Nagorny Karabakh: the first steps due to Moscow’s mediation26.01.2010 | 23:01
The first three-party meeting between the presidents of Azerbaijan, Russia and Armenia Ilham Aliyev, Dmitriy Medvedev and Serge Sargsyan was held in Sochi one of these days, where the participants discussed the peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. According to Head of the Russian MFA Sergey Lavrov, the preamble to the document on settling disputable issues between Baku and Yerevan has been agreed upon. GeorgiaTimes correspondent has talked to the Russian political analysts and experts about the prospects of settling the Nagorno-Karabakh problem.
Felix Stanevskiy, Head of the Caucasus Department of the CIS Countries Institute
The situation is developing but it cannot develop faster, for the issues are rather complicated; from the point of view of Azerbaijan and Armenia, they are related to safety problems. I believe there is a hope that things will move on a little bit faster soon. There is hardly a possibility that any decisive agreements might be achieved in the nearest future; still, the negotiating process has been lately gaining pace. There are definite achievements in the process.
The only thing that is clear now is that the preamble has been agreed upon, which is a good sign. This is actually a part of agreements fixed on paper. A preamble is a very important part of a document, no matter what one may think about it. It defines the essence of the document, as well as the basic directions of the intercommunication between the negotiating participants. The fact that this was announced by Head of MFA of Russia Sergey Lavrov speaks about Russia's efforts undertaken in this issue. The meeting in Sochi will definitely contribute to the problem settlement. Of course, the participants will tell us something but the very provisions of the agreements under such conditions will hardly be discussed in the media: this complicated process goes on in the diplomatic niche requiring privacy. Although the decisive achievement of these negotiations is not going to be announced right now, there are certain grounds to feel optimistic.
I do not think there is any reason to speak about the terms of settling the problem, for in the negotiations of such kind, where each point is important, difficulties may arise at any stage. They may be related to the interpretation of separate provisions and the agreements achieved. They are also related to the internal development of each country, the opinion of the opposition and so on.
Concessions made by Baku and Yerevan are currently in the stage of guessing. This is the most difficult point in the negotiating process. To define what kind of concessions Azerbaijan and Armenia are going to make means to set the line of negotiations.
The tension between our countries is possible. Sometimes we can hear speeches that excite the people in both countries, as well as in Russia. Up to the current moment, the parties have been able to follow the negotiating line without resorting to weapons. There could be minor confrontations at the borders but they never developed into any serious military actions, and I would like to hope that they will not. So far, there are no reasons to expect an armed conflict but we will see what the future brings.
Maxim Grigoriev, Director for Democracy Problems Investigation Foundation
Of course, there are certain prospects but I do not think that the problem can be settled immediately. As a rule, such issues are fixed not by immediate actions but via a long-time process implying the participation of mediator-countries. The fact that Russia has undertaken quite a difficult role of a mediator between the countries is very important, for these problems should be settled via mediation.
It is not easy to speak both about the terms and the settlement of the problem, for each of the parties sees its own way of solving the question. One should consider the interests of all the countries represented. Of course, one should also think about the territory itself, because the residents of the territory have formed a clear and definite idea of their own future and their functioning.
Speaking about the possible concessions, one can find a range of decisions but the issue requires rather a serious inner workout, including the agreements between the country elites.
I do not think that at present there is a possibility that the conflict will take the military form, which fact is mostly attributed to Russia's efforts. Moscow's actions in the territory of the CIS countries play a stabilizing role, thus, anyway, Moscow is responsible for the situation in the post-Soviet space, which means an effective solution of a number of issues. To the great extent, the issue of Nagorny Karabakh was also shifted into the negotiating sphere due to Russia's efforts.
Vladimir Pribylovskiy, President of Panorama Informational and Investigative Center
I believe there will be no prospects for settlement in the nearest future. The most favorable thing to expect is the non-resumption of hostilities. The final decision of the Karabakh issue is the problem of the far future and the ways of its settlement are absolutely unclear. It may happen that another war will break, or the parties will settle the conflict peacefully, though it will take time.