asiaNet Q & A
EurasiaNet: What kind of assistance will the US render to the Azerbaijani government now that the US Congress has authorized a waiver of sanctions contained under Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act?
Wilson: The language that was passed by the Senate gives the President the authority to wave the section 907 for a year. It also says the President can extend that waiver another year and indefinitely. So in fact it's a prominent waiver. The decision would be enforced when signed by the President. We have talked in a general way about the kinds of things that we would like to do. And this may include increased assistance to Azerbaijan in controlling its borders more effectively. It may include technical assistance to the government on economic policy. Bu it's much too premature to talk too much about specifics.
EurasiaNet: How will the US-Russian relationship impact the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process?
Wilson: We have long worked closely with Russia for the settlement of the conflict. When the [Minsk] co-chairs were in Key West and here in May, they described the US and Russia's work together in very, very positive ways. And I think this [shows] some level of cooperation that had not, if one is honest, always existed in the past. And a practical cooperation between the US and Russia is one of the reasons why we were more optimistic about the settlement of the conflict. Since September 11, our cooperation on regional issues has increased significantly. And so I can say that the US and Russia are even more deeply pulling in the same direction on Nagorno-Karabakh. Obviously its issues are no less complicated than they were, and we still have points to work on.
EurasiaNet: After the Minsk group co-chairs visited the region, Azerbaijan officially declared that they hadn't brought new proposals. How would you describe the current status of the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process?
Wilson: The co-chairs were pleased to have had the opportunity to come here at the beginning of November after the number of weeks when they had not been able, partly because our co-chair changed and then the events of September 11 made international travel difficult. Second, they were pleased with the very detailed talks on specific subjects, and a number of ideas -- some new ideas. It would be wrong to say that all of the ideas that they discussed with [presidents Kocharian and Aliyev] were rejected. Many of those ideas were discussed. Both presidents made clear to the Minsk group that they wanted to work on and to achieve a negotiated settlement, and that they want the Minsk group to continue to work towards that. Did the Minsk group achieve a great breakthrough towards the peace settlement? No, they did not. But I think this was a useful and important visit, and it set the basis for work in the future.
EurasiaNet: You recently visited the Fizuli district [to witness the dedication of a new hospital]. Is there any change in the community's position on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict?
Wilson: The sure answer is no. The people who were there, that I talked to at least, were
Ambassador Wilsons comments were transcribed
by Konul Khalilova.