"Moscow Can Push Both Azerbaijan And Armenia To Resolve Karabakh Con


May 19 2010

Interview with Doctor of Geographical Sciences, Professor at
Russian Economic and Social Geography Department of the Moscow State
University, political expert Vyacheslav Baburin.

In your opinion, may Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s latest visit
to Turkey have a positive impact on resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh

Any improvement in the overall climate around the conflict will help
to move resolution process forward. However, I do not believe that
fundamental conditions of the conflict resolution will change. In other
words, the climate has become more favorable, but, macro-conditions
remain the same.

How do you assess Turkey’s chances to become co-chair of the OSCE
Minsk Group?

I think many parties involved in conflict resolution want this. But
Turkey’s co-chairmanship depends on many factors. There are a lot of
undercurrents and hidden mechanisms. There are also those who will
oppose it.

I know that there are talks that France can be replaced by Turkey.

However, it is impossible, because France has always been an active
player in the Caucasus starting with the 19th century. In my opinion,
Turkey’s joining the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs can be useful for the
conflict resolution. However, all depends on how the U.S., France and
Russia see Turkey because each new participant complicates the process
of coordinating positions to pass common decisions. Turkey is also
a very significant competitor for the three aforementioned countries.

Does Russian President’s statement that Ankara and Moscow share the
same position mean that Russia has realized that the Karabakh conflict
should be solved based on terms acceptable for Azerbaijan?

I think that, first of all, Moscow is interested in resolving conflict,
and it will push both Armenia, and Azerbaijan to do this.

Moreover, if a mediator openly sides with one of the parties, it
ceases to be a mediator. In this respect, Turkey becoming one of
the co-chairs with known pro-Azerbaijani stance also raises many
questions. The sides must keep relative neutrality at least.

Azerbaijan has lately announced it is running out of patience and
if the sides fail to solve the conflict peacefully, the country may
resort to military ways…

I think that this year the conflict resolution will see no major
chances, because the world community is now more concerned about the
danger of a second wave of a global financial crisis than resolution
of local conflicts. However, in my view, conflict must be resolved
in stages and gradually. First of all, the control of territories
around Nagorno-Karabakh must be returned to Azerbaijan and then the
Karabakh problem should be solved.

Azerbaijan insists on phased solution of the conflict. Azerbaijan
has already approved the Madrid Principles while Armenia is still
slow to express its attitude…

Azerbaijan is more promising and powerful state from economic point
of view. Development of the country provides country with respective
defense capabilities. So, Armenia is concerned that Azerbaijan will
employ force at a certain stage of conflict resolution.

In your opinion, how ill Armenia act in this case? Will it approve
the Madrid Principles in this case?

I think it will not accept them until it receives guarantees that
Azerbaijan will not use military ways to resolve the conflict.

In your opinion, what are further scenarios of events?

I am sure that Azerbaijan will not use force in near future. It will
seek a new solution to the conflict peacefully. I think that today
the general geopolitical situation in the region is not favourable for
military action and it would be better to solve the problem peacefully.