Category Archives: EURASIAREVIEW.COM

EURASIA REVIEW- A JOURNAL OF ANALYSIS AND NEWS

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Peter Tase
Peter Tase
Peter Tase is a contributor, freelance journalist and a research scholar of Paraguayan Studies and Latin American Affairs in the United States; he is the founder of Paraguay Economic Forum in Milwaukee, United States. Educated at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee and Marquette University, Tase is the author of “Simultaneous Dictionary in Five Languages: Guarani, English, Italian, Albanian and Spanish” and “El Dr. FEDERICO FRANCO y Su Mandato Presidencial en la Historia del Paraguay.” Tase has written many articles on Paraguay’s current Foreign Policy, Latin American Affairs and MERCOSUR regional trade issues for Eurasia Review and the Council on Hemispheric Affairs in Washington, D.C.. Peter has appeared on SNT Cerro Cora, Asuncion and appeared in “Tribuna Pública” in TV Publica Paraguay, as well as given interviews for Diario 5 Dias in Paraguay, ABC Color, Ultima Hora, IP Paraguay, Revista PLUS+, Radio Ñandutí, Radio Nacional del Paraguay, http://www.datamyne.com and Spero News. Tase completed a Congressional Internship in the Office of Congressman Richard Pombo (CA-11), U.S. House of Representatives, and studied U.S. Government and International Affairs at the Les Aspin Center for Government in Washington, D.C.. In 2012 he was an adviser of Foreign Affairs and International trade Issues to the Chairman of the Committee on Trade, Tourism and Industry in the National Congress of Paraguay. Peter Tase is fluent in Guarani, Italian, Spanish, Albanian and mainly writes in English and Spanish.
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Azerbaijan: City of Julfa, home of Alinjagala castle

By Peter Tase

April 21, 2015

Julfa region of the Autonomous Republic of Nakhchivan is home of the Alinjagala Castle atop of the mountain that carries the same name. The fortress is located on the right banks of Alinjachay.  According to the ancient sources this historic landmark has been identified with the names of: “Erinjag”, “Erinjik”, “Alanjik”, “Alinja”, “Alanjug”.  For Basrad Pashayev, a local scholar and journalist, the name of Alinjagala is related to the old Turkish word “alan” having in mind the meaning of “plain land” that is because of the location where the castle was built which happens to be flat.   “Alinjak” means “taking off your hand”, it is also related with the invincibility of the fortress.  There are various versions about the construction of Alinjagala.

Rui Gonzales Clavico, the ambassador of Henry III, king of Castilla, as a Spanish diplomat to the government of Teymurilar in 1403 – 06 describes Alinjagala with the following: “Alinjagala is situated on a high and precipitous mountain surrounded by walls and towers.  Within the walls, towards the mountain slopes down there are vineyards, gardens, cornfields, springs and pools.   Based to ancient historical sources the castle was built over two thousand years ago.  Other historians explain that the castle was built on the period of Sasani Government during the III and VII centuries.  According to middle age sources, Alinjagala was described as a strong fortification and Alinja was considered as a fortress, mountain and river. Various historians such as Asoghik (928-1019), Sharafaddin Ali Yazdi (XV Century), Evliya Chelebi (XVII Century) and others have widely written about Alinja. The extraordinary view of the Alinjagala (Alanjik) fortress attracts many foreign visitors.  It is the symbol of strength, military strategy and for centuries has been a critical geostrategic castle.  The walls of Alinjagala castle begin from the slopes of the Alinja Mountain and rise until fully embracing the top of the mount…………………………………..

Read the article:

http://foreignpolicynews.org/2015/04/21/azerbaijan-city-of-julfa-home-of-alinjagala-castle/

Also  in Eurasia Review Journal.

http://www.eurasiareview.com/20042015-azerbaijan-city-of-julfa-home-of-alinjagala-castle/

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AZERBAIJAN: DISCOVERING THE ARCHEOLOGICAL MONUMENTS OF NAKHCHIVAN

y Peter Tase

The Autonomous Republic of Nakhchivan is a region with tremendous significance in the historical heritage and archeological wealth in the Republic of Azerbaijan.  The ancient history, scientific and cultural heritage of the people of Azerbaijan took shape in this land.  Nakhchivan is one of the cradles of human civilization, for centuries it preserved the status of being a center of trade, craftsmanship, science and cultural center in the crossroads of east and west. Over the last decade, Nakhchivan has developed rapidly in the areas of infrastructure, socio-economic development, open government initiative and large scale public works. 

