Settlement Is Impossible Without Direct Participation of Nagorno Karabakh

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Ambassador Vladimir Kazimirov–who had occupied the post of the representative of Russia to the OSCE Minsk Group from 1992-1996–thinks that the negotiations of the Deputy Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Armenia and Azerbaijan–which will be held in Prague on May 13–don’t have any prospects. The negotiations–according to him–are unlikely to bring to anything if almost 20 meetings of presidents didn’t give a desirable result. "It will be impossible to enter the finish line of settlement without direct participation of Nagorno Karabakh. Don’t forget that an agreement on stopping fire was signed for the three," mentioned the ambassador.

According to him–Baku assumed the sharp position of non-recognition of Karabakh as a conflicting side–and because of this many rounds of negotiations consisted not in the discussion of existing problems but in a procedural squabble and propaganda discussions.

During an international conference dedicated to regional problems Kazimirov also covered in his speech the issue of a scheme of the settlement of the conflict. According to him–both available schemes of the package and stage-by-stage settlement "will not work and can raise either internal political convulsions from this or that side or resume military operations."

According to Kazimirov–the only productive method of the settlement of the Karabakh conflict should consist in combining elemen’s of both package and stage-by-stage approaches. Instead of this "unliftable and big package" Kazimirov proposes small packages in the sense of the balance of the sides’ interests–in order that each side at each stage "even little-by-little but received something from its deman’s." According to the Russian diplomat–this schemes against the two existing ones will make it possible to decrease tension.

Answering the question "Why doesn’t a side condemn Armenia as an aggressor?" Ambassador Kazimirov mentioned: "The Azeri authorities judge by the results of military operations–not by appearance and not by the course of military operations. They judge by the occupation of the Azeri territories but–according to this logic–the USSR will be an aggressor against Nazi Germany–for it seizes Berlin." According to Kazimirov–it is the Azeri side that was primarily more involved in using the force. And the Azeri side more persisted in the continuation of military operations than Armenia’s "that’s why the wording that Armenia’s are aggressors doesn’t work."

Kazimirov said that the state of affairs of the Karabakh conflict settlement is directly projected on the situation in the region and resumption of military activity would be the collapse of the entire South Caucasus. According to him–despite great difficulties–a settlement of conflict is still possible.

In his speech at the international conference in Yerevan devoted to regional problems–Kazimirov said that however disappointing it were for Armenia–Azerbaijan and Nagorno Karabakh–eventually it does not matter for the international community on what bases the conflicting sides are going to come to terms. He said the most important thing is that there should not be war. According to him–the continuing tension in this region is because of the unresolvedness of the Karabakh conflict–and the internal political shocks in Armenia or Azerbaijan are not necessary for the international community. "No matter how the sides agree–the international community will be glad that they have come to terms," he said.

According to Kazimirov–on the way towards the settlement there are numerous objective and subjective difficulties. Among objective obstacles there are many problems in the legal sphere. Legal aspects–according to Kazimirov–are very intricate–for the international community takes the newly formed states in the Transcaucasus in accordance with the borders that existed within the framework of the USSR. However–the processes that are happening in one state or another should have priority importance in relation to international recognition–which is an external factor.

Another important problem on the way towards the peaceful settlement of the Karabakh conflict–he says–is the sides’ bilateral mistrust. The measure of fierceness of the conflict was high. In no other conflict there was such a scope of offensive "ousting" with civilian combats. The communities do not feel like making compromises–and the leaderships of the conflicting sides are largely to blame in this–Kazimirov said.

The set of subjective difficulties includes maximalist–mutually excluding deman’s of the sides regarding the status and security of Nagorno Karabakh–such as Baku’s not wishing to grant broad autonomy to Karabakh–which is offered only verbally.

In Kazimirov’s opinion–there are also omissions in the negotiating culture such as the mutual obstinacy of the sides and their being not ready for strenuous search for compromises.

Making a thorough analysis of the reasons that caused the conflict–Kazimirov also argued that none of the floated regulation options–the so-called stage by stage and package ones will bring an end to the conflict. "The package option is the ideal one given only that both conflicting sides would be able to achieve it–which I think is not feasible," Kazimirov said–describing the other option–supported by Azerbaijan as "forgery," which is not at all a stage by stage option.

Kazimirov went on to argue that the more than a decade long opposition between the two neighbor nations could be solved only on the basis of a new approach that would involve components of the two options. "Instead of a one and big package there should be many small packages for each stage of the movement towards progress to secure the balance of approaches and interests of the sides–so that at each stage each of them could feel though a little but a tangible achievement," he said.

That kind of small progresses would in the end help reduce the amount of disagreemen’s–ease the tension and build a comprehensive peace plan. In the event of agreeing to small reciprocal compromises they would not raise waves of discontent with the authorities ensuring domestic stability in both Armenia and Azerbaijan," he said.

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