Powers struggle in Armenia hinders peace negotiations with Azerbaijan - expert

17 September 2019 19:25 (UTC+04:00)

By Abdul Kerimkhanov

Armenian PM’s failure to consolidate power slows down peace negotiations with Azerbaijan, former co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group and diplomat Mathew Bryza has said.

“I am aware that Baku wants to move forward with Prime Minister Pashinyan over the regulation of [Nagorno-Karabakh] problem. However, there are constant doubts whether Pashinyan will be able to effectively consolidate his own political force, since the old system works against him – there is rivalry and pressure. For this reason, I believe that this has slowed down the progress [in resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict] and pressure is being exerted on Prime Minister Pashinyan,” Bryza said.

The diplomat recalled that the first president of Armenia Levon Ter-Petrosyan was close to making a peace deal with Azerbaijan back in 1999 but came under tremendous pressure, and was faced with Armenian Parliament shooting that took lives of eight people. Another attempt to disrupt peace negotiations happened in 2016 when Putin’s proposals with regards to peace negotiations were followed by the capture of police patrol regiment near Yerevan.

Commenting on Pashinyan’s attempts to make the separatist regime in the Nagorno-Karabakh a party in the negotiations process, Bryza said that Armenia cannot expect Azerbaijan make concessions while making no concessions itself.

“I think what Azerbaijan is trying to say is – ‘what shall we receive in exchange of doing what we don’t want to do?’. In another words, there is price that must be paid for this important step. But that is between the two sides,” Bryza said.

However, Bryza noted that some positive steps were taken towards the peace negotiations during the initial  period of Pashinyan’s tenure.

Bryza believes that the most significant progress in recent years was a statement made a few months ago by the parties to the conflict on preparing societies for peace and on confidence-building measures, as a result of ongoing negotiations over many months.

Earlier, Bryza said that the meeting held between Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan in Vienna, Austria on March 29 was a good sign, in terms of peace.

Bryza previously said that changing the negotiation format on Nagorno-Karabakh conflict would be unfair, as the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs reject Prime Minister Pashinyan's request for a change in format of the mediation process.

The Minsk Group’s Co-Chairs visit Nagorno-Karabakh region regularly to conduct high-level talks with the parties to the conflict, and hold meetings with the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and the Minsk Group members to brief them on the process.

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Abdul Kerimkhanov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AbdulKerim94 

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