By Rashid Shirinov
The long-standing Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has once again got into the spotlight of Russia – one of the three co-chair countries of the OSCE Minsk Group designed to find a peaceful settlement to the problem.
In his statement on April 9, Russian FM Sergey Lavrov noted that the parties to the conflict need to abandon their distrust of each other in order to advance in the negotiations, and to use the achievements of the Kazan summit in 2011.
Vladimir Lepekhin, Director General of the Institute of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), commented on Lavrov’s statement, saying that, in general, he shares the FM’s opinion, but it is necessary to pay attention to an important nuance.
“In my opinion, the provisions of the Kazan document are outdated, and now it is not 2011 or even 2017. The region is at the stage of a “planetary explosion.” Therefore, Russia’s position today should be more certain,” Lepekhin told Day.az.
He noted that the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict depends on the positions of the three presidents – of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia.
“However, the assistance of regional powers is also necessary for the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. It is they who can contribute to the formation of a constructive dialogue between the parties, bring Azerbaijan and Armenia to a dialogue,” the political scientist mentioned.
He said it is necessary to choose the option of settling the conflict that will bring peace and stability to the region, and that regional powers will be more beneficial in resolving the conflict than external mediators.
Armenia broke out a lengthy war against Azerbaijan by laying territorial claims on the country. Since a war in the early 1990s, Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan's territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh 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.
To this day, Armenia has not implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding regions.
Due to the reluctance of the Armenian side in the Kazan summit, breakthrough in negotiations was not achieved, since the Armenian troops were not withdrawn from the occupied territories in return for a gradual solution to the conflict.
Another famous Russian political scientist Dmitry Rodionov noted in his interview with Day.az that Russia’s position is to maintain peace in the region and prevent bloodshed from both sides. The expert noted that Russia cannot be on anyone’s side in this conflict, and the country is interested in cooperation with both sides.
“Armenia is a member of the EAEU and CSTO, while Azerbaijan is Russia’s strategic partner. In this context, Moscow is extremely interested in preventing any war in the South Caucasus,” Rodionov said.
The political scientist mentioned that the rejection of mutual distrust is the first and very important step without which there will be no progress.
“In the current reality, this is the only way to avoid escalation, and today this is a strategic goal for all,” he said. “The final consensus is possible if it is possible to maintain a long-term lasting peace. Then there is a hope that some way out of this situation will be found in the future.”
In conclusion, Rodionov drew attention to the fact that constructive proposals and experience of previous meetings and negotiations indeed exist today and they can and should be used, as Lavrov recalled.
Rashid Shirinov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @RashidShirinov
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