Read all the article:

http://foreignpolicynews.org/2015/03/27/azerbaijan-discovering-the-archeological-monuments-of-nakhchivan/

Also in Eurasia Review Journal:

http://www.eurasiareview.com/27032015-azerbaijan-discovering-the-archeological-monuments-of-nakhchivan-oped/

Peter Tase Peter Tase is a contributor, freelance journalist and a research scholar of International Affairs, Paraguayan Studies, Middle East Studies and Latin American Affairs, located in the United States. Educated at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee and Marquette University Les Aspin Center for Government; Tase is the author of “Simultaneous Dictionary in Five Languages: Guarani, English, Italian, Albanian and Spanish” and “El Dr. FEDERICO FRANCO y Su Mandato Presidencial en la Historia del Paraguay.” He’s a frequent contributor to Foreign Policy News. His personal website is www.petertase.com
Peter Tase
Peter Tase is a contributor, freelance journalist and a research scholar of International Affairs, Paraguayan Studies, Middle East Studies and Latin American Affairs, located in the United States. Educated at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee and Marquette University Les Aspin Center for Government; Tase is the author of “Simultaneous Dictionary in Five Languages: Guarani, English, Italian, Albanian and Spanish” and “El Dr. FEDERICO FRANCO y Su Mandato Presidencial en la Historia del Paraguay.” He’s a frequent contributor to Foreign Policy News. His personal website is http://www.petertase.com

Interview with Peter Tase – American Journalist

Peter Tase is a contributor, freelance journalist and a research scholar of Paraguayan Studies and Latin American Affairs in the United States. He’s a frequent contributor to Foreign Policy News and Eurasia Review. He talks to Adfar Shah-Who is a columnist at South Asian Idea and Analyst World besides some other prominent newspapers in the country on a few socio-economic themes in india.

Author’s Profile :

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Adfar Shah-who hails from India’s central Kashmir, is presently defending his doctoral dissertation on the theme “Muslim Endowments and Society in Kashmir” at the department of Sociology, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi-India’s reputed central university. He completed his B.Ed, SET and Masters in Sociology, from the University of Kashmir, India. Adfar shuttles between New Delhi and Kashmir, writing on South Asian societies and politics for several prestigious publications like Eurasia Review, Analyst World, South Asian Idea, Countercurrents, ……..

Read the article:

http://www.theanalystworld.com/interview-with-peter-tase-american-journalist/

INDONESIA AND PARAGUAY: New Prospects for a Greater Partnership

By Peter Tase

On November 29th, 2014, Paraguay will celebrate the 33rd anniversary of the establishment of its diplomatic relations with the Republic of Indonesia, the world’s fourth largest nation with over 252 million people and one of the N – 11 Economies and together with Paraguay is also a memberof the Group of Eleven (G11), whose efforts are focused towards reducing poverty. Both nations became members of the World Trade Organization in 1995.  Although there is a great potential to further strengthen the commercial, political and economic partnership between the two countries, unfortunately, the Foreign Ministry of Paraguay is looking the other way, even though Jakarta is one of the fifteen most important commercial partners of Paraguay.  The South East Asian giant in 2012 has imported over US$19.5 million, meanwhile there is a significant increase of imports in 2013, reaching over US$121.8 million worth of goods a services.  Despite of the unmatched strategic importance that exists in exploring the tremendous business opportunities that can be accomplished throughout a FREE TRADE AGREEMENT framework between Indonesia and Paraguay as well as Paraguay and THE ASEAN nations (currently the world’s largest trading group together with Japan, China and Russia).  Unfortunately Paraguay continues to drag its feet and continues to postpone these commercial opportunities of once in a lifetime.  However, these commercial agreements are considered highly beneficial and the efforts undertaken by Minister Gustavo Leite and his Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MIC) as well as Paraguay’s Network of Investments and Exports (REDIEX) are truly admirable and certainly demonstrated a great performance, Asuncion for the first time has a visionary and a pragmatic leader as the head of its Ministry of Industry and Commerce.  At the same time, in order to fully implement Paraguay’s national agenda abroad and

