“Washington lost its way in the last couple of years,” said Bryza, expressing his criticism while speaking on Wednesday at the US-based Jamestown Foundation.
Bryza lamented that the Obama administration had spent all its energy on the normalization of ties between Turkey and Armenia but without showing any effort for progress in the negotiations on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. He claimed, however, that such normalization is impossible without any progress on the aforementioned issue.
“Had we put all of our eggs into a solution to Nagorno-Karabakh, we could have achieved both. Instead, we got nothing,” Bryza stated.
Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan; however, the country has been unable to exercise power over most of the region due to the presence of Armenian forces. Armenian-backed forces wrested the region from Azerbaijani control in a deadly war in 1991, as the Soviet Union splintered apart.
Although there have been efforts to resolve the dispute through the Minsk Group initiative, there has so far been almost no progress. The Minsk Group, an Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) initiative, was established in 1992 and a conference was scheduled to take place for the peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh issue. In the nearly 20 years of its existence, the Minsk Group process has failed to produce any conference.
Bryza asserted that Azerbaijan does not contemplate stirring up a military confrontation in the short term on claims over the territory, but if “the ice [over the negotiation process] does not break,” the contingencies for such confrontation may increase in the long run.
Noting that there is a significant lack of trust between the Armenian and Azerbaijani administrations, Bryza explained, “that trust isn’t going to come until the US leads it,” and that negotiations process would remain deadlocked.
Bryza has previously worked in the administrations of Bill Clinton in the 1990s and then later for George W. Bush.