Op-Ed from Yerevan: what to expect after the ceasefire in Karabakh
The October 10 negotiations between the foreign ministers of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia resulted in a ceasefire after 11 hours of talks – the longest in the last 20 years.
But what can we expect now going forward in Karabakh? How may events play out further? What does the balance of power look like at this moment, and what is the attitude of the world powers to this problem? Below an op-ed from Armenian political observer Naira Haryumyan:
“The Armenian public still perceives of the signing of the humanitarian armistice skeptically because of the continued shelling of settlements – even after 12:00, when the ceasefire had supposedly come into power. At the same time, rockets and weapons were used, which were not used anywhere else in the world. The public had the impression that the Azerbaijani side seeks to inflict even greater damage.
However, Azerbaijan’s use of these methods, sprinkled with disinformation and attempts to sow panic, is regarded as the authorities’ discomfort. They are forced to prepare for negotiations and signing difficult agreements.
Baku has always said that it is participating in negotiations for humane reasons, even though it could resolve the conflict by military means. Now the situation has changed – it was not possible to solve the problem by military means, and Baku again sits at the negotiating table.
Did the fact that Moscow felt a threat regarding the transfer of international terrorists and mercenaries to Azerbaijan play a role? Russian officials spoke openly about the threat, warning Baku of the consequences.
It is possible that it was Moscow’s warnings that played a role in persuading Baku to negotiate. France, in fact, didn’t manage to hold a meeting in Geneva – only the Azerbaijani foreign minister arrived.
The United States generally distanced itself from the problem at the level of President Trump, but stated that it would participate in negotiations as the OSCE Minsk Group co-chair.
France and the United States are now pursuing their main goal – preventing Turkey from becoming a ‘mediator’, so that the agreement does not result in another Russian-Turkish arrangement.
The current regional borders are drawn according to the 1921 Russian-Turkish treaty “on friendship and brotherhood,” and it is not unthinkable that Moscow and Ankara want to ‘go over’ this document on the 100th anniversary.
Paris and Washington should take part in the negotiations with the aim of preventing this and ensuring their participation in defining new borders in the region.
Given the ceasefire problem is resolved, the next stage will probably commence a discussion of guarantees of maintaining the ceasefire, and then the format of guarantees will matter – will it be peacekeepers of a separate country, say, Russia or the CSTO, or perhaps international monitoring mechanisms proposed by Paris and Washington?
This will determine who will become the guarantor of significant agreements in the future.