Let’s face it, the Yerevan experts have reasons to smash plates and bang their bald heads on the floor, especially if we consider this visit in the general context.
Azerbaijan is indeed confidently transforming Shusha into not only a cultural capital, but also a diplomatic one. In March of this year Shusha hosted a meeting dedicated to the 30th anniversary of Azerbaijan’s membership in the UN. Note that most experts viewed it as a major diplomatic event. And a great victory for Azerbaijan: our country once again reaffirmed its territorial integrity and state sovereignty over Karabakh at the level of the main international organization of the modern world. Ambassadors accredited to Azerbaijan, guests of our country and heads of international organizations regularly visit the city. Just recently, receiving the Estonian ambassador to Armenia Riina Kaljurand, the Speaker of Armenian parliament Alen Simonyan voiced his resentment: how is it that the head of the Estonian parliament Jüri Ratas visited Shusha? Simonyan reminded that he had sent a letter regarding this matter to the Speaker himself.
Against this background, Mikhail Bocharnikov’s visit to Shusha is a serious diplomatic blow for Armenia. This visit is an eloquent confirmation of Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity, now coming from the state carrying out a peacekeeping operation in Karabakh. Moreover, Armenia, who has not renounced its claims to Shusha, expects to push its agenda with the help of foreign, i.e., primarily Russian, support. Now Armenia watches in bewilderment as all its designs go belly-up.
This would be the end of the matter. But there is another side to the issue. The US and French ambassadors and the other OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs refrain from going to Shusha, at least for now.
US Ambassador to Azerbaijan Mr. Litzenberger was quite cautious about it when speaking to journalists back in November 2021.
The diplomat recalled that he had visited Zangilan, that the embassy staff had been to Fizuli and Agdam, and then he said: “I have been to Nakhchivan, Sheki, Ganja. If there are any places I have not yet visited, I will go there when I have the opportunity”.
Once again, this was said in November 2021. The American diplomat must have been aware that his visit to Shusha was not just a trip to the regions of Azerbaijan, but an unambiguous political message. Yes, a diplomate’s job is about smoothing over the edges and not exacerbating the situation. But sometimes diplomats just need to voice their position without fear of offending or disappointing anyone. And, sorry to repeat the commonplace truth, Shusha is the very issue where Azerbaijan has the right to expect a clear position from its partners. Especially if Washington and Paris intend to expand their partnership with our country.
Translated from Minval.az