APPROACHING BAKU AND YEREVAN POSITIONS
July 26 2012
Alexei Vlasov. Exclusively to VK
Foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan will meet to discuss
settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in September within opening
of the UN General Assembly session in New York. The foreign minister
of Azerbaijan, Elmar Mamedyarov, stated that ahead of the meeting
co-chairmen of the OSCE Minsk Group should have talks with foreign
ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia. The Minsk Group is acting for 20
years, but no serious results have been achieved. At the same time, a
bad peace is better than a good war, and peace can be maintained only
by consolidated efforts. Meanwhile, as France recognized “Armenian
genocide,” Baku considers if Francois Hollande continues Nicolas
Sarkozy’s line, the question on possible change of the Minsk Group
format will be posed.
A peace has to be found in the current composition of participants.
Another question is whether political elites of Armenia and Azerbaijan
are ready to step forward to each other in searching for a compromise.
It is very doubtful. Variants of development of social dialogue,
civil society and inter-community contacts at the level of Azeri
and Armenian communities of Nagorno-Karabakh follow from it. Today
neither Armenia nor Azerbaijan is ready to state on possibility of
a compromise, alas, because society wouldn’t support the political
forces that would say “we are ready to change our initial positions.”
This situation makes Ilham Aliyev and Serge Sargsyan maintan strict
positions, and it corners mediators. Any format of settlement of the
Nagorno-Karabakh problem is impossible without Baku and Yerevan’s will.
Nevertheless, a tense situation has been formed at the line of
separation Armenian and Azerbaijani troops in recent months.
Therefore, a tactic task of the mediators is not proposal of a real
plan of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict’s settlement, but prevention
of escalation of tension around Nagorno-Karabakh and peaceful process
of contacts between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Meanwhile, Armenia and Azerbaijan will experience presidential
elections. It seems 2013 will be a hard year: provocations and attempts
of influencing elections in Armenia and Azerbaijan by foreign forces
will take place. Russia, in contrary, is interested in settlement of
the conflict through preservation of stability both in Armenia and
Azerbaijan, but hardly everybody shares this position.
Apparently Ilham Aliyev will win in Azerbaijan. But he will have a
new mandate of trust and opportunity to settle problems suggesting
new variants of peace. Maybe in 2013 the issue will find progress
due to mediation of Russia and other participants of the Minsk Group.
At the moment the main objective of mediators is improvement of
monitoring reports on ceasing armed clashes on the line of separation
of Armenian and Azerbaijani military forces. The OSCE officials
emphasized it during their recent visit to the South Caucasus.
Secondly, communication between civil societies of Armenia and
Azerbaijan should be intensified.
Thirdly, the problem of the regions which have never been
Nagorno-Karabakh and belong to Azerbaijan should be settled. Seven
regions of Azerbaijan occupied by Armenia are controlled by the
Armenian army. Azerbaijan in its turn should solve the problem of
non-use of force in settlement of the conflict.
These issues are a stumbling stone in mediation efforts around the
Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. If they are managed to be solved, the
Nagorno-Karabakh problem will have a chance to be settled according
to the Madrid principles, step by step.