BAKU: Armenian-Turkish Protocols Are Only A Stage Of Resolving Situa

ARMENIAN-TURKISH PROTOCOLS ARE ONLY A STAGE OF RESOLVING SITUATION IN SOUTH CAUCASUS: RUSSIAN POLITICIAN

Trend
Nov 5 2009
Azerbaijan

Armenian-Turkish protocols are only one of the stages of resolving
the situation in the South Caucasus, the General Director of the
Information Analytical Center of Moscow State University, Professor
of post-Soviet foreign countries department Alexey Vlasov said.

"There is more multifaceted aspect of this process, where the protocols
play an important, but not a single role, Vlasov told Trend News
by telephone from Moscow. Speaking of protocols, we must understand
that this affects only two countries, but the whole context, which
is linked with it still includes the problem of Nagorno-Karabakh and
the broader aspect of the problem of security in South Caucasus."

Turkish and Armenian foreign ministers Ahmet Davutoglu and Edward
Nalbandian signed the protocols Ankara-Yerevan in Zurich on October
10. Diplomatic relations between Armenia and Turkey have been broken
due to Armenia’s claims of an alleged genocide, and its occupation of
Azerbaijani lands. The border between them has been broken since 1993.

According to Vlasov, for the month since the meeting of the Presidents
of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev and Armenia, Serzh Sargsyan in Chisinau,
all the key players in the region – Russia, the U.S. and the EU
clearly indicated their position.

The latest meeting of Azerbaijani and Armenian Presidents on the
peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was held on Oct.

9 in Chisinau within the CIS summit.

The first moment, denoted by Russia, the U.S. and the EU, is that
the ongoing process of the Armenian-Turkish settlement is a positive
tendency, which should be supported, the expert said.

On the other hand, it does not remove the question of the main
destabilizing factor in the region – the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh,
Vlasov said.

"It seems to me that lately under the influence of the consolidated
position of the outside players, the Armenian government chooses more
restrained rhetoric. Maybe it does not correspond to their actual
view of things, but in the media space the sharp statements by the
Armenian side are becoming less and less," he said.

According to the expert, this indicates that the outside forces,
including the OSCE Minsk Group, understood the tendency that the
establishment of the Armenian-Turkish relations should by followed
by the progress in the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement.

In addition, now Serzh Sargsyan must more consider the interests
of the Armenian population, which unlike the diasporas, occupies a
position "to maintain dialogue with all countries of the region,"
the expert said.

"I think that now Armenia should continue its way. Starting
negotiations with Turkey, it should make some consensus on
Nagorno-Karabakh as well," said Vlasov.

According to him, for a long time the Turkish officials have assured
Azerbaijan that they will not do anything contrary to its interests.

"Now it is time when signing protocols between Turkey and Armenia
should lead to advancements in the process of the Nagorno-Karabakh
conflict settlement, or the Turkish political elite does not fulfill
the promises made", – he said.

According to Vlasov, one of the means of moving forward is to release
five Armenian-occupied districts of Azerbaijan.

The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988
when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan
lost all of Nagorno-Karabakh except for Shusha and Khojali in December
1991. In 1992-93, Armenian armed forces occupied Shusha, Khojali and 7
districts surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh. Azerbaijan and Armenia signed
a ceasefire in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group – Russia,
France, and the U.S. – are currently holding the peace negotiations.

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