Op-ed: will Russian peacekeepers leave Karabakh?
Russian peacekeepers in Karabakh
Russian peacekeepers are stationed in Karabakh for a period of 5 years. This was stated in a trilateral agreement of November 10, 2020, which put an end to the second Karabakh war. However, there are serious doubts in the expert community of Azerbaijan about the withdrawal of Russian troops from Karabakh after this term ends.
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Azer Gasimly: “Turkish military bases should be located in Karabakh”
“Russia demands written guarantees from NATO, led by the United States, regarding its security. But Russia itself does not want to give the same security guarantees to neighboring countries” said Azerbaijani opposition politician and head of the Institute of Political Management Azer Gasimly.
According to the expert, the Kremlin’s efforts to discuss issues of security, sovereignty and territorial integrity not with the post-Soviet countries themselves, but with third parties can be regarded as an attempt to divide the world into spheres of interest.
“Russia should give written guarantees about the security of Azerbaijan. First of all, Moscow must recognize the territorial integrity of our country, including Nagorno-Karabakh, withdraw its “peacekeeping contingent” from Karabakh and not interfere in our internal affairs.
If it takes such steps, then Azerbaijan can guarantee that it will not join NATO and will not to place Turkish military bases on its territory. The participation of Turkey in the preparation of such a document is an important condition.
But it is perfectly clear that Russia, which does not give any guarantees for our security and territorial integrity, and discusses these issues not with us, but with third parties, will not want to withdraw from Nagorno-Karabakh.
We also do not have enough military force and political power to drive Russia out by force.
In other words, if we do not receive such guarantees, we must expand cooperation with NATO, raise the issue of membership in the alliance in the future, and agree on the deployment of Turkish military bases, primarily in Shusha and Hadrut.
I have no expectations in this respect from Aliyev’s government. This can only be done by a democratic government and politicians who have no ties to the Soviet elite”, he said.
Shahin Jafarli: “This is a violation of the Constitution”
Political scientist Shahin Jafarli commented on the statement of the official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova regarding the diplomatic scandal between Azerbaijan and France.
Reacting to the words of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev that the Azerbaijani side fully controls the Lachin corridor, the press secretary of the Russian Foreign Ministry noted that the peacekeeping contingent of the Russian Federation controls this corridor, and Azerbaijan only ensures traffic safety there.
“Maria Zakharova claims that the command of the peacekeeping contingent has established rules for visiting areas where a peacekeeping operation is being carried out, and this is well known to the Azerbaijani side. What are the rules? Russia declares the existence of such rules for the first time, it was unheard of before.
Isn’t it absurd that the rules of entry and exit to the territory of one state are determined by another state or its army? It is clear that this is a violation of the Constitution of Azerbaijan and the sovereignty of the country. From the words of Zakharova it follows that Moscow arbitrarily established some rules and simply informed Baku about it.
The diplomat did not say whether the Azerbaijani side had officially agreed to these rules. Most likely, there is no such agreement. Even if the government of Azerbaijan gives official consent, it will be an unconstitutional decision”, Jafarli said.
He also recalled that the presence of Russian peacekeepers on the territory of Azerbaijan has not yet been ratified by the country’s parliament.
“In the article 6, which was also cited by Maria Zakharova, there is indeed a proposal that “the Republic of Azerbaijan guarantees the safety of movement of citizens, vehicles and goods along the Lachin corridor in both directions”. It looks strange, and also raises a lot of questions:
1. Safe movement of which citizens along the indicated corridor is guaranteed by Azerbaijan? Does this category include only Karabakh Armenians or citizens of any other country? If yes, on what basis? What is the legal basis for this?
2. To vehicles of what origin does Azerbaijan guarantee safe movement along this corridor? Do you mean the vehicles of the Karabakh Armenians, or does this also include the vehicles of Armenia and other countries? If so, under what agreements?
3. Azerbaijan guarantees the safety of movement of what goods along the corridor? Do they include military supplies? The Lachin corridor can be used to supply and equip the peacekeeping contingent in Karabakh. And what about the military goods brought from Armenia to Karabakh or taken out from there, including the personnel of the armed forces? This point is as obscure as the others.
In general, if the Azerbaijani state does not control that section of the state border with Armenia, which is included in the Lachin corridor, how can it guarantee the safety of movement along it, whether for citizens, vehicles or goods? Isn’t this strange?
Yes, according to Article 9, Armenia, in turn, guarantees the security of transport links between the western regions of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic in order to ensure the unhindered movement of citizens, vehicles and goods in both directions. But we are talking about transport communication between one part of Azerbaijan and another. That is, there is a fundamental difference between these situations”, he added.