Read the Article:

http://www.thebalitimes.com/2014/07/26/indonesia-and-paraguay-new-prospects-for-a-greater-partnership/

“This is a region where Azerbaijan can share its success story”

Wed 19 November 2014 05:32 GMT | -1:32 Local Time

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News.Az interview Peter Tase, a political analyst, Former Adviser (pro-bono) on International Affairs of the President of Paraguay, Dr. Federico Franco Gomez (2012-2013), adviser to Dr. Franco, when he was Vice President of Paraguay (2010-2012).

In the recent years we have seen increased cooperation levels between Azerbaijan and the Latin America and Caribbean countries, unlike never before. What are your thoughts about the prospects of these bilateral ties?

One of the largest economies of South America is the Republic of Argentina.  Baku established its diplomatic relations with Buenos Aires on November 8th, 1993 and twenty months earlier Argentina had recognized the independence of the Republic of Azerbaijan.  For more than twenty years there has been an excellent bilateral cooperation between the two nations. The opening of the Embassy of Azerbaijan in Argentina, on 2010, is an important milestone for the strengthening of the bilateral relations.  Under the leadership of Minister Hon. Elmar Mammadyarov and Ambassador Mammad Ahmadzada, tremendous progress has been made in various areas such as bilateral trade, economic cooperation, political support in multilateral organizations, exchange of experiences on tourism infrastructure as well as implementation of successful projects on university education and cultural diversity.  On July 3rd, 2012, Baku welcomed Argentinean Foreign Minister Hector Timerman and more than 240 business leaders from many regions of Argentina.  In 2008 the commercial relations of Argentina and Azerbaijan extended up to US$ 17,8 million and in 2011 it had grown to US$34,6 million. The major products that are exported from Argentina to Azerbaijan are: Sugar Cane, Soy bean oil and flour from other grains, pharmaceutical products, dairy products, peanuts, tobacco and citrus.

On July 26, 2012, Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister visited the San Martin Palace in Buenos Aires in order to meet with his Argentinean counterpart.  This visit was very important to strengthen the two decades long partnership with the South American nation as well as participate in the business Forum of Argentina and Azerbaijan with the participation of some of the most prestigious business leaders and corporations from Azerbaijan.  Argentinean authorities have recognized in many occasions the impressive economic growth of Azerbaijan, tremendous growth of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Baku’s war against poverty and economic reforms which have enabled an increase of the average salaries by almost nine times and the banking sector is very reliable.  The current economic stability and constant growth make Azerbaijan an attractive and a reliable trade partner for Argentina and to other Latin American countries.

Argentina is the largest natural gas producer of South America and is a significant crude oil exporter to Chile and USA. In 2011 Argentina exported just over 60,000 bbl/d of crude oil, while experiencing a decline from the previous year due to a high domestic demand and low levels of production.  Petroleum engineering is one of the strengths of Azerbaijan’s economy, in this context both countries can benefit from exchanging research and development information, cutting edge technology and establish mutual human resources training programs for the energy sector.

Argentina is the top producer of natural gas in South America and has one of the world’s largest reserves of shale gas; however its output has declined over 10 percent from its highest levels reached in 2006. Azerbaijan has a sophisticated technology in the construction of gas pipelines; such an experience can be beneficial to Argentinean authorities in order to reduce possible losses and the cost of transporting natural gas throughout its territory.  The large companies of Azerbaijan should explore investment opportunities with Argentina’s state owned energy company and initiate new projects focused on off shore drilling under the sea bed located on Argentinean territory.

