Armenian, Azerbaijani Foreign Ministers agree to ‘take measures to prepare people for peace’
The heads of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Armenia and Azerbaijan, Zohrab Mnatsakanyan and Elmar Mammadyarov, have agreed to take concrete measures to prepare the people of the two countries for peace.
The meeting was held in Paris, where the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs were also in attendance.
The fourth meeting of Mnatsakanyan and Mamedyarov
The meeting lasted for more than four hours. The official statement says that the ministers discussed a wide range of issues on the Karabakh conflict, and touched on the basic principles and parameters of the current stage of the negotiation process.
Together with the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Mnatsakanyan and Mammadyarov discussed steps to prepare a meeting of the leaders of the two countries.
Observers in Armenia do not expect a breakthrough
Observers in Armenia are reserved.
Political commentator Hakob Badalyan notes that the negotiation process on the settlement of the Karabakh conflict is based on the principle of consensus, but in the current situation this principle does not work:
“This problem has no compromise solution. This principle can only hope to control the problem. But to believe that there is a compromise solution is naive. Both countries perceive the problem as a question of statehood. A statement about the need to prepare nations for peace should be taken as a signal that the problem will not be solved in the near future.
“It can be interpreted as an intention to adapt the people to the situation that has developed now so that there are no illusions that a compromise solution can be achieved. And after the April War [speaking of hostilities on the line of contact in April 2016 —JAMnews], it became clear that steps had to be taken to reduce the tension. To ease the mutual antagonism.”
Experts in Azerbaijan are also cautious in their assessment
Azerbaijani experts agree that it is too early to talk about quick changes:
JAMnews political analyst Shahin Rzayev:
“Each side hopes that the opposite will take the first step, but it seems to me that it will not be taken in a hurry. The Azerbaijani side places certain hopes on the new government of Pashinyan, if only because there is no such aversion on the personal level, which was the case with the former negotiators from the Armenian side, and there is a certain hope for hypothetical assistance from Russia.
“The ministers chose a strange time for such a revelation. Indeed, February is the month of the peak of aggressive agitation on both sides. It is in February that the anniversaries of the tragic events in Sumgait and Khojali took place. But on the other hand, it may be a good thing – we will have the opportunity to actually assess the seriousness of the words of the ministers.
“The Armenian side, of course, is interested in reducing the revanchist rhetoric from Azerbaijan. But all this will be able to work only if the parties have a plan for concerted action, and this is hard to believe. Either the parties must act simultaneously and in stages, or nothing will happen. The first who takes a unilateral step will lose much in their local ratings, including the loss of power.”