Karabakh peace settlement formula

Vestnik Kavkaza, Russia
May 28 2012

Karabakh peace settlement formula

By Alexei Vlasov, exclusively to VK

Experts participating in the discussion on the possible ways to settle
the Nagorno-Karabakh have recently returned to the formula `territory
in exchange for access to the regional energy and infrastructure
projects’. The conflict resolving potential of this formula is being
reevaluated.

There is no doubt that the formula could be used as one of the
components of the negotiation process: in this case each party gets a
certain compensation for the inevitable concessions. So this pragmatic
formula could help all the participants of the negotiation to `save
face’, and it is important mostly for the Armenian side, as any
territorial concessions would mean a revision of the Karabakh war
results for Yerevan.

According to the Russian and EU experts, there is a certain progress
in the Armenia-Karabakh-Azerbaijan dialog, even though not on the
official level. However, in the recent year and a half the experts who
suggest possible ways of the conflict resolution have achieved a
certain progress.

However, today’s level of trust is still insufficient to implement
these new initiatives. And it might take quite a while before the
experts’ ideas would be taken up by the governments. And of course, a
long and careful preparation of the public opinion to these new
decisive steps should take place first.

Of course, the home politics context is of great importance. Any
compromise in the matters of the Azeri-Armenian elections could weaken
Serge Sarksyan’s authority. And there’s yet another issue: the topics
of Nagorno-Karabakh and of Armenian genocide are sort of cementing
ideas for the world’s Armenian diaspora. And if official Yerevan
renounces at least one of these components, it could cause serious
difficulties in its relations between the Armenian political elite and
the diaspora.

And there’s the third thing: how will the reconciliation process (if
it was to start) influence Armenia’s relations with Russia? For today,
the answer to this question is vague at best. So the experts should
also pay more attention to this topic, and any of the Russian or the
EU expert public forums could be used for that. The information
background of the conflict in general should also be changes, and the
first issue here is the issue of trust. Of course, the presence of
economic stimulus is not enough to bring the positions of the two
parties closer together, but with time and with improvement of the
information background the realization of the experts’ ideas id quite
possible.

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