Due to the influence of the Armenian lobby, the US cannot take an active part in the objective resolution of the biggest threat to the security in the South Caucasus - the settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, director of the Center for Strategic Studies under the Azerbaijani President, Farhad Mammadov believes.
"Over 20 years, the US policy in the region has been instrumental in strengthening the independence of Azerbaijan and Georgia and in the regional security process. However, due to the influence of the Armenian lobby, the US cannot take an active part in the objective resolution of the biggest threat to the security in the South Caucasus - the settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict," Mammadov said during his speech at the Conference "Role of Azerbaijani-American cooperation in regional peace and stability" on Friday.
He said the current state of the region is unsustainable and it is impossible to create favorable conditions for a secure future without influence and perhaps even pressure from outside. "In our view, the US is not active in this area. Statements that the resolution of the conflict depends on the free will of the parties are irresponsible at the very least. What free will can we speak of when the aggressor state of Armenia puts forward unreasonable demands and tries to maintain the status quo at all costs?" Mammadov said.
The United States, as the most powerful country in the world, can and should play a responsible role in the settlement process, he believes.
Mammadov said the beginning of a peace process advocated by Azerbaijan at this stage will create a new picture of the region. "After the liberation of the occupied territories, the Armenian-Azerbaijani and Armenian-Turkish border will be opened, and Armenia will be able to enjoy open borders, which promises a short-term 20% economic growth spurt. The status of Nagorno-Karabakh as part of Azerbaijan can be discussed for many years, because the new picture of the region will create a new reality and strengthen the independence of Armenia. Under no circumstances does the resolution of the conflict does pose a threat to US interests in the region. On the contrary, it will create conditions for the safe and successful development of the region where all countries will enjoy partnership relations with the United States," he said.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 per cent of Azerbaijan since 1992, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.
Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group - Russia, France and the U.S. - are currently holding peace negotiations.
Armenia has not yet implemented the U.N. Security Council's four resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.