WASHINGTON—Former US Ambassador to Azerbaijan Matthew Bryza last week criticized President Obama’s policy on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict saying the administration has spent more time on Turkey-Armenia normalization to the detriment of the Karabakh conflict.
“Washington lost its way in the last couple of years,” said Bryza, expressing his criticism while speaking last week at the Jamestown Foundation.
Bryza said that the Obama administration had spent all its energy on the normalization of ties between Turkey and Armenia and did not show any effort for progress in the negotiations on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. He asserted that normalization between Turkey and Armenia would not possible without progress in the Karabakh conflict.
“This [Turkey-Armenia] normalization would be great if it’s achievable. But it’s not achievable and plus it negatively influences Nagorno-Karabakh peace process,” he said adding adding, “No matter how much we wanted Armenia-Turkey rapprochement, instead we’ve got nothing”.
“Had we put all of our eggs into a solution to Nagorno-Karabakh, we could have achieved both. Instead, we got nothing,” Bryza stated.
Bryza took it upon himself to ensure that Azerbaijan would not initiate any military confrontation. However, if “the ice [over the negotiation process] does not break,” the possibilities for such a confrontation would increase.
Bryza also pointed to the lack of trust between Armenia and Azerbaijan. In his “that trust isn’t going to come until the US leads it.”
Since leaving office in January, Bryza has lived in Istanbul and is the director of the Tallinn, Estonia-based International Center for Defense Studies. He has also taken to the interview circuit, telling primarily the Turkish media that Turkey-Armenia normalizations should have been preconditioned on Karabakh peace and blaming the Armenian lobby in the US—especially the Armenian National Committee of America—for undermining his nomination and prospects of returning to Baku as the top US diplomat.