Another important area of bilateral cooperation is on Defense Industry, Military training and technology. I am confident that Argentinean Armed forces will learn the best practices on warfare, rescue operations and management of low intensity operations, from their Azerbaijani counterparts who have shown great leadership skills in crisis management in Afghanistan, Iraq and other hot spots of the world.

What can you say about the potential directions of trade and economic relations between Azerbaijan and this vast region?

Since the proclamation of its Independence in October 1991, the economy of Azerbaijan has attracted over US$190 billion of Foreign Direct Investments (FDI), it is 38 times more than the total amount of FDI in Paraguay during the same period.  The current foreign exchange reserves of Azerbaijan maintain a level of USD 53 Billion.

Based on current investment statistics of January – September, 2014,  the total FDI in Azerbaijan’s economy is AZN 3.517 billion, it increased by 17.9 percent compared to the same period in the previous year.  There is a great potential of strengthening the economic and commercial relations between Azerbaijan and the major economies of Latin America.

The visit of Minister Elmar Mammadyarov in the Republic of Peru, on August 2, 2012 was important to strengthen the commercial ties between both countries.  The chief of Diplomacy of Azerbaijan met with the President of Congress of the Republic of Peru, Victor Isla Rojes, in their discussions the economic and trade relations where part of the bilateral agenda.  Peru is an ideal consumers market to import high quality food products from various large companies from Nakhchivan, such as “Lezzet Food Industry” and Sirab natural and mineral water products, originating from the high mountains of the Kalbaagıl valley in the region of Nakhchivan.  It must be noted that Azerbaijan and Peru have a friendship committee in the National Congress of Peru.

How would you identify each Latin America country in terms of their strategic interest and cooperation with Azerbaijan? We know that each country has its own economic and political particularities.

Most of the Latin American countries have open economies, abundant natural resources and a stable fiscal policy. However some of these countries have many obstacles towards fighting poverty, corruption, organized crime and embrace environment friendly policies.  This is a region where Azerbaijan can share its success story and recent reforms that have led to significant reduction of poverty levels and its successful outcomes in the justice system which have enabled the government of Baku to successfully address the fight against crime and corruption.  Another critical area in the region is also the lack of infrastructure projects and sustainable education reforms which guarantee a well-educated workforce.  The experience of Azerbaijan on these areas would be very valuable to many South American nations, such as Bolivia, Paraguay, Guyana, Suriname and Venezuela.

Azerbaijan is the biggest economy in Southern Caucasus, but there is definitely a lack of information of its economic potential in the distant region of Latin America. How to resolve this challenge?

Embracing a pragmatic Foreign Policy and a dynamic economic diplomacy is the best way to reduce geographic distances. A success story is the bilateral cooperation between the government of Mexico and Azerbaijan.  In 2007, the government of Azerbaijan opened its embassy in Mexico City and the bilateral relations of both countries have been strengthen thanks to the leadership of Ambassador Ilgar Yusif oglu Mukhtarov who has led an important initiative to secure the approval of a resolution by both chambers of the National Congress of Mexico on November 4th, 2011. Such a resolution commemorated the tragic events of February 26, 1992, a date when “Armenian armed forces launched attacks on the civilian population in the Khojaly district of Azerbaijan and killed 613 Azerbaijanis, including women, children and elderly men, and conducted ethnic cleansing”.

On the other hand I strongly encourage the government of Paraguay, one of the two landlocked countries of South America, to open its embassy in Baku in order to strengthen the commercial, political and cultural relations with the most important economy of the Caspian region.  Both nations are landlocked and can politically support each other in the World Trade Organization, the World Tourism Organization.  Additionally, Azerbaijan can assist the government of Paraguay to become a member of the Community of Democracies which is currently led by the Government of El Salvador.  During the last year, the Paraguayan Foreign Ministry led by Amb. Eladio Loizaga is pursuing a strategy of self-isolationism and it closed its only embassy in South East Asia, located in Jakarta, Indonesia.  The most interesting fact of this entire saga is that the presidential decree which closed the Embassy of Paraguay was signed by President on the day when a large business delegation from Indonesia was closing a business deal with Paraguayan partners in Asuncion.  A few days later, the government of Paraguay decided to re-open its embassy in the Dominican Republic, a country which has almost the same production matrix just like Paraguay and therefore there will be a very limited potential for commercial and economic cooperation among the two countries.  Asuncion must learn how to participate and have more leverage in a globalized and ever more interconnected world, its foreign policy leaders and decision makers must review closely the successful practices led by the Government of Azerbaijan in the application of economic and cultural diplomacy and above all learn from the recent application of Azerbaijan’s dynamic foreign policy throughout the globe.

