Why did not Sargsyan and Aliyev Meet in Washington? Expert Opinion
30.03.2016
11:00
The United States of America would like surely to take the chance that Armenia’s President Serzh Sargsyan and Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev are in Washington and organise a meeting but it is clear that such a meeting will not take place.

Stepan Safaryan, Founder of the Armenian Institute of International and Security Affairs, said that the problem is Azerbaijan’s position as it does not want to restore the regular process of the negotiations.  Besides, it has criticized the OSCE Minsk Group Co-chairs recently, blaming them for making provocations.   

The Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents are in the USA these days to participate in the Summit on Nuclear Security in Washington. Though there was a possibility for their meeting in Washington, OSCE Minsk Group Co-chair from the USA James Warlick informed that Sargsyan-Aliyev meeting is not planned. “It’s clear why the USA does not announce about the meeting of the presidents as it was not possible to organise it. Baku refuses to restore the negotiation format and sharply criticizes the OSCE Minsk Group Co-chairs, mentioning as an example the negative statements of the co-chairs about the well-known anti-Armenian PACE resolutions,” he said. 

Stepan Safaryan and Deputy Director of Caucasus Institute and Political Scientist Sergey Minasyan took part in the discussion on “Tension on the Armenian-Azerbaijani Border and the Possible Sargsyan-Aliyev Meeting” at Media Center on March 30. 

Baku’s official complaints about the Minsk Group aim at a format change as in this case no proposal corresponds to the maximal promises of Azerbaijani Government. “Aliyev just cannot “sell” the Minsk Group proposals to its society,” Safaryan said, adding that Turkey also supports the change of the Mink Group.

Russia always tries to emphasize its own role in the co-chairs work format. “Russia does not claim the format change but it makes an alternative agenda and format through trilateral meetings (Russia-Armenia-Azerbaijan),” he said and added that Russia is interested in keeping the Minsk Group Format as it is a unique platform for the cooperation with the USA and EU. 

Sergey Minasyan said that there have been no significant changes in the resolution process of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict recently and Russia has always tried to have a leading role in the Minsk Group format. “At this moment this format of the co-chairs is one of the unique ones where there is a joint approach to at least some conceptual issues. They try to show that there is a platform where Russia, EU and the USA make joint statements and have joint approaches,” Minasyan said.

It has been quite a long time that before important meetings or international events there is an increase of tension in the Karabakh conflict zone. “It has its military and political logic for Baku. On the one hand all parties should react to incidents, on the other hand Azerbaijani previous statements and unjustified hopes made such a situation when it cannot stop. So, there is sometimes an increase of tension, ceasefire violations, human casualties which is the lesser evil but it is not favorable for the Armenian side,” Minasyan said. 

The influence of Russia’s military activity in Syria on the Karabakh conflict was also discussed. Minasyan thinks that the Georgian-Russian 5-day war in 2008 and Russia’s military reaction to the events in Syria strengthened the status quo in the Karabakh conflict zone. “Before the Syrian events there could be some assumptions that Karabakh conflict can be resolved by force and Russia would hardly get involved under the influence of western pressure and sanctions. But the Syrian military activities showed that in case of force majeure, Moscow is able to exercise its power in this region. If Russia made such a reaction in relatively distant Syria, then the concentration of forces is much more likely in the neighboring region. This factor strengthens the status quo,” he said.    

 

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