Response to Chris Pincher 4 June 2013 – Chair All-Party Parliamentary Group Azerbaijan

suggest you visit an IDP camp and meet the people who have been exiled from their homes and their families. I have visited 3

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It applies to both sides! Have you ever wondered why after 20 years and $ dollars spent on defence they are still in camps?

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the oil wealth only began post 2003 and new homes now being built. But far better that Azerbaijani people allowed to go home

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To @

Whilst I understand that the oil wealth of Azerbaijan has increased since the opening of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline it would appear that a good proportion of this has been focussed on military spending. Since at least 2006/7 the % of the state budget allocated to Defence has been ~16% at ~$700m. This % has remained constant through to 2013 where the expenditure is now over $3bn. You would have thought that if the Azeri Government cared about the plight of the IDP’s and refugees then some of the priority would have been on humanitarian assistance as well as military hardware given that several years ago the total spend on Defence in Azerbaijan exceeded Armenia’s entire state budget. I’m sure $1bn would be very useful in making the lives of the IDP’s, that you have seen, a little more comfortable.

Any observer of South Caucasus affairs will know that Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh have no expansionist strategy in the region – it is simply one of Defence. The build-up of weaponry by the Azeris is about vanity and “sabre-rattling” and not about a real threat of war from the Armenians. An objective review of the events post-1988 and the build-up to full scale war would expose Azerbaijan as the main aggressor on this issue.

You made the comment that the Azerbaijanis should be allowed to go home.

Is this all Azeri refugees / IDP’s – the “875,000”? – Returning back to Armenia, the original NKAO + the 7 surrounding regions?

How would you see this working practically – given the animosity between the 2 peoples? Would you expect Armenians to welcome Azerbaijanis as their neighbours when the Azeri Govt preaches anti-Armenianism?

Does your solution imply a form of ethnic cleansing of Armenians who have settled in NKR – who, in most cases would have been expelled from Baku, Sumgait, Kirovabad? Do you advocate that they return back to their homes in those Azeri cities?

I am not asking these questions from an Armenian position (I’m a UK citizen of UK origin) – I’m writing it from a pure practical perspective. A solution that suggests that the mixing of Armenians and Azerbaijanis throughout Armenia, Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan is not a real solution by anyone’s standards. One that suggests ethnic cleansing is also very questionable. I am concerned that headline comments about “people going back home” appeals to the uninformed sympathiser, or the few concerned with power and money,   but does very little to resolve a real life issue which affects the people in these 3 countries

I would be interested in your considered stance on this.

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Categories: Letters

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