The current cultural diplomacy initiatives of Azerbaijan, taking place in Latin America are very effective, I am confident that it will bring many positive and exciting results in the years to come.  The Foreign Ministry of Azerbaijan is perhaps one of the most effective executive government offices in Central Asia.

News.Az

READ THE ARTICLE

http://news.az/articles/interviews/93605

“Eurasia Hoy” American Spanish-language newspaper has published an article by international relations expert Peter Tase titled “Impressive progress during the administration of President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev”

Tue 26 August 2014 10:39 GMT | 4:39 Local Time

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An American newspaper has published an article about our President.

“Eurasia Hoy” American Spanish-language newspaper has published an article by international relations expert Peter Tase titled “Impressive progress during the administration of President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev” (http://eurasiahoy.com/25082014-el-impresionante-progreso-de-azerbaiyan-bajo-la-gestion-del-presidente-ilham-aliyev/).

The article reads that, according to Greek mythology, Prometheus, who stole fire from the gods and brought it to the people, was chained to the Caucasus Mountains. Azerbaijan, often referred to as the “Land of Fire”, is rich in oil and gas. These natural resources are the basis of the economy of Azerbaijan and the course of socio-economic development of the country, pledged by historical leader Heydar Aliyev, P.Tase says.

The author writes that due to the geographical position of Azerbaijan, the country had bad times after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Local wars in the regions of Georgia (South Ossetia and Abkhazia) and Azerbaijan (Nagorno-Karabakh) created problems for the region’s economy. Despite the difficulties, the Administration of the President of the Heydar Aliyev had to re-build the country’s statehood. According to the expert, Heydar Aliyev was a long-sighted leader who was able to establish financial order, regional peace and to create democratic institutions in Baku.

P.Tase gives information about the geopolitical situation of Azerbaijan, noting that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, which brought 35,000 victims, create a negative economic impact. Since the early 2000s, economic progress has become more prominent, attracting investors from abroad, Baku was transformed into one of the most dynamic economic centers of the world, focusing on new technologies.

The author then provides statistical data on economic growth in Azerbaijan. He notes that from 2002 to 2006 the state revenues doubled, and from 2006 to 2008 they tripled. In 2008 there was a comparative economic slowdown due to the global economic crisis, but the economy of Azerbaijan soon revived. This trend can be seen by observing the significant increase in GDP per capita. Transformation of Azerbaijan from a low-income country to an average income was fairly quick, thanks to the strong will of President Heydar Aliyev and the current leader Ilham Aliyev, the expert emphasizes.

In conclusion, the author writes that for 2014-2015 Azerbaijani leadership has developed a package of proposals on incentive mechanisms of increasing the volume of foreign investment in non-oil industry, according to which local production, labor productivity and competitiveness of goods produced in the country will increase. Expert calls for the early integration of Azerbaijan with the World Trade Organization (WTO).

News.Az

READ THE ARTICLE

http://news.az/articles/official/91500

US expert writes on Azerbaijan’s strategic relations with United States

Wed 16 April 2014 07:00 GMT | 1:00 Local Time

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The U.S. news portal “Foreign Policy News” has issued an article titled “Azerbaijan’s strategic relations with the United States” by expert on international relations Peter Tase.

The article reads: “Since its independence in 1991, the Republic of Azerbaijan places a special importance to the relations with Western countries and particularly with the United States of America.

While maintaining such strong relations, with the United States, this partnership has always helped strengthen Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity, secured better economic reforms for its people, promoted regional transportation projects and above all, Washington has highly supported the democratic values and governance in Baku.

