A Little Long, But It Is Ok

Hakob Badalyan


The Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents met in Sochi, negotiated in
presence of the Russian president, then had a dinner, skied and after,
met with the OSCE Minsk group co-chairs and left. The Russian Prime
Minister Lavrov stated that in the course of the meeting in Sochi,
the sides worked out the preamble of the principles of Madrid and the
Russian co-chair of the Minsk group extended hope that the co-chairs
will present their judgments on the principles of Madrid.

What happened in Sochi seems to have happened in the process of the
Karabakh settlement several times already. In different cities of
the world, there seem to have already been such meetings within the
frameworks of the conflict settlement. From this point, the impression
is that Sochi is just a regular event and there are many other cities,
villages which waiting to have the honor to host the Armenian and
Azerbaijani presidents and the OSCE Minsk group co-chairs.

All this creates grounds for many people to affirm that the negotiation
process is just an imitation the aim of which is to secure the
existence of negotiations which are an alternative to the war.

There are many others who think that the Sochi meeting enhanced
repressions on Armenia and the day of a disadvantageous agreement
for Armenians approaches. Both can be affirmed. The truth, as usual,
is somewhere in the middle.

To say that the negotiation is fully an imitation of course would be
exaggeration. The negotiation is negotiation in the course of which the
mediators and the parties express their stances, try to defend them,
and attempt to get the result they want or to diminish possibly the
limit of concessions. It would be exaggeration to say that the sides
are forced concessions, that the patience of the co-chairing countries
is over and they need to settle the NKR issue as soon as possible so
they force the parties to sign an agreement the principles of which
are very bad for Armenia.

Anyone who affirms that Armenia is being obliged to sign an agreement
has not clarified yet the reason why right Armenia is forced
it. For example, which is the reason why they force Armenians leave
the released areas. They say they do that to deploy there peace
forces since it is a border with Iran which has nuclear plans and
the international society is going to hit it. But this argument,
mildly speaking, is a bit childish. It is childish first from the
point that the OSCE Minsk group co-chairs have different opinions
of the NKR issue. Besides, peace forces are not those ones to carry
out effective activities against Iran. Third, the precedents with
Iran and Afghanistan showed that land actions against Iran will be
a serious mistake. And judging by a different attitude of the Obama
administration towards the Iranian issue, the U.S. has realized this
circumstance. Besides, Azerbaijan will never agree to take back lands
from Armenia and to give them to the West for the latter to use it
against Iran for repressions and aggression. Azerbaijan, in this case,
would become an enemy of Iran, which, mildly speaking, is not that
pleasant even for a superpower, let alone a country like Azerbaijan.

The international society is also said to wish to settle the Karabakh
issue for the sake of security and peace in the region. This is a
not less childish affirmation than the one about Iran. The point is
that if the security and the stability of the region worry any of the
superpowers, only after the latter will have solved the issue of its
dominancy in the region. The same goes for the Armenian and Turkish
relations. The problem is the fight for the Caucasus which has been
lasting for already two decades and seems to be still lasting much
because interests are various, involved countries-many.

This of course means that the contradiction between interests can
secure the preservation of a status quo in the Karabakh issue, even in
case two of its bearers, Armenia and Karabakh, refuse it. The point
is that refusing the status quo is little for changing it because an
agreement on a new status quo is to be reached first. And the current
one, as we know, has been achieved at the cost of a bloody war. In
Caucasus any change of a status quo has happened and is happening
through wars the bright example of which is the 2008 war. This is a
contradiction to the affirmation that preserving the status quo will
bring about a war. The opposite is more likely, in the Caucasus the
status quo is changed through wars.

But the preservation of the status quo on account of the contradiction
of interests and clash seems to be favorable for Armenia, and there
is no reason for panic and defeatism. There is really no reason
for panic and defeatism, but there is no reason to be so sure of
the benefits of the situation for Armenia either. The situation can
become favorable for Armenia only if, in addition to its stake in
the status quo, it will have something to offer the world. Over 20
years of independence and 16 years of truce in Karabakh, Armenia was
unable to create something to offer the world, and the image of the
"island of democracy", which it acquired in early 1990, began to fade
already by the middle of the decade. And now Armenia takes part in
international processes, having in stock only the status quo and the
willingness to renounce its share in it.

Maybe if there was no hope for resisting and not yielding with the
help of contradiction of interests, Armenia could devise a more
effective foreign policy and create a valuable resource for engaging
in international processes. And such a resource could be a policy
aimed at making Armenia the most modern country in the region, with
the most modern socio-political, economic qualities. But instead of
creating such a state in order to absolve the burden of the status
quo Armenia in every way uses the status quo not to assume the burden
of reforming the country.

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