By Rashid Shirinov
Another meeting of the Azerbaijani and Armenian foreign ministers to discuss the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group will be held in Vienna on December 6. Some experts are awaiting the meeting in the hope that it will bring some progress in finding peace to the long-lasting conflict, while others are pessimistic on its results.
Russian historian and political analyst Oleg Kuznetsov does not expect anything fundamentally new and positive from this meeting.
“I can safely predict that the meeting of the foreign ministers will be reduced to a bravura demonstration of the allegedly new opportunities of Armenia in the negotiation process,” he told Azernews on December 5. "That is why I believe that the meeting will be neither constructive nor fruitful."
The meetings of Azerbaijani and Armenian foreign ministers and presidents on the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict have not yielded any serious progress so far due to the unconstructive position of Armenia on this issue. The Armenian government continues to play for time and avoids substantive negotiations in order to preserve the inadmissible status quo in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Last weekend’s visit of the Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan to Nagorno-Karabakh, where he met with the command of military units of the Armenian Armed Forces stationed in the occupied Azerbaijani lands and observed military exercises conducted there also deserves attention in the developments around the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Obviously, by this action, Yerevan has once again proved its reluctance to engage in serious talks to resolve the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict. Baku has repeatedly stated that existence of Armenian armed forces in Azerbaijan’s occupied territories prevents the settlement of the conflict and serves to intensifying the aggravation in the region.
Kuznetsov noted that Sargsyan does not pay attention to how the rest of humanity treats the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh, and therefore he, with a clear conscience, visited the exercises of the Armenian troops held there.
“After the battles in April 2016, when not a single native or resident of Nagorno-Karabakh was among the dead servicemen of the Armenian army (at least among the officially declared losses), the whole world realized that there is no fictional “Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army” in the conflict zone, but there are troops of the Armenian Armed Forces,” said Kuznetsov. “Therefore, it is not surprising that the Armenian president observes the exercises of his officers and soldiers in the territories that he considers his own.”
The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region 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. The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations.
Until now, Armenia controls fifth part of Azerbaijan’s territory and rejects implementing four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding districts.
Rashid Shirinov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @RashidShirinov
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