STOPPING WARS IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN FORMALITIES
by Vladimir Kazimirov
DEFENSE and SECURITY
May 14, 2008 Wednesday
Official Moscow alone made the Karabakh agreement possible
WARRING SIDES IN THE NAGORNO-KARABAKH CONFLICT RESUME CONTACTS;
The Western community is jealous of the part Russia played in the
Karabakh conflict settlement.
The conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh is the only one on the territory
of the erstwhile USSR where the warring sides resume contacts.
OSCE Minsk Group chairman (Russia, United States, France) arranged
a meeting between Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers Edward
Nalbandjan and Elmar Mamedjarov in Strasbourg on May 6. Foreign
ministers of the two countries met for the first time. Both, however,
went to Strasbourg with an eye to arranging a meeting between
presidents Serj Sarkisjan and Ilham Aliyev in St.Petersburg in early
June. Wary of the new team in Yerevan, Baku is biding its time. It
does not force the issue of a summit and bears in mind Armenia’s
Nalbandjan and Mamedjarov met in Strasbourg on the eve of a momentous
jubilee – 14 years since the truce agreement (May 12). This
unprecedented agreement was reached with Russia’s help because
Russia has always stood for the suspension of hostilities as the
first priority. The suspension of hostilities and seven cease-fire
accords are owed precisely to Moscow.
Fatigued and aware of the relative parity, all three involved
parties (Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh, Armenia) wised up in no time
at all. Fierce fighting near Terter north of Stepanakert in spring
1999 threatened everyone with a new catastrophe. Had the Armenians
fought their way to the Kura River, they’d have cut the northwestern
part of Azerbaijan off the rest of the country (they had done so by
reaching the Araks in 1993). Baku was aware of the implications. It
no longer put forth any preliminary conditions. It was prepared to
accept a long-term truce.
One would say that the conditions for an agreement were ripe but
every minute could ruin everything. The Azerbaijani leadership wanted
a cease-fire signed with Yerevan but the Armenians refused to do so
without Stepanakert’s direct participation. Additional consultations
and talks would have taken too long and could spoil everything in
case of any changes on the front line. The Kremlin had to forget
about the involved parties’ whims for the time being and have them
sign any agreement they cared to sign.
The three-page long text was repeated for every signatory’s
signature. This document Moscow had spared neither time nor effort to
make possible became the cease-fire agreement. Once the warring parties
were satisfied that both texts were absolutely identical, Moscow as
the intermediary proclaimed the agreement come into force as of May 12.
To stop the war, Russia did without the usual legal paraphernalia:
a common date and location of the signing, the original with three
signatures, seals, a nice folder, a vault for sake-keeping, and so
on. Jealous of the cease-fire because of Russia’s part in it, the
Western community tried to ignore it at first but eventually listed
it in OSCE documents as an "unofficial" agreement. These days, they
simply pretend that it does not exist at all. Granted that certain
problems are important, there is nothing in the settlement process
as vital as the cease-fire regime and the agreement to tackle the
matter by peaceful means.
From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress