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Washington Times: Obama can assist Yerevan and Baku to find peace

Washington Times: Obama can assist Yerevan and Baku to find peace Political and military events

The US President Barack Obama has a unique opportunity to assist in establishing peace between Yerevan and Baku which are at loggerheads due to the occupation of Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh region by Armenia, Rob Sobhani, CEO of the US Caspian Group Holdings, said in his article published in the Washington Times newspaper.

“President Obama will host and convene the Fourth Nuclear Security Summit beginning on March 31 at the Washington Convention Center,” said Sobhani. “Among the scheduled attendees are two leaders who rarely get together because their nations have been at loggerheads for decades.”

The author noted that while it is important for world leaders to agree on how best to keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of rogue nations or terrorist groups, the presence of Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev and Armenia’s President Serzh Sargsyan offer a rare yet historic moment for President Obama to take the lead in solving one of the most troublesome conflicts left from the break-up of the Soviet Empire.

The United States, along with Russia and France, co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, is tasked with resolving this conflict, said Sobhani.

He added that Washington has been too busy with distractions in the Middle East to take a lead role in establishing a lasting peace between Yerevan and Baku.

President Obama may well be in a position to craft a breakthrough that could create a new beginning for the people of Armenia and Azerbaijan by leading a robust diplomatic initiative to find a fair solution, according to Sobhani.

Obama should work with the two leaders to craft a plan that will lead to the withdrawal of Armenian forces from Azerbaijan’s occupied territories, he added.

Further, a settlement might well include a Reconciliation and Reconstruction Fund that would invest in infrastructure projects between the two countries, said the author.

The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.

The two countries signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Russia, France and the US are currently holding peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented the UN Security Council's four resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.

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