Azerbaijani and Armenian authorities, the U.S. is making efforts to achieve a breakthrough in the stalled Nagorno-Karabakh conflict’s settlement attempts.

Focusing on the U.S.-Azerbaijan relations, the ambassador said that his mission is to contribute to the progress in mutual ties between the two friendly countries.

As for the U.S. activity in view of the refugees and IDPs in Azerbaijan, Cekuta said Washington allocated about $115 million to the people who suffered from the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict over the last 20 years.

The U.S. security assistance to Azerbaijan amounted to $53 million which were particularly allocated for anti-terrorism measures

Hasanov, in turn, blamed the incumbent authorities in Armenia, saying they were incapable of conducting an independent state policy.

He expressed Azerbaijan’s dissatisfaction with the OSCE Minsk Group’s fruitless mediation efforts in the settlement of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict so far.

The Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven adjacent districts, which historically have belonged to Azerbaijan and have been recognized as belonging to Azerbaijan by the international community, have remained under Armenian occupation for over two decades.

Although Baku has tried time and time again to broker a peaceful resolution to the conflict in view of preserving regional stability and promoting tolerance, Armenia has ignored all calls for restraint.

“Armenia has been established in historical Azerbaijani lands, but Armenians have never been content with this fact,” Hasanov said.

Underlining the traditional peacefulness of the Azerbaijani authorities, Hasanov highlighted the modern dynamic progress in the country.

Referring to social progress achieved in Azerbaijan, the minister highlighted drastic decline in poverty rates over the past five years, dropping from a high of 49 percent to an all time low of five percent.

Humanitarian organizations in Azerbaijan have realized numerous projects worth $1 million over the last 20 years, said Hasanov, quickly adding that the U.S. non-government organizations carried out certain part of the projects.

Project Manager at the World Hope International Azerbaijan, an affiliate of the U.S.-based international humanitarian organization in Azerbaijan, Shahin Mehemmedov told AzerNews that the organization was actively engaged in humanitarian mission in the country’s territory.

“WHIA built a number of schools for refugees and IDPs in Azerbaijan, as well as carried out capital repairs in numerous education facilities throughout the country so far,” he added.

Mehemmedov noted that the organization is currently realizing computer and language projects for the children of refugee and IDP families, as well as the socially vulnerable people in Azerbaijan

“Furthermore, WHIA has joined Azerbaijani government’s activities combating human trafficking since 2009. Our organization holds active cooperation with the government, international structures, local NGOs and civil societies in Azerbaijan,” he said.

SOURCE: Azer News