Source. Regnum.ru, 29.10.2008
The inaugural address of Ilham Aliev, President of Azerbaijan, reiterates that Azerbaijan’s stance on the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict remains unchanged, Dr Armen Ayvazyan, Head of the ARARAT Center for Strategic Research told a REGNUM correspondent.
Dr Ayvazyan noted that Baku rules out, even in theory, the possibility for reasonable compromise with the Armenian side regarding not only the question of territories, but also the future status of Nagorno-Karabakh. “As a matter of fact, the Armenian side is dealing with nothing less than Baku’s demand for total and unconditional surrender of Armenia.” This uncompromising stance of Azerbaijan completely undermines the current negotiation process, making it a common farce, which in the future will beget nothing but a full-scale war,” Dr Ayvazyan stresses.
He noted that the Armenian side continues to invoke the “Madrid agreements,” which mention the right of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh to self-determination. “Yet, the right to self-determination may be defined in various ways. De jure, the now defunct Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast was also a form of self-determination: Nevertheless, it was unable to ensure the physical, demographic or cultural security of the Karabakh Armenians.” Dr Ayvazyan further noted that if the parties to the conflict interpret the very fundamental provisions of their agreements differently, then those “agreements” as well as the negotiations that lead to them have no value whatsoever. “After all, with many different interpretations in place, the interpretation that will be implemented will be the one which the stronger side of the conflict forces upon the weaker, in accordance with the ‘might decides right’ principle. Whereas surrender of territories in the meantime will radically decrease the defensibility of the Armenian side,” says the expert.
In Dr Ayvazyan’s opinion, “at a time when Azerbaijan is airing ultimatums, it is suicidal for the Armenian side to make any compromises, especially to concede land — the utmost component of its military security. In this context, the diplomatic overtures by high-ranking Armenian officials towards Azerbaijan and its ally Turkey, are not serious, to say the least. Such unreciprocated pleasantries only mislead the Armenian public.
The expert highlights that Armenia’s stance lacks precisely that clarity which is explicit in Azerbaijan’s position on the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. “Complementary policy, no less inherent in the Azerbaijani foreign policy than in the Armenian one, succeeds only because it clearly draws the line beyond which no compromise is acceptable. This enables Baku to put constant pressure on Armenia and, at the same time, protects her from the pressure and criticism of the mediators and other third parties,” he explains. “As for the current intensive debate in the press about possible scenarios of how the events may unfold in light of the so called ‘pressures’ by Russia on Armenia, this is very much akin to fortune-telling: they torture themselves with the question ‘will they or will they not cede’? This attitude is especially evident in the commentary about the remarks of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who suggested the ceding of liberated territory, which serves as a security/buffer zone around NKR,” argues Dr Ayvazyan.
Ayvazyan believes that the number of unknowns in the Russian initiative does not give Yerevan or Baku, and even more so the expert community, any grounds for making far-reaching conclusions. “There is no doubt Russia is trying to make a diplomatic leap into the former Transcaucasus, and it is possible that Russia wants to achieve this by partly sacrificing the interests of Armenia’s military security.” But the expert notes that even this Russian scenario, if it really consists of surrendering territories and deploying Russian peacekeepers in and around Karabakh, would not satisfy the ambitions of Azerbaijan. The latter will hardly agree to the presence of Russian military bases on the Nagorno-Karabakh territory, especially when considering the fate of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. “Such scenario cannot be accepted by the Armenian side either. And in this particular case — namely in this life and death issue — the party to the conflict is not the Armenian government, but all Armenian people,” he noted.
Ayvazyan does not exclude other scenarios as well. “It is possible that an entirely different combination is being laid out by the Kremlin — namely a bluff intended to grab first place in the new game for dominance in the Transcaucasus. A similar short-lived bluff is the Turkish initiative for Caucasus Stability and Security Platform, which, though it has no chance of fruition, is already yielding dividends to Turkey, the initiating side,” Ayvazyan explains.
The expert deduces that the only somber conclusion that can be made in regard to the current peace talks is that the Karabakh conflict cannot be resolved through negotiations. “A peaceful settlement of the conflict could only imply preservation of the status-quo solidified in a legal form, because all other scenarios will imply resumption of war, with unforeseen consequences for the parties to the conflict as well as to the region at large.” Ayvazyan believes that in the current situation the Armenian leadership should focus its attention not so much on the external processes that defy reliable medium-term forecasts, but on strategic constants of security — such as strengthening the army, utilizing the liberated territory, building effective state institutions, and launching a demographic policy focused on mass repatriation of Armenians.
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Կայքի մոդերատորներն իրավունք ունեն հեռացնելու այն գրառումները, որոնք պարունակում են անձնական վիրավորանքներ, բռնության կոչեր, թեմայից դուրս գրառումներ, գովազդային նյութեր։ Նաև չի խրախուսվում շատախոսությունը (flood):
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