TODAY.AZ / Politics

Cory Welt: “James Warlick should feel right at home in the Minsk Group”

14 August 2013 [14:30] - TODAY.AZ

Day. Az interviewed Cory Welt, Associate Director and Research Professor at the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at the George Washington University.

-How do you assess the upcoming activity of James Warlick as a new US Co-Chair of the OSCE Minsk Group?

- Having served as the principal negotiator of the US-Afghanistan Bilateral Security Agreement, Ambassador Warlick is well-versed in dealing with thorny negotiations on complex political-security issues. So he should feel right at home in the Minsk Group.

It is also the right time for a new co-chair to come aboard. There has been no obvious route to a breakthrough for some time, and it will be helpful to have someone with a fresh eye assessing how to get Armenia and Azerbaijan to agree on the Basic Principles as they stand, or whether it is time to reconsider the existing framework.

-What are the interests of the United States, as a part to the OSCE Minsk Group, in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement? Did they change?

- The American interests haven’t changed much – the priorities are to prevent an outbreak of war and to justly resolve the conflict.

-How would you estimate cooperation between Azerbaijan and the United States in security field?

 - There is ample room for greater security cooperation between the United States and Azerbaijan. The problem is that this cooperation is for dealing with problems that the United States would prefer to otherwise resolve. In other words, Azerbaijani assistance in Afghanistan is valuable, so long as the United States needs a transit corridor into Afghanistan. It is also valuable so long as the Iranian nuclear problem is unresolved. The prospects for more sustainable cooperation depend on finding common interests beyond these two issues.

-    Some experts argue that more intensive relations between Armenia and the West (the EU, in particular) made Russia angry and may cause some changes in its policy, bring Russia closer to Azerbaijan, for instance?

There is little reason for Russia to change its policy. I think Moscow knows that it will take more than an EU association agreement to shift Armenia out of its orbit.


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