Opposition rallies in Yerevan drive country deeper into isolation
By Sabina Mammadli
Mass nationalism-driven protests demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan have spread across Armenia over the recent weeks.
It seems that the Armenian opposition is ready to take every step back to block the promised peace deal. By rejecting peace in the region, these protestors in Armenia practically demand a new war. What they fail to reason with is that the only way to the normalization of the regional situation is the signing of a peace treaty, as well as the recognition of Azerbaijan's territorial integrity.
Similarly, talking on the matter in an interview with Day.az, French historian, participant of the international conference "South Caucasus: Development and Cooperation" at ADA University on April 29, Maxime Gauin, noted that only in case abandoning revanchism and irredentism, Armenia will receive the economic benefits necessary for its development.
“President Ilham Aliyev's peace agenda is a rational approach to normalize relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia. I would even say that such an approach is the only guarantor of Armenia's existence. Otherwise, even wider isolation awaits Armenia and the country would be overwhelmed by hemorrhagic emigration, which would make the country disappear from the world map,” the historian said.
Citing the words of ex-President Robert Kocharyan who claims that after the normalization of relations with Azerbaijan and Turkey, Armenia will be economically dependent on these countries, Gauin points out that Armenia has never had economic sovereignty.
Further, the Frenchman reported that Armenia was created as a barrier between Azerbaijanis and Turks and existed as a nominally independent state from 1991 to 2020 as such a barrier.
He added that all countries in the region have a huge benefit from interacting with each other, whereas Armenia continues to be in senseless self-isolation.
EU replaces Minsk Group
Tracking the normalization of the ties between the parties, one can not overlook the shift between the failed Minsk Group to the current tangible presence of the European Union.
According to President Ilham Aliyev, the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict has never been part of the agenda between Azerbaijan and the European Union, because the Minsk Group dealt with it. He also noted that today everything has changed.
Commenting on the president’s speech, Associate Professor at the University of Malmö (Sweden) Kamal Makili-Aliyev noted that the EU is expected to strengthen its mediation.
Similarly, he noted that today the EU has a great advantage in terms of the negotiations process and mediation, mainly because the OSCE Minsk Group has always stood in its way.
“There was a kind of gentlemen's agreement with the OSCE that only the Minsk Group was involved in the conflict, so the EU could not actively participate in the process. But as soon as the OSCE Minsk Group ceased to exist de facto, the EU immediately became more active,” he specified.
The professor noted that the change of realities gave the opportunity for Europe to build relations with Azerbaijan separately from relations with Armenia.
The new realities have indeed been accepted in the region, which can be felt in the intensification of relations between Azerbaijan and the European Union.
At the initiative of European Council President Charles Michel, trilateral meetings with the participation of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan were held in December 2021 and April 2022.
The final communiqué issued in Brussels on April 6 did not include the term “Nagorno-Karabakh”, “conflict” and “the Minsk Group”, which is quite natural and is clear evidence that the European Union has accepted the realities of the post-conflict period.
The speech of President Ilham Aliyev at ADA University was very significant and put an end to the internal and external agenda, Azerbaijani political pundit, head of the South Caucasus Club of Political Experts, Ilgar Valizada said.
Valizada noted that talking about support of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, Azerbaijan makes it clear that we have always wanted other states to take the same position towards us.
The pundit noted that such a tough and purposeful policy of the leadership of Azerbaijan in the issue of the return of the territories occupied by Armenia forced the states that vaguely formulate their position towards us to recognize the realities that have always existed. Namely, that Karabakh is Azerbaijan, the territories of Azerbaijan cannot be a subject for speculation, and the inviolability of our borders cannot be questioned.
"At a meeting with foreign experts, the president once again emphasized our country's support for the territorial integrity of Ukraine, as well as Moldova and Georgia. Azerbaijan does not recognize artificial formations created in the territories of these countries. But for the future, our foreign partners should not forget that separatism cannot be good in one case, bad in another,” he noted.