Karabakh talks re­ceive new dy­nam­ics

Azer News - - Front Page - By Kamila Aliyeva

Ameeting of Azer­bai­jani Pres­i­dent Il­ham Aliyev and Ar­me­nian Prime Min­is­ter Nikol Pashinyan took place on the side­lines of the CIS sum­mit, held in Ta­jik­istan's cap­i­tal Dushanbe on Septem­ber 27.

The par­ties af­firmed their com­mit­ment to the process of ne­go­ti­a­tions on the set­tle­ment of the Ar­me­nia-Azer­bai­jan Nagorno-Karabakh con­flict and the strength­en­ing of the cease­fire regime for pre­vent­ing in­ci­dents on the line of con­tact and Ar­me­nia-Azer­bai­jan bor­der.

The sides de­cided to cre­ate mech­a­nisms for build­ing prompt con­tacts be­tween rel­e­vant au­thor­i­ties.

Azer­bai­jani Pres­i­dent Il­ham Aliyev vis­ited Dushanbe on Septem­ber 27 to take part in the meet­ing of the Coun­cil of CIS Heads of State, fol­low­ing which a num­ber of im­por­tant doc­u­ments were signed.

How­ever, Il­ham Aliyev’s con­ver­sa­tion with Pashinyan caused greater in­ter­est among re­gional ex­perts, in­ter­na­tional of­fi­cials and global com­mu­nity.

The re­cent meet­ing be­came a source of cer­tain pos­i­tiv­ity and re­gained faith that the ne­go­ti­a­tions on the set­tle­ment of the long-last­ing con­flict may finally bring re­sult.

In this re­gard, the Rus­sian For­eign Min­istry, com­ment­ing on this is­sue, said that the talks will con­trib­ute to the set­tle­ment of the Ar­me­nia-Azer­bai­jan Nagorno-Karabakh con­flict.

“Russia wel­comes any agree­ments aimed at achiev­ing set­tle­ment of the con­flict. We hope that the con­ver­sa­tion held in Dushanbe will con­trib­ute to the im­ple­men­ta­tion of this task,” the min­istry said.

For its part, Russia, as one of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs, is ready to pro­vide the nec­es­sary me­di­a­tion as­sis­tance to Azer­bai­jan and Ar­me­nia, the min­istry noted.

Many ex­perts be­lieve that these talks would con­trib­ute to the so­lu­tion of the Ar­me­nia-Azer­bai­jan Nagorno-Karabakh con­flict.

Pre­vi­ous state­ments of Ar­me­nian gov­ern­ment that the il­le­gal regime cre­ated in NagornoKarabakh should be di­rectly in­volved in the ne­go­ti­a­tions on the con­flict’s set­tle­ment, since Yere­van will only speak on be­half of Ar­me­nia, were quite harsh and undiplo­matic, since it is clear that Baku will never al­low representatives of the sep­a­ratist regime of Nagorno-Karabakh to sit at the ne­go­ti­at­ing ta­ble.

The most valu­able de­vel­op­ment which fol­lowed the meet­ing can be called the change in the rhetoric of Ar­me­nia.

Deputy Head of the For­eign Pol­icy Depart­ment of the Azer­bai­jani Pres­i­den­tial Ad­min­is­tra­tion Hik­mat Ha­jiyev noted that the fact that Pashinyan ini­ti­ated this con­ver­sa­tion once again shows that the for­mat of the ne­go­ti­a­tions re­mains un­changed, and ne­go­ti­a­tions are con­ducted only be­tween Ar­me­nia and Azer­bai­jan, which are par­ties to the con­flict.

“Within the frame­work of the same for­mat, in Septem­ber, meet­ings be­tween the for­eign min­is­ters of Ar­me­nia and Azer­bai­jan were held dur­ing the UN Gen­eral Assem­bly in New York, and in July in Brus­sels. We as­sess this pos­i­tively, and Azer­bai­jan is al­ways ready for con­struc­tive ne­go­ti­a­tions and con­tacts serv­ing the set­tle­ment of the Ar­me­nian-Azer­bai­jani con­flict. This once again demon­strates Azer­bai­jan’s com­mit­ment to the ex­ist­ing for­mat,” he said.

Mean­while, the for­eign min­is­ters of Azer­bai­jan and Ar­me­nia may hold a new meet­ing un­til the end of the year, the Ar­me­nian me­dia quoted spokesman of Ar­me­nia's For­eign Min­istry Ti­gran Balayan as say­ing on Oc­to­ber 2. This also shows re­newed in­ten­tion of Ar­me­nia to make a move to­wards con­flict res­o­lu­tion. Azer­bai­jan, for its part, has al­ways stood for con­struc­tive di­a­logue and early res­o­lu­tion of the con­flict based on the in­ter­na­tional prin­ci­ples.

Dur­ing the re­cent meet­ing, the sides ex­pressed com­mit­ment to ne­go­ti­ate a set­tle­ment of the con­flict, to strengthen the cease­fire regime in or­der to pre­vent in­ci­dents on the con­tact line of troops and on the bor­der be­tween Ar­me­nia and Azer­bai­jan. At the same time, the par­ties also de­cided to de­velop mech­a­nisms for es­tab­lish­ing op­er­a­tional com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween the rel­e­vant struc­tures.

These agree­ments should be viewed as a clear demon­stra­tion of the de­sire for over­all sta­bi­liza­tion in the Karabakh con­flict zone, which is ab­so­lutely nat­u­ral. De­spite the fact that this meet­ing was not of­fi­cial in na­ture and no agree­ments were signed or be­came oblig­a­tory for ex­e­cu­tion, there was care­ful op­ti­mism in the set­tle­ment process.

More­over, ex­actly these kinds of pos­i­tive per­sonal talks are es­sen­tial to re­vi­tal­iz­ing the ne­go­ti­a­tion process and serve as pre­req­ui­site to­ward even­tu­ally build­ing some de­gree of mu­tual trust.

The rhetoric of the Ar­me­nian leader has changed be­cause he un­der­stands that Baku with its mil­i­tary ca­pa­bil­i­ties can de­stroy the eu­pho­ria that pre­vails in Ar­me­nia to­day. In ad­di­tion, the de­mands to change the for­mat of talks has not re­ceived any in­ter­na­tional sup­port.

More­over, par­lia­men­tary elec­tion is soon to be held in Ar­me­nia. On the one hand, Pashinyan’s rad­i­cal state­ments could help him win the elec­tion, but on the other - they pre­vent the set­tle­ment of the con­flict.

For now, there is no other choice but to agree with the preser­va­tion of the for­mer for­mat of the ne­go­ti­a­tions.

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