New plan for Karabakh conflict settlement â€˜impossibleâ€™: Russian political analyst
- 01 February 2017
It is impossible to propose a new plan for the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Nikolai Silaev, a political analyst, senior researcher at the Center for Regional Security and Caucasus Studies at the Moscow State Institute for International Relations (MGIMO) under the Russian Foreign Ministry, told APA’s Moscow correspondent on Wednesday.
There has always been a consensus between Russia and the US regarding the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Silaev said.
“It is questionable to what extent the new US presidential administration will focus on settlement of the conflict,” he said, noting that there was a consensus between Russia and the Obama administration as well.
“Even in the midst of the Ukrainian crisis, American diplomats clearly stated that they took the same approach as Russia regarding the Karabakh conflict,” Silaev said. “I see no reason yet for a change in the US’ approach towards the Karabakh conflict. Washington's approach can change only in case that the conflicting parties will take practical steps to solve the problem.”
According to him, the consensus that has been observed between Moscow and Washington in recent years is related to one issue.
“There is a deep disagreement between Russia and the US in regard to many conflicts and issues,” Silaev said, stressing that the Karabakh conflict is rare issue that Moscow and Washington demonstrate the same position.
“The reason is the lack of any progress in connection with the settlement of the conflict. The consensus between Moscow and Washington can be breached in case that serious steps will be taken to resolve the conflict, and the parties will reach an agreement,” he continued. “From a theoretical point of view, if the parties agree that peacekeepers be deployed in the region, at that time a new diplomatic configuration will be created taking into account the position of Iran and Turkey, the other regional countries. It is not known whether the consensus between Russia and the US continues or not. For now, it can be considered only from a theoretical point of view, as the conflicting parties are not going to take any step towards solving the problem.”
The political analyst also touched upon “Lavrov’s plan” on settlement of the conflict, which appeared following the April clashes last year.
“This plan was put forward in media, no officials confirmed it,” Silaev said, outlining several documents like the Madrid principles, the Kazan document on the settlement of the Karabakh conflict.
“Before and following the April fighting, the negotiations were conducted based on these documents. It is impossible to propose a new plan for the conflict’s settlement. All possible proposals have already been made in 23 years passed since the signing of the ceasefire agreement,” he added.
Silaev said Russia always reiterates that first of all the parties themselves have to agree, however, this does not mean that Russia favors the status quo.
“Moscow is in favor of settling the conflict. But Moscow cannot solve this issue for Baku and Yerevan. This problem can be solved based on the efforts and will of the parties,” he added.
The expert ruled out recurrence of violent clashes in Nagorno-Karabakh in the near future.
“I think incidents like the April fighting won’t happen in Nagorno-Karabakh in the near future. The April fighting was a rare case in an international context. However, there is no similar situation now. Unfortunately, the tension will remain on the contact line of troops. There are grounds to say that the situation in the conflict region continues to be alarming,” he concluded.
The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict entered its modern phase when the Armenian SRR made territorial claims against the Azerbaijani SSR in 1988.
A fierce war broke out between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan. As a result of the war, Armenian armed forces occupied some 20 percent of Azerbaijani territory which includes Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent districts (Lachin, Kalbajar, Aghdam, Fuzuli, Jabrayil, Gubadli and Zangilan), and over a million Azerbaijanis became refugees and internally displaced people.
The military operations finally came to an end when Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in Bishkek in 1994.
Dealing with the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is the OSCE Minsk Group, which was created after the meeting of the CSCE (OSCE after the Budapest summit held in Dec.1994) Ministerial Council in Helsinki on 24 March 1992. The Group’s members include Azerbaijan, Armenia, Russia, the United States, France, Italy, Germany, Turkey, Belarus, Finland and Sweden.
Besides, the OSCE Minsk Group has a co-chairmanship institution, comprised of Russian, the US and French co-chairs, which began operating in 1996.
Resolutions 822, 853, 874 and 884 of the UN Security Council, which were passed in short intervals in 1993, and other resolutions adopted by the UN General Assembly, PACE, OSCE, OIC, and other organizations require Armenia to unconditionally withdraw its troops from Nagorno-Karabakh.