“Give me a chance” – Former Armenian Foreign Minister promises turning point in negotiations
Vardan Oskanian on the course of negotiations
“Give me, a group of diplomats, a chance; keep quiet for 2-3 months, we will take responsibility. I assure you that there will be serious progress in the negotiations, a sharp turn in favor of Armenia,” former Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanian said to the Armenian authorities.
He claims that “there is an opportunity not to lose Artsakh without provoking a war with Azerbaijan.” He says there are “competent people” who can “correctly represent problems.” As a result, according to him, the Armenian side will not only avoid war, but will achieve “substantial progress.” At the same time, the diplomat stressed that his statements should not be considered as an application for a return to politics.
“You need to have the courage to delegate negotiations to others”
Oskanian told reporters that the Armenian authorities must have the courage to lay down the burden that is too much for them and delegate negotiations to those who are able to bear this responsibility. He stressed that today the Armenian authorities cannot achieve an alternative solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh problem. According to Oskanian, an alternative would be to give him and a group of diplomats “100 percent authority.”
“But at this time, Pashinyan should simply remain silent, not speak either in commissions [meaning the Prime Minister’s speeches at a meeting of the commission investigating the circumstances of the Karabakh war in 2020], neither at government meetings, nor from the rostrum of the National Assembly, he must refuse to hold press conferences , interview. This is an important condition.”
Oskanian explained this by saying that the Prime Minister’s speeches complicate the situation and “every day it becomes more and more difficult to change it.”
In the event that a group of diplomats receive powers, Oskanian promises
- very quicklyto change the logic and narrative of negotiations,
- expand the existing negotiating agenda.
The main step to change the logic and narrative of negotiations is the following:
“We should not negotiate in unequal conditions created as a result of an unjust war, go to the solution of the issue under the threat of war by signing a peace treaty. We must enter into negotiations, yes, as a result of an unjust war, in unequal conditions, but look for the right ways that will create an opportunity for Armenia and Azerbaijan to achieve a just and lasting peace.”
According to the ex-minister, Armenian interests are not represented on the negotiation agenda today, only Azerbaijan’s demands are heard:
“The Armenian delegation in Washington and other places is negotiating only and only in order to give the demands of Azerbaijan such a “package” that will be understandable and acceptable to the Armenians. And Azerbaijan does not even allow this, it wants to formulate its demands in such a way that there is no possibility of different interpretations.”
“Argument for the existence of the NKAR and the desire for independence”
Oskanian argues that the fact of the existence of the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region in the Soviet years should be the main argument in the position of Armenia:
“Let’s not forget that this fact in 1991 gave the people of Artsakh the opportunity to strive for self-determination, to hold a referendum.”
He considers it necessary to discuss this fact at the negotiating table. I am convinced that this argument will open up new possibilities for political and legal decision-making. It does not exclude that Azerbaijan will be against including this issue on the agenda of negotiations, but in this case it will face very serious problems from the point of view of international law:
“The refusal to put this issue on the agenda will give the people of Artsakh the opportunity to fight for their independence with the help of the international community. I’m talking about the letter and spirit of international law.”
“Artsakh was not and cannot be a part of Azerbaijan”
Vardan Oskanian considers it a misunderstanding to say that “Artsakh is Azerbaijan”, believing that Armenians can live there peacefully or safely. He excludes even the possibility of discussing this topic.
“It just can’t be. Why should Artsakh be part of Azerbaijan? When was he in it? Artsakh was not part of independent Azerbaijan. During the years of Azerbaijan’s existence, it was part of it only in the Soviet period as an autonomous region. And Azerbaijan itself, by its constitution, declared this period invalid, illegal, a period of occupation.”
According to the former negotiator on the Karabakh settlement, having all this arsenal, one cannot just keep silent and think about satisfying Baku’s demands. He insists that there are diplomatic ways to solve the problem. And the current government “should have the will, cast aside their ego and allow experienced people to work.”
“Pashinyan shows the international community the easiest way”
“Surrendering Karabakh to Azerbaijan is the easiest way to solve it,” Oskanian believes, and it is this way that the Prime Minister of Armenia presents to the mediators. The former minister explains that for the international community, a solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh problem is desirable, but the mediators “are not particularly interested in how this will happen.” Accordingly, the international community will support Pashinyan in every possible way so that this easy decision is made.
“But the moment the Armenian authorities give a new wording to the nature of the negotiations, there will be a sharp change in the position of the international community. If the Armenian side formulates logical, convincing, moderate demands, the content of the talks will change. There is a serious alternative to what Pashinyan is trying to do,” he stressed.
Oskanian assures that no Armenian government “has ever recognized Artsakh as part of Azerbaijan”, Pashinyan was the first to do this, and now he is trying to consolidate what was said by signing the relevant documents.
“We must not let this happen today, it would be a big mistake. Several generations will regret this act,” he said.
“If this continues, the likelihood of war will be very high”
According to the ex-minister, if Pashinyan continues to say what he says, and at the same time try to delay the fulfillment of his promises, the likelihood of war will be very high.
“And in case of silence, in two months this probability will be equal to zero. What is being done today cannot lead to a lasting peace. This may temporarily lead to some kind of peace between the Pashinyan government and Azerbaijan. But this decision cannot lead to peace between the Armenian and Azerbaijani peoples.”
The diplomat believes that in order to achieve a stable and lasting peace, it is necessary to offer the international community a correct assessment of the current situation, taking into account the history of the conflict.
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