Karabakh con­flict re­mains at risk of surge of armed con­fronta­tion

Azer News - - Front Page - By Rashid Shiri­nov

The Ar­me­nia-Azer­bai­jan Nagorno-Karabakh con­flict al­ways passes through the points of ten­sion, which risk a surge of armed con­fronta­tion, Mikhail Neyzh­makov, an an­a­lyst in the Rus­sian Agency for Po­lit­i­cal and Eco­nomic Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, told Day.az on De­cem­ber 19.

The Ar­me­nia-Azer­bai­jan Nagorno-Karabakh con­flict al­ways passes through the points of ten­sion, which risk a surge of armed con­fronta­tion, Mikhail Neyzh­makov, an an­a­lyst in the Rus­sian Agency for Po­lit­i­cal and Eco­nomic Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, told Day.az on De­cem­ber 19.

One of the most se­ri­ous such points in 2017 was the ag­gra­va­tion of the sit­u­a­tion in the con­flict zone in early July amid the tragic death of a woman and a two-year-old girl from the Azer­bai­jani side, the ex­pert re­minded.

On July 4, the Ar­me­nian armed forces us­ing mor­tars and gre­nade launch­ers shelled the Alkhanli vil­lage of Azer­bai­jan’s Fuzuli re­gion, and as a re­sult, res­i­dents of the vil­lage Sahiba Guliyeva, and her grand­daugh­ter Zahra were killed.

“It be­came pos­si­ble to over­come the points of ten­sion in 2017 also for the rea­son that the par­ties them­selves were not in the mood for a large-scale con­flict un­der th­ese cir­cum­stances,” said Neyzh­makov, adding that even a small con­flict in Nagorno-Karabakh un­der th­ese con­di­tions would be ex­tremely un­prof­itable for their part­ners and al­lies.

The ex­pert also noted another as­pect of the Karabakh set­tle­ment, which is tra­di­tion­ally as­so­ci­ated with many in­flated ex­pec­ta­tions – th­ese are at­tempts to take steps to­wards a car­di­nal res­o­lu­tion of the con­flict.

“Equally tra­di­tion­ally th­ese ex­pec­ta­tions have not been ful­filled. In­ten­sive diplo­matic con­tacts do not al­ways mean a speedy re­sult, even an in­ter­me­di­ate one,” said Neyzh­makov.

It is note­wor­thy that rep­re­sen­ta­tives of in­volved pow­ers did not want to cre­ate in­flated ex­pec­ta­tions in the Karabakh is­sue. For in­stance, Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan noted in mid-Novem­ber this year that Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Putin has no high hopes on a speedy progress in the Karabakh is­sue. Some time later, Rus­sian For­eign Min­is­ter Sergey Lavrov said in Yere­van that the prob­lem is dif­fi­cult and the ne­go­ti­a­tions will not be com­pleted quickly.

Neyzh­makov be­lieves that in 2018, there will also be very sig­nif­i­cant fac­tors that will fur­ther im­pede progress in the Karabakh talks.

“The par­ties to the con­flict will be too “self-im­mersed,” and Syria, where some risk fac­tors are in­creas­ing, will con­tinue to at­tract at­ten­tion of im­por­tant for­eign pol­icy play­ers,” the ex­pert said. “Against this back­ground, in­ter­na­tional me­di­a­tors will pay less at­ten­tion to the Karabakh con­flict in 2018, although new ini­tia­tives in this di­rec­tion are not ruled out.”

The Nagorno-Karabakh con­flict be­gan in 1988 when Ar­me­nia made ter­ri­to­rial claims against Azer­bai­jan. As a re­sult of the en­su­ing war, in 1992 Ar­me­nian armed forces oc­cu­pied 20 per­cent of Azer­bai­jan, in­clud­ing the Nagorno-Karabakh re­gion and seven sur­round­ing re­gions. More than 20,000 Azer­bai­ja­nis were killed and over 1 mil­lion were dis­placed as a re­sult of the large-scale hos­til­i­ties. The 1994 cease­fire agree­ment was fol­lowed by peace ne­go­ti­a­tions.

Un­til now, Ar­me­nia con­trols fifth part of Azer­bai­jan’s ter­ri­tory and re­jects im­ple­ment­ing four UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil res­o­lu­tions on with­drawal of its armed forces from NagornoKarabakh and sur­round­ing dis­tricts.

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