Bishkek Protocol – A Hard Way To Peace


Friday, 02 May 2014 21:15

May 5th marks the 20th anniversary of signing the so-called Bishkek
Protocol in the Kyrgyz capital under the auspices of the CIS
Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (IPA). The importance of this document
is that it actually served a basis for the subsequent conclusion
of a ceasefire agreement in the Azerbaijani-Karabakh conflict zone,
which entered into force on May 12, 1994.

I must say, the way to “Bishkek” was not easy. To stop the bloodshed
in Karabakh Karabakh, great mediation efforts were undertaken,
including in the framework of the CSCE/OSCE, but due to the intractable
position of Azerbaijan, which hoped for a military solution to the
problem, they did not give any results. To be frank, it should be
noted that for suspending the active hostilities, great work was
conducted by Russia, in particular, within the framework of the CIS
Inter-parliamentary Assembly established in 1992. It was the CIS IPA
that organized a meeting of parliamentarians from Armenia, Azerbaijan
and Nagorno Karabakh in December 1993 in the Aland Islands (Finland)
in order to familiarize the parties with the experience in resolving
the ethno-political conflict between the Swedes and the Finns for its
possible use in the Karabakh settlement. There, an arrangement was
achieved on a meeting of the Parliaments heads of Armenia, Azerbaijan
and Nagorno-Karabakh in the capital of Kyrgyzstan.

Surely, in order that the meeting in Bishkek took place and the
initiative of the CIS IPA and the Russian mediator was implemented,
corresponding prerequisites were needed. By the time they had
emerged, primarily thanks to the decisive actions of the NKR armed
forces. As is known, the then President of Azerbaijan, Heydar Aliyev,
ignoring the numerous calls by international mediators for ceasefire
and hoping for a quick and final solution to the issue by force,
launched a large-scale offensive in winter 1993-1994 throughout the
Azerbaijani-Karabakh front. However, having suffered a crushing defeat
during the winter campaign, the Azerbaijani leadership, which was on
the verge of an acute internal political crisis and was facing the
prospect of losing more and more new areas, was itself forced to ask
for ceasefire.

It is important to emphasize that this period, the Azerbaijani
authorities appealed for ceasefire not only to the mediators, but also
to the leadership of the NKR. It is today that official Baku haughtily
declares the inadmissibility of Nagorno Karabakh’s participation in
the negotiations, considering direct contacts with it unacceptable for
Azerbaijan. We have to recall that when the situation on the front
developed extremely unfavorable for Azerbaijan, representatives of
its top political and military leadership, including President Heydar
Aliyev, had repeatedly appealed, in the written form, to the NKR
authorities for a meeting, hoping for the Karabakh party’s leniency.

Surely, the appearance of the Bishkek Protocol was conditioned by
several factors of both intra- and foreign policy characters. The
basic matter was, perhaps, that the parties to the conflict, albeit for
different motivations, were aimed at the establishment of cease-fire
and peace. To be frank, it should be noted that “Bishkek” followed the
April 15 Statement of the Council of the CIS Heads of State demanding
immediate ceasefire in Karabakh. The Bishkek Protocol, actually,
legalized the intention of the parties to follow the principles of
this Statement. It is no coincidence that the Protocol contains a
provision stating that the participants of the meeting in the capital
of Kyrgyzstan, “having supported the April 15, 1994 Statement of the
Council of the CIS Heads of State, expressed their readiness to fully
support the efforts of the heads and representatives of the executive
power to end the armed conflict and to eliminate its consequences
via the soonest conclusion of a corresponding agreement”. As already
noted, the ceasefire agreement was signed and entered into force on
May 12, 1994.

It is worth noting that the Bishkek Protocol had and has opponents
both at the Armenian and Azerbaijani parties. Certain part of the
Karabakh servicemen, in particular, Hero of Artsakh, Major General
Arkady Ter-Tadevosyan considers that in 1994, the NKR Defense Army
could smash the Azerbaijani Army still more, if the CIS leaders didn’t
convince the Armenian leadership to sign a ceasefire agreement.

The Azerbaijani opponents took the Bishkek Protocol, which bears the
signatures of the heads of Parliaments of Armenia, Azerbaijan and
Nagorno-Karabakh, as a threat of international recognition of the NKR.

Whatever it was, but today, thanks to the document signed in Bishkek
and to the next steps taken on its basis, peace, even if fragile, is
maintained in the Azerbaijani-Karabakh conflict zone. At least, for
the past twenty years no other document of the kind has been adopted,
which would facilitate the maintenance of peace in the region. Several
years ago, in an interview with the author of this, Karen Baburian,
whose signature as the head of the NKR Parliament stands under the
Bishkek Protocol, stressed that the document had usefully worked. “This
is almost the only document, for the elaboration of which Azerbaijan
sat at the negotiation table with Nagorno Karabakh. It should give up
its ambitions and sit with us at the negotiation table in order that
the parties move step by step towards signing a large-scale agreement
on the establishment of final peace”, said Karen Baburian.

On the example of the Bishkek Protocol, life has convincingly proved
that it is the full participation of all the parties to the conflict
in the negotiation process and the joint elaboration of a compromise
agreement that can ensure its efficiency.


Editor-in-Chief of Azat Artsakh newspaper–a-hard-way-to-peace&catid=3:all&Itemid=4