The Speaker of the Parliament of the Republic of Uruguay, Jorge Orrico, on Wednesday paid a visit to Stepanakert where he had meetings with the leadership of the self declared Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, including the President Bako Sahakyan. A spokesperson for Sahakyan said that they discussed a wide range of issues with respect to the development of bilateral ties. "Bako Sahakyan noted that NKR and Uruguay are friendly countries that have numerous similarities, which are favorable preconditions for the development of interaction between them. He also highly appreciated Uruguay's contribution to the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide, and the country's balanced policy in connection with NKR's formal recognition and settlement of the Azerbaijani-Karabakh conflict," according to the spokesman.
Azerbaijan has already reacted to the visit sending a diplomatic protest note to the government of Uruguay. A spokesperson for the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry, Elman Abdullayev said at a briefing on Wednesday that the visit "does not change anything except escalating the situation. Armenian forces are behind it and it harms the negotiating process."
Commonspace.eu political editor said in a comment: "The visit of such a high ranking official, even if from a small country, poses a problem to Baku and its policy of isolating the self declared Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. It raises the spectre of possible diplomatic recognition, even if only by a handful of countries. There will be pressure on the Azerbaijni Foreign Ministry to respond more firmly to the visit, but Uruguay has few political and economic relations with Azerbaijan and the Armenian diaspora in the country is influential and has for the last two decades put pressure on local politicians to be supportive of Nagorno Karabakh's independence. Azerbaijan will likely engage the support of other countries who may have more leverage on Uruguay in its efforts, including members of the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation (OIC)."
photo: The Speaker of the House of Representivies of the Republic of Uruguay in a meeting with the President of the self declared Nagorono-Karabakh Republic in Stepanakert on 13 November 2012. (Picture courtesy of the Press Service of the president of NKR).
On Tuesday, PACE approved a resolution that will allow the Russian delegation to take part in the Assembly's June session. The resolution was backed by 118 members, 62 parliamentarians voted against it, while 10 abstained.
In the Karabakh peace process there has been a reluctance by track 1 participants to engage properly with track II initiatives. The EU supported EPNK process has shown that unconventional diplomacy has much to contribute, and its energy must now be put to good use.