Karabakh Settlement: Public And Press Speculate About Kazan Meeting

By Naira Hayrumyan

10.06.11 | 13:36

Following their four-day tour of the Karabakh conflict region, the
OSCE Minsk Group cochairmen (representing the United States, Russia
and France) issued a statement late on Thursday in which they called
upon the parties “to avoid any provocative actions or statements that
might undermine the negotiating process during this critical period.”

Experts took it as an appeal not to interfere with the presidents of
Armenia and Azerbaijan in their endeavors to come to agreement around
the Basic Principles of the Karabakh settlement, which may be signed as
early as on June 25 during a Russia-hosted summit in the city of Kazan.

International mediators themselves acknowledge that the signing of
these basic principles, which are largely viewed as unacceptable to
both sides, may cause internal turmoils in either country.

In a recent interview with the Polish magazine “Nowa Europa
Wschodnia” Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office
in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone Andrzej Kasprzyk noted that
“at the time of threat a commander will not listen to politicians,
he will execute a previously received order to defend his positions.”

It is stated in an open mode that consent to the basic principles
implying a withdrawal of Armenian forces from their current positions
may cause a riot among middle-echelon army officers. Some articles
have appeared in the Armenian press drawing parallels between the
possible fates of the presidents of Armenia and Karabakh and Yitzhak
Rabin, an Israeli leader who was assassinated in 1995 after over his
agreement to surrender lands.

Articles that have lately been published in the press and via online
social networks refer to the presence in Karabakh of factions ready
to prevent a possible handover of territories.

“Judging by the statements, the Armenian side has decided to follow
the path of concessions and intends to allow the deployment of
peacekeepers in Aghdam and Fizuli. According to a number of sources,
[Armenian Foreign Minister Edward] Nalbandyan held a meeting with
[Karabakh President] Bako Sahakyan and [Karabakh Prime Minister] Ara
Harutyunyan to discuss the issue of peacekeepers. But the Karabakh
officials stated they supported the status quo,” writes Lragir.

An article received from Karabakh and published in the paper claims
that the current course of negotiations was causing a deep indignation
among the public. “Underground groups have started developing a
strategy in case of such developments. Concessions in Kazan may become
a real bomb that will explode the society. This will make adjustments
to the rules of the game in Armenia and Artsakh and could threaten
the participants in the process of concessions,” the article asserted.

Perhaps it is such statements that the mediators urge the parties
to avoid, considering the threat of internal squabbles as a possible
deterrent for the presidents’ signing the basic principles.

At the same time, Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandyan as
well as Azerbaijan’s Deputy Foreign Minister Araz Azimov and the
Karabakh president’s spokesman David Babayan have cast doubts over
the prospect of the basic principles being agreed upon at the upcoming
summit in Kazan.

From: A. Papazian

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