The United States opened its embassy in Baku, and established its diplomatic relations in 1992. The United States has demonstrated a great commitment to help Azerbaijan establish an open market economy and embrace the strengthening democratic institutions and an independent justice system.

The United States has supported efforts that bring peace and prosperity in the region, as well as promoted peaceful ways to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

An important project where the United States has played a critical role is the Oil and Gas Transportation Projects, the establishment of the trans-regional corridors that will physically connect Europe with Azerbaijan, generate important revenue for its people and above all secure a long lasting partnership of this majestic nation, at the heart of the Caspian Sea, with the United States.

The close cooperation between Baku and Washington is a fundamental component for Azerbaijan in order to be integrated in the Global Economic network.

An important initiative in the area of regional economic development is the establishment of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan strategic pipeline, a corridor that would deliver the Caspian Sea’s oil and hydrogen carbonate resources to the World Market as well as integrate Azerbaijan’s economy with the world’s commerce. This pipeline took shape at the OSCE Istanbul Summit in 1999, where the presidents of Azerbaijan, Turkey, United States, Georgia, Kazakhstan, signed the mutual declaration on the development of the Baku – Tbilisi – Ceyhan corridor.

Another important project is the recent joint venture of a group of companies led by BP in signing a US$45 billion deal to transport natural gas, through a pipe line, from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz field to Italy, offering the European Union an alternative to Russian supplies.

Through this deal, BP will expand the Shah Deniz project in the Caspian Sea and the construction of pipelines across Turkey and into Greece, Albania and Italy. In a statement of December 2013, BP stated that “Production from the field will increase by 16 billion cubic meters a year. That is equal to about 1.5 percent of Europe’s total consumption.

Azerbaijan’s economic relations with United States have flourished since the establishment of their diplomatic ties in 1992. Both countries have a bilateral trade agreement and a bilateral investment treaty.

According to the State Department, American energy companies, are engaged in “offshore oil development projects with Azerbaijan” as well as are exploring opportunities in the telecommunications sector. Additionally, Baku has been designated as a beneficiary country under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program, under which a range of products that Azerbaijan might seek to export are eligible for duty-free entry to the United States.

This program is essential for Azeri investors who produce commodities in the Caspian nation and are able to export duty free products that can promote Azerbaijan’s international trade objectives in the US Markets.

The Republic of Azerbaijan, under the assistance of United States armed Forces, has improved the performance of its inter-operational units which are present now in Iraq, field troops in Afghanistan as well as Kosovo.

According to the Department of Defense, in the last decade, United States has showed a great commitment towards strengthening Azerbaijan’s security forces and improves its role to contribute to security and stability in the broader region. The U.S. supports the development of Azerbaijan’s defense and security institutions, includes training and advising in civil-military relations, professional military education, and emergency management.”

The full text of the article is available at http://foreignpolicynews.org/2014/04/10/azerbaijans-strategic-relations-united-states/.

AzerTAc

“The Caucasus region must not be a victim of these unnecessary provocations”

Sat 01 November 2014 05:49 GMT | -1:49 Local Time

Interview with Peter Tase, Special Assistant to the Secretary General of the International Federation of Engineering Education Societies and to the Executive Secretary of the Global Engineering Deans Council.

The recent meeting held in Paris between the Presidents of Azerbaijan, Armenia and France, according to some French diplomats, was held in a “very positive atmosphere”, after President Aliyev’s trip to France, can we hope that Europeans may contribute more in the peace process between Baku and Yerevan than the United States and the Russian Federation?

On October 27, 2014, President Ilham Aliyev met in Paris with his counterpart, the President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan, together with the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group in Paris. Later was held a bilateral meeting between the two heads of state, followed by another meeting with the leaders of OSCE Minsk Group and subsequently the presidents of Azerbaijan, Armenia and France attended the third session of this important Summit, followed by an official dinner.  Unfortunately we did not see a tangible result from these talks.

