Karabakh talks receive new dynamics
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.