Nothing new in James B. Warlick’s presentation
Orkhan Sattarov, the head of the European Bureau of Vestnik Kavkaza
A discussion about suggestions for a settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict recently presented by the American co-chair James B. Worlick will take place on May 16th at the visit of co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group to Armenia and Azerbaijan. The Armenian side criticized Worlick’s suggestions, as they require withdrawal of troops from the occupied territories around Nagorno-Karabakh. Baku reacted more positively. According to the Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan, Elmar Mamedyarov, the six principles suggested by Worlick are not new and have been voiced previously. At the same time, the minister noted that the Azerbaijani side agreed to work on a peacemaking treaty for settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. “The status quo is unacceptable even for the Armenians. The country doesn’t develop; there are serious demographic problems. We call on the Armenian side to settle the problem together,” he said.
Mathias Dornfeld, associative member of the Center for Studying Energy and Environment of the Caspian Region under the Free University of Berlin, commented on Worlick’s suggestions for Vestnik Kavkaza: “I have read Worlick’s speech attentively and concluded that it contains nothing new.” According to the political scientist, the statement by the American co-chair should be considered in the context of the 20th anniversary of the Bishkek Protocol on the cease-fire regime between Armenia and Azeraijan.
“Worlick’s suggestions are a reference to the Madrid Principles and other requirements of the OSCE Minsk Group. As Worlick is a new co-chair of the Minsk Group, he is trying to gain a foothold in a new quality,” the expert noted.
We should emphasize that recently James B. Worlick was heavily criticized by top Azerbaijani officials, including the special envoy of Azerbaijani President for the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Araz Azimov, for his sharp statements on Twitter, which annoyed Baku. From this point of view, the German expert is right that he is trying to gain a foothold. It seems that when the Baku authorities actually cast aspersions on the “professionalism” of the American, Washington decided to rehabilitate the diplomat, voicing well-known principles in a new form on behalf of Worlick.
Dornfeld points out that Worlick didn’t mention other regional conflicts in his speech and didn’t touch on the crisis over Ukraine and Crimea in general, even though American diplomats use every opportunity to discuss the topic. According to the political scientist, it shows that Washington is deploying double standards.
“Moreover, it is clear that after the Crimean crisis and the silent approval of Crimea’s merger into the Russian Federation by the West, a settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is not a priority,” Dornfeld concluded.
He thinks that the OSCE MG’s influence on the settlement of the conflict is insignificant, and there will be no reform of the structure in the near future. Thus, Mathias Dornfeld, as well as Heiko Langner, see nothing new in Washington’s statement.