It is clear that the three heads of state had somewhat fruitful meetings in the French Capital at a time when the geostrategic role of the United States in the Caucasus region is substantially diminishing, towards resolving the long lasting conflict of Nagorno Karabakh (NK) even though James Warlick, a US co-chair of the OSCE Minsk group had participated in these talks.  During the past 22 years, the OSCE Minsk group has not brought any sustainable solution to the NK conflict, it has proved to be obsolete, in this context the European Union must reinvigorate the negotiations’ platform and set feasible goals and objectives in a five year time frame so that by 2019 the peace process between Armenia and Azerbaijan is accomplished and the Province of Nagorno Karabakh is internationally recognized within the territorial integrity of the Republic of Azerbaijan.  The territorial demands of Armenia are against international laws and violate four resolutions approved by the United Nations Security Council in 1993.  If we were to follow the logic of Yerevan, then we would not have the Republic of India as it stands today, but instead we would have over seventy independent countries if we were to divide the current Indian Territory according to its large number of ethnic groups that speak their own languages.  In the same vein, even though France and Russia are leading the negotiation process, the United States must take a leadership role in solving this decades’ long conflict of Nagorno Karabakh and strengthen its bilateral ties with Baku.  It is unfortunate that US Secretary of State John Kerry has not yet fulfilled his promised official visit to Azerbaijan.  Such a visit was announced in March 19, 2014, by his Ambassador in Baku and it still has not taken place.  Additionally the Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has not undertaken an official visit to Azerbaijan even though the Minister of Defense of Azerbaijan Safar Abiyev had paid an official visit in the Pentagon in August 5, 2013.  If we consider the United States to be one of the superpowers in the Eurasian geopolitical landscape, Washington must be more engaged and truly defend the interests of its allies in the Caucasus region and contribute towards strengthening democratic institutions not with words but with real actions.  The fact of this matter is that the United States does not have a better strategic ally than Azerbaijan throughout the whole Caucasus region and Central Asia.

There are rumors that Armenians are ready to withdraw from seven occupied regions of Azerbaijan around Nagorno Karabakh itself to receive economic dividends that they would benefit from an economic cooperation with Azerbaijan. Do you believe that this a logical scenario that could take place in the current geopolitical environment in the region?

There are over 17 million people living in the South Caucasus, which is indeed a small but diverse region, geographically spread into three nations: Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia. It contains one of the highest concentrations of refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) per capita in the World. Almost 1.5 million people have suffered a displacement by armed conflicts over the last 20 years in Azerbaijan alone. Unlike any other country in Eurasia, the government of Azerbaijan has been very successful towards accommodating those families that still suffer from being internally displaced.

I am skeptical that these initiatives taken by the Armenian communities in Azerbaijan are really taking place. Armenia conducts a regular propaganda warfare to divert the attention from the provocations of its Armed Forces in the border with Azerbaijan and most importantly it has taken a unilateral decision to isolate the Autonomous Republic of Nakhchivan from the mainland of Azerbaijan.  Today everyone who wants to travel by road and air from Nakhchivan to Baku, has to cross the border to Iran in order to reach the eastern territories of Azerbaijan. This is politically unacceptable and does not contribute towards a regional economic integration and preservation of peace and stability between Yerevan and Baku.  Additionally, Armenia must make a public apology for all the massacres and atrocities committed by its armed forces against the people of Azerbaijan for more than two decades; withdraw its armed forces and refrain from its annexation aspirations of Nagorno Karabakh and embrace peace and stability in the region.  It is highly hypocritical and it does not help regional stability if you have the Foreign Minister of the artificial Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Karen Mirzoyan deliver a lecture on October 30, 2014, at the Carleton University of Ottawa, focused on the regional security in the South Caucasus, and in the same day, Armenian Armed Forces violated the ceasefire 17 times in the villages of Sarijali, Shuraabad in Aghdam region, and in the village of Kuropatkino region of Khojavend and in the village of Horadiz, Fuzuli region and in the hills of Khojavend and Fuzuli regions.

