"Until a result is achieved" - Azerbaijani experts on the Lachin road protest
Protest will continue until result achieved
The 26th day of the Azerbaijani activists’ protest on the Lachin road is coming to an end. When the episode will end, no one can confidently say. An Azerbaijani government official expressed the opinion that the protest will continue until a result is achieved. It is possible that conditions will be created for Azerbaijani specialists to monitor the Karabakh mines, political scientist Elkhan Shahinoglu believes. “But monitoring alone will not end the matter,” he added.
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“Actions on the Lachin-Khankendi road will continue until a result is achieved,” Hikmet Alizade, head of the State Environmental Security Service of the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of Azerbaijan, said on January 6.
“There are no positive changes in terms of illegal exploitation of our deposits and environmental violations in the territories liberated from occupation. Due to this, public activists are staging a protest. They require permission to conduct monitoring in the specified area. I think the protest will continue until the result is achieved,” he said.
Three options for resolution
Soon it will have been an entire month since the start of the protest, head of the Atlas analytical center Elkhan Shahinoglu says.
“The Armenian authorities, the Armenian separatists and the global Armenian lobby, by all means and with the help of other states and international organizations, tried to put pressure on Azerbaijan about the protest on the Lachin road. Their disinformation that “the road is closed”, “the sick were left without medicine”, “the Karabakh Armenians are starving” came to nothing. The diplomatic efforts of the political circles of France against Azerbaijan also turned out to be fruitless,” Shahinoglu asserted.
The primary goal of the protest is to gain access to gold and copper deposits in the territory controlled by the Russian peacekeeping contingent.
“The question becomes more and more urgent every day – how long will it last? I think there are three options here:
- The Armenian separatist regime in Karabakh has no choice but to create conditions for monitoring at the fields by Azerbaijani specialists. After that, the promotion ends. But one monitoring is not the end of the matter. The issue of taking control of these deposits and profits therefrom by the Azerbaijani state will then be relevant.
- The Karabakh regime does not allow monitoring, and the protest continues indefinitely.
- Azerbaijan’s goal is not only deposits. Baku wants to take control of the road linking Armenia with Khankendi (Stepanakert). Even if after some time the protest ends, Azerbaijani soldiers can take up position in the same place and start checking vehicles arriving in Karabakh and departing for Armenia. This does not contradict the terms of the tripartite statement of November 10, 2020, since control is exercised within the framework of Azerbaijan’s sovereignty over its territory.
“The action will end with a behind-the-scenes agreement”
Political observer Gadzhi Namazov has a different opinion about the end of the protest. According to Namazov, it will end with a “behind-the-scenes agreement of the interested parties”:
“If you look at the situation with the protest a little from the outside, it seems insoluble. Let’s look at it.
Azerbaijani activists will not leave without achieving some victory. This has already been openly stated in the government of the country. And it is impossible to imagine, with the maximalist approach of official Baku to all issues related to the Karabakh conflict, the protest ending just like that.
Karabakh Armenians, i.e. their illegal government, headed by Ruben Vardanyan, also cannot allow monitoring by Azerbaijan, judging by their statements. Everything is simple here – if Azerbaijan is allowed to take control of the fields, then only a step remains before the Azerbaijani flag is flying in Khankendi. But these deposits are no longer open for the simple reason that there is nowhere to bring the ore. In other words, Vardanyan has nothing to lose now.
So here the situation is hopeless. But there is another side to the coin, and these are goals that Azerbaijan may be pursuing by starting a protest on the Lachin road. This is where Yerevan can come into play.
If Pashinyan and his government agree to identical conditions for the Lachin and Zangezur corridors, the issue will resolve itself. This is my guess, but I think it’s not far from the truth. And I dare say that behind-the-scenes negotiations on this have been going on for a long time. The protest on the Lachin road is just an additional tool for putting pressure on Armenia.”