Opinion: "International community should recognise direct Artsakh-Azerbaijan conversation"
Dialogue on the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh problem should not be part of the complex relationship between the West and Russia. This opinion was expressed by State Minister of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Artak Beglaryan.
He stated that the European Union should not take part in the settlement of the Karabakh conflict, spoke about the continuation of efforts for the international recognition of Nagorno-Karabakh, the need to increase the contingent of Russian peacekeeping forces, as well as the legitimization of direct dialogue with Baku.
“The issue of settlement should not be a subject of negotiations for the EU”
The State Minister recalled the OSCE Minsk Group, which was created to resolve the conflict and dealt with this issue until the 2020 war. According to him, a dialogue is needed to resolve the issue, but it should not be dependent on the extremely difficult relations between Russia and the West:
“Given the format of the Minsk Group co-chairs and the effective role of the Russian peacekeeping mission, we believe that the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict should not be a subject of negotiations for the European Union”.
In an interview with the Russian state news agency RIA Novosti, the politician expressed confidence that the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is impossible in the foreseeable future.
“There is a serious contradiction of positions of Artsakh and Azerbaijan. They are diametrically opposite. The most important difference is that for Azerbaijan, it is a matter of prestige and ambition, while for the people of Karabakh it is a matter of life and death, their own existence and historical justice”, he said.
“It will be possible to consider the issue of joining Armenia”
Artak Beglaryan assured that the authorities of the unrecognized NKR would continue their efforts for the international recognition of the republic.
“After the international recognition of the independence of Artsakh, it will be possible to consider the issue of joining the republic to Armenia”.
According to Beglaryan, it can be argued that “Armenia actually recognized Nagorno-Karabakh, since there are horizontal ties between the two republics”․
He assures that the authorities of the unrecognized NKR will look for ways “to solve their problems gradually, step by step”. According to the politician, when Azerbaijan is ready for peace, these problems can be solved through direct negotiations with Baku.
“Peacekeepers must stay indefinitely”
The official accused Azerbaijan of fueling border incidents. Beglaryan recalled that after the 44-day war, the Armenian-Azerbaijani line of contact had lengthened by almost 2.5 times. In this context, the state minister considered important the presence of the Russian peacekeeping contingent in this territory:
“We believe that the peacekeeping mission should remain here indefinitely, as the conflict has not been resolved”.
According to the state minister, it is necessary to increase the number of peacekeepers and expand their mandate.
The “urgent need” for the presence of peacekeepers in Nagorno-Karabakh is due to the fact that Azerbaijan is not ready to negotiate on the basis of the three principles proposed by international mediators [territorial integrity, the right of peoples to self-determination, non-use of force or threat of force], Beglaryan believes.
According to political observer Hakob Badalyan, the confrontation between Russia and the West cannot help but spread and influence NK. In this regard, it is necessary to make efforts in order not to become a “direct target” for the warring parties. The expert believes that the policy of the Armenian authorities is aimed precisely at this.
“In connection with the Artsakh issue, there are positive elements and risks for Armenia both in the approaches of the Russian side and the policy of the West. Our task is to maneuver between them”, Badalyan told JAMnews.
According to the political observer, the transition to direct negotiations with Baku is a rational and pragmatic goal:
“It is necessary to set a task, to ensure that a direct conversation between Artsakh and Azerbaijan is a legitimate option acceptable to the international community, and Baku also faces such a political situation that it finds it necessary to talk specifically with Artsakh”.
And for this, according to him, it is necessary to work on the restoration of subjectivity, the perception of the unrecognized NKR as a political unit.
According to the observer, the international recognition of the republic and the potential entry into Armenia in the context of the current political reality is not pragmatic and unrealistic.
At the same time, he believes that the NKR can afford such an approach to the issue of self-determination, as it faces the need to ensure security in the face of a military threat from Azerbaijan:
“No international player can deny the existence of these problems”.
As for Armenia-NK relations, according to Badalyan, the international community is also well aware that this is a “relationship of de facto recognition”:
“Of course, this means little in the context of international politics. The practical situation requires different political assessments and actions from both Armenia and Artsakh”.
According to Badalyan, one should not expect a different assessment of the role of Russian peacekeepers from the leadership of Nagorno-Karabakh, at least at this stage. This is unrealistic, given the situation in Armenia, the political potential of NK and the conditions of the status quo at this moment.
And this despite the fact that the peacekeeping mission, as the observer says, raises questions not only in terms of effectiveness, but also possible cooperation with the Azerbaijanis. In this regard, it recalls the events around the village of Parukh and the heights of Karaglukh.
The controversial alleged reason for the loss of these territories in March 2022 was first presented to Armenian journalists by the former commander of the NK Defense Army Samvel Babayan. According to him, Russian peacekeepers offered to remove both Armenian and Azerbaijani positions from these areas in order to reduce tension. The agreement was fulfilled only by the Armenian side, and the Azerbaijani Armed Forces, taking advantage of the situation, moved forward. The Russian peacekeepers offered no resistance.
According to Hakob Badalyan, in the diplomatic plane they talk about the important role of peacekeepers, but in practice it is necessary to take other steps to ensure security:
“We must prepare for a situation where Baku, for example, may demand a much higher price for extending the mandate of the peacekeepers. Such a price could be a piece of the territory of Artsakh or Armenia. We must seriously consider how to ensure that Russia, as part of its peacekeeping mission, is responsible not only to Azerbaijan, but also to Armenia and Artsakh.”
Statement by the State Minister of the unrecognized NKR