The international community must be aware of these atrocities, border clashes and constant provocations by Armenian soldiers.  The Caucasus region must not be a victim of these unnecessary provocations, and Armenia is certainly pouring gasoline into fire at a faster pace than the region can afford.  I must reiterate that since the beginning of the war in 1988, 20 percent of Azerbaijan’s territory has been occupied by Armenian armed forces, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding regions.  A fragile ceasefire has been implemented in 1994 however Yerevan continues to refuse the implementation of the four resolutions by the U.N. Security Council and undertake a pullout from Azerbaijan’s territories.  Armenian president Serzh Sargsyan must lower his sword and become a true XXI century visionary leader, just like Heydar Aliyev, the founding father of modern Azerbaijan, was for his country, and not simply sit on the negotiation table (with his regional counterparts) at the same time when his armed forces undertake another deadly attack against Azerbaijani border patrols.  The same principal applies to Minister Mirzoyan: the latter talked about security in the Caucasus and at the same time he became part of the problem by advocating the establishment of unlawful enclaves and constant ethnic cleansing in the Azerbaijani soil.  Who would want to listen to his hypocritical presentation?
Another unacceptable act was the recent visit of Mayor Marlene Mourier from the French town of Bourg-les-Valence, to Azerbaijan’s occupied territories; her actions are illegal and an act of provocation.  The signing of a twinning agreement with Mayor Artsvik Sargsyan, on October 8th, in the occupied town of Shusha is a violation of international law and goes against the recent Summit in Paris.  It is unfortunate that we continue to have public figures in Western Europe who decide to openly violate International laws and treaties and not acknowledge crimes against humanity.

How would you describe the role of United States in the Caucasus Region peace process, considering that Washington is very distant from this area?

The United States has been reluctant to take a leadership role in solving the Nagorno Karabakh (NK) conflict.  The negotiation process by the OSCE Minsk Group has not been successful towards seeking a negotiated outcome that is sustainable politically and guarantees peace in the region.   The current status quo is very unpleasant and Armenia and Azerbaijan must agree to make concessions that would bring a start to the negotiation process.  Now is the time for the United States to take a leadership role and make tangible suggestions – US state department officials must conduct extensive visits in the region – that bring an internationally acceptable solution to this conflict.  Washington must call upon the international community to send a monitoring team in the border areas in order to observe first-hand the violations committed by Armenian forces in the so-called frozen conflict.  Armenia must allow the participation of the so-called government authorities of NK to participate in the negotiation table.  At the same time Armenian propaganda machine does not help when biased information is constantly published and as a result foreign audiences are not well informed.  Provocative actions do not end here: on October 30th, Armenian authorities inaugurated a Kindergarten center in the occupied region of Zangilan, to celebrate the anniversary of Armenian invasion. This is another offensive action and is counterproductive to the recent Summit in Paris.  Armenians never lived on the territory of Zangilan which was occupied by Armenian armed forces on October 29, 1993; these events confirm the annexation policies of occupied territories by Armenia, while violating the Geneva Convention and International Laws.

We all know about rich and powerful Armenian lobby in the US. What should be done to make Azerbaijani voice louder? 

The government of Azerbaijan has been implementing a proactive strategy towards letting the world know the truth about the massive atrocities and current disinformation conducted by the Armenian State Media and national newspapers.  I am confident that such dynamic measures taken by government authorities of Azerbaijan who lead the strategic communication policies will very soon have its positive results and hopefully the US policy makers will realize that America’s staunchest ally in the region is Azerbaijan.  In respect to the current influences of the Armenian lobby in Washington D.C. we must acknowledge that there are major diaspora organizations that are more powerful than Armenians in the United States.  Washington must not rely on the information provided by an infinite number of lobbying groups on K Street, it has the tools and resources to assert the situation on the ground and take decisions that are appropriate to US national interests, its Foreign Policy and guarantee the territorial integrity of its most trusted allies such as Azerbaijan.

L.H.
News.Az

READ THE INTERVEW

“The Caucasus region must not be a victim of these unnecessary provocations”

01.11.2014 05:49 GMT

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Interview with Peter Tase, Special Assistant to the Secretary General of the International Federation of Engineering Education Societies and to the Executive Secretary of the Global Engineering Deans Council.