The Washington Times: Both Armenia and Azerbaijan could use a peace dividend

Washington, March 4, AZERTAC

The Washington Times has published an article on Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict headlined "Obama's reconciliation moment: Both Armenia and Azerbaijan could use a peace dividend".

Written by Rob Sobhani, CEO of Caspian Group Holdings, LLC the article says: “President Obama will host and convene the Fourth Nuclear Security Summit beginning on March 31 at the Washington Convention Center. Among the scheduled attendees are two leaders who rarely get together because their nations have been at loggerheads for decades.”

“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 Presidents Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan and Serzh Sargsyan of Armenia offers 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 off the Soviet Empire. Regional experts have taken to calling a seemingly intractable dispute between the two nations over ownership of the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh the "frozen conflict." In 1991, full-scale war broke out between Armenia and Azerbaijan and despite a cease-fire in 1994, border skirmishes and fighting continues to this day, over a million people have been displaced and Armenian forces occupy close to 20 percent of Azerbaijan's territory.

“The United States, along with Russia and France, co-chairs the Minsk Group tasked with resolving this conflict.” Mr Sobhani says “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 while the two leaders are in Washington that could create a new beginning for the people of Armenia and Azerbaijan by leading a robust diplomatic initiative to find a permanent solution fair to both sides.”

“Indeed, despite millions of dollars that continues to flow into Armenia from its diaspora, Armenia's GDP per capita is stagnant. Today it stands at $3500 and its GDP and would be much lower but for some $10 billion in diaspora remittances.”

“Despite these differences, both Armenia and Azerbaijan would benefit from a peace dividend. An American-led diplomatic resolution of the conflict would unleash growth in a post-conflict environment. Trade and commerce between Armenia and Azerbaijan — two cultures with a deep entrepreneurial spirit written into their DNA — would have an immediate impact on the lives of millions,” he says.

Yusif Babanli

Special Correspondent

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