“Sargsyan-Aliyev Geneva Meeting: Assessments and Forecasts”
After a pause of a year and a half, the meeting between Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev took place in Geneva on October 16.

After the meeting, the Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan and the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs made a joint statement, in which the outcomes of the talks were specifically mentioned. 

“The Presidents agreed to take measures to intensify the negotiation process and to take additional steps to reduce tensions on the Line of Contact.”

After the talks with Aliyev, during the meeting with representatives of the Armenian community in Switzerland, Serzh Sargsyan spoke specifically about the negotiations.  

“We have no concrete agreements on variants of resolving the problem. But we agreed to take measures to further ease tensions so that we have no casualties on the frontlines. I must say that both the president of Azerbaijan and I are deeply interested in that. God willing, Aliyev will always think so.”

After the Geneva talks, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Artsakh issued a statement, in which the introduction of the mechanism of investigation of border incidents was an important precondition for improving the effectiveness of the negotiations.

“We are convinced that the strict adherence to the agreements of 1994 and 1995, as well as the realization of the earlier-reached agreements are necessary in the negotiation process. They mainly refer to the implementation of investigation mechanisms on the line of contact, as well as the expansion of the Office of Personal Representative of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Chairperson-in-Office and the enhancement of its monitoring capacities.”

During the discussion entitled “Sargsyan-Aliyev Geneva Meeting: Assessments and Forecasts” at Media Center on October 17, Stepan Margaryan, Member of “Alternative Projects Group”, mentions that nobody except the presidents of the two countries does not know what specific issues were discussed during the negotiations but he thinks that the issue of border security was touched upon.

“Aliyev naturally wanted to move the negotiations in another direction. Certainly, the whole fight goes around the change of the status quo. Azerbaijan benefits from it, Armenia – not yet. Aliyev is against Vienna and Saint Petersburg agreements because if the normal monitoring process begins, the status quo will maintain in favor of Armenia. Their point of view is the following: quick settlement or we will not agree to any monitoring, the maintenance of any status quo.”

Arman Navasardyan, RA Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, believes that the fact of the meeting itself is positive because the presence of negotiations and meetings is much better than their absence. Touching upon the process and content of the negotiations, Navasardyan says Aliyev's statement that Armenia is negotiating without preconditions, is a diplomatic bluff. 

“He knows very well that there is no negotiation without preconditions and without conditions. If this is not even announced, what else are they doing there? Drinking coffee? There are definitely conditions, preconditions, conflict situations, tough approach,” Nvasardyan said. 

Hakob Badalyan, Political Commentator, referring to the prospect of changing the status quo, expressed conviction that the April war of 2016 showed that any process based on the change of the status quo cannot lead to any other place apart from a new war or a deadlock. The latter thinks that the mediator countries are well aware of this and they have no illusions in that respect.

“Therefore, there is no problem of changing the status quo, on the contrary, there is currently a problem of formulating a new political format or formula for maintaining the status quo, by which it will be possible to maintain stability.”

Van Harutyunyan, Expert at “The Armenian Interest”, considers that despite the generally positive responses that followed after the meeting, the silence on the border is temporary.

“As you know, in 2018, Presidential elections will be held in Azerbaijan, serious internal political processes will take place in Armenia too, presidential elections in Russia are expected, and this silence is necessary for the leaders of these countries to focus their attention on domestic issues. At this stage, nobody is interested in changing the status quo.”

Tigran Grigoryan, Political Scientist who joined the event via video call from Stepanakert, assessing the results of the Geneva meeting, notes that it was the next defeat of the Armenian side.

“After the war in April, a situation was created when the OSCE Minsk Group co-chair countries imposed mechanisms that would allow mitigating and controlling the escalation in the conflict zone. The Armenian side, under the leadership of Serzh Sargsyan, has repeatedly stated that no content negotiations will take place unless Azerbaijan agrees with its commitments. However, negotiations were held and as a result, a statement was adopted, in which nothing was mentioned about Vienna or St. Petersburg agreements.” 

Derenik Malkhasyan, editor/events coordinator at “Media Center”

To contact the author please send an email to derenikmalkhasian@gmail.com.

To watch the video, follow the link.  


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