Possible war in Karabakh fraught with disastrous outcome for Baku

The Helsinki Act of 1975, which Baku so enthusiastically refers to every now and then, proved to be a complete failure in the new environment, and to rely on it in the settlement of various conflicts simply results in an unending settlement process.

A bad example is always infectious, and so is an unsuccessful move in politics. Unable to reach a victory in Libya, after the Kazan meeting France made an attempt to push Russia out of the Karabakh conflict regulation process. In his interview to the radio station “Ekho Moskvy” French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé said additional proposals would be made to Armenia and Azerbaijan for the settlement of Nagorno Karabakh conflict. “France welcomes the efforts of Russia and the Russian President towards resolving the conflict, but, unfortunately, the meeting in Kazan proved unproductive,” he said.

PanARMENIAN.Net - Alain Juppé knows it perfectly well that no new proposals on Karabakh can ever be made, for the simple reason that either Armenia or Azerbaijan would find an excuse not to accept them. It’s not that the parties do not want to listen to each other, simply they speak different languages. Besides, Armenia has no right to sign any document without the consent of the NKR authorities. As long as the settlement is based on two mutually exclusive principles - namely, the principle of territorial integrity and the principle of self-determination - no agreement can ever be reached. And the mediators have nothing else to offer for the present. The Helsinki Act of 1975, which Baku so enthusiastically refers to every now and then, proved to be a complete failure in the new environment, and to rely on it in the settlement of various conflicts simply results in an unending settlement process. All the interested parties are aware of this. The co-chairs think it their duty to prevent war, but even that is already challenging. Baku is “hungry” for revenge before the presidential election. The same applies to the presidents of the USA, France and Russia. However, desire and realization are two different things. On the other hand, there are optimists who still believe that something will occur in the year 2012. This resembles the situation with the ratification of the Armenian-Turkish Protocols on normalization of relations: for some reason, some experts were convinced that after the election of June 12, 2011 Armenian-Turkish relations would once again come on the agenda of the newly elected Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM). However, they remained lying in an unknown committee of the Turkish parliament.

“The presidents’ meeting in Kazan should be considered a regular phase in the negotiation process, and not a final one. Russia will not abandon the negotiation process on Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, as she herself is interested in secure South Caucasus. In my opinion, Azerbaijan and Armenia cannot agree on a sequence of implementing the Madrid principles, but by the year 2012 the negotiation process will have entered a rewarding phase,” said Editor-in-Chief of the news agency “Vestnik Kavkaza”, Alexey Vlasov. You might as well indicate any other year, no difference. There exists also a conviction that the conflict shall be resolved in 2026 when, according to some experts, Baku will run out of oil. In short, estimation of the ending date of negotiations is like guesswork.

It is quite credible that France is really eager to resolve the prolonged conflict, which is impossible to regulate on the above-mentioned principles. But hardly will she succeed. Nicolas Sarkozy has less leverage on Armenia and Azerbaijan than Medvedev or Obama. The aspiration of Paris to play the role of a world power is not, in this case, supported by any action aimed at improving the situation. The Armenian side is not going to return the blood-conquered territories, without which Nagorno-Karabakh would simply cease to exist. As for Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, he will never agree to self-determination.

Meanwhile, the number of people wishing to settle the Karabakh conflict is growing. Iran, that has long remained in the shade, announced via parliament speaker Ali Larijani that OSCE Minsk Group efforts did not result in Nagorno Karabakh conflict settlement, therefore the regional countries, particularly Iran, should get involved into the process. “Nagorno-Karabakh conflict should be resolved within a regional formula,” Larijani said in Baku.

If you listen to Baku, it appears that the whole world is eager to resolve the Karabakh conflict, except for Armenia, which for some reason is reluctant to part with her own territory only to please the whims of President Aliyev. The Kazan meeting proved this in the best way possible. As for France, after the mandatory approvals from other co-chair countries (Russia and U.S.) nothing will be left from the new French proposals. And the proof of this was the latest meeting of the Russian President with Ilham Aliyev in Sochi, where the presidents agreed to “continue the talks”. Medvedev, beyond doubt, reminded Aliyev about Mikheil Saakashvili’s adventure in August 2008, and the Azeri President definitely got the hint.

Karine Ter-Sahakyan
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