What will the pause in the negotiation process lead to? Commentary from Baku
Pause in the negotiation process
Over the past month and a half, there have been significant changes in the region that have led to a pause in the negotiation process between Azerbaijan and Armenia. After the counter-terrorist operation of the Azerbaijani army and the subsequent exodus of the Armenian population from Karabakh, official Baku declared a loss of interest in the Zangezur corridor. Mediators represented by the EU, Russia and the United States are “digesting the new reality, adjusting their approaches for relevant initiatives,” Azerbaijani political scientist Farhad Mammadov says.
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“Approaches need to be changed.”
“The EU, under pressure from France, failed to ensure its unilateral, pro-Armenian approach from the get-go. Azerbaijan demonstrates that approaches should be changed, without which the effectiveness of the ‘Brussels format’ remains in doubt,” political scientist Farhad Mammadov says.
According to the political scientist, Russia “has lost the lever of pressure in the face of the military junta of Karabakh Armenians and is now trying to exert pressure on the Armenian prime minister through the remaining resources to obtain an additional function on the territory of Armenia – control over transport, fixation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border from the Armenian side. It is not working out well.”
“The Russian side’s refusal to discuss a special agreement between Russia and Armenia to circumvent the provisions of the Rome Statute, which was supposed to agree on a mechanism to make it impossible to arrest the Russian president if he flies to Armenia, drew attention. This is interesting, as Putin has indicated in his latest statement on Armenia that he intends to visit Armenia. It will be interesting to see how, in the absence of a special agreement, the Russian President will visit Armenia, and then what will Pashinyan and his people do? After all, they will not be arrested… and with this they will sign their limited sovereignty, but for this Putin must fly to Yerevan.”
“Baku seeks to achieve a balanced approach from Washington”
“The Washington platform still leaves a resource, as it is at the level of the Foreign Ministry and the text of the peace treaty is being discussed. However, the latest release of the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry criticizing the U.S. approach to supporting Armenia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty demonstrates that Baku seeks to achieve a balanced approach from Washington. The text of the release was unconventionally harsh, leading to the conclusion that until the U.S. clearly says that “Karabakh is Azerbaijan,” the Washington format may not take place.”
The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry expressed regret that the US, having been a mediator for decades, “has never so strongly encouraged support for Azerbaijan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity”.
The US Secretary of State said the US strongly supports Armenia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
“On the contrary, the U.S. has steered Armenia in the wrong direction, supported the existence of an illegal regime in Azerbaijani territories, creating opportunities for separatists to visit the U.S. to protect their illegal activities by providing financial resources,” the department said.
“It was the failure of mediation attempts, in which the U.S. was also involved, and the inability to stop Armenia’s occupation policy that prompted Azerbaijan to liberate its lands militarily. Therefore, along with other facts, the U.S. is also responsible for inaction towards a peaceful resolution of the past conflict.
Any unfriendly actions against Azerbaijan will not bring positive results and such actions will be adequately responded to,” the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry said.
Mammadov continues, “Azerbaijan is using the pause to form new initiatives. The insistence on Baku’s proposal to meet in Tbilisi on a bilateral basis leaves all mediators in limbo. Yes, the capitals of the mediating countries cannot openly oppose it, but the discontent is palpable.
France remains an absolute evil for Azerbaijan and the peace process. France’s draft resolution in the UN Security Council is precisely about this – it is an open and unconcealed initiative to derail the possibility of a bilateral format, as well as to leave Western mediation within the framework of a pro-Armenian position. In this case, the choice is for Yerevan, as well as for Washington, Brussels and Berlin – to continue within the framework of the destructive French initiative or to move away from it. Azerbaijani diplomacy faces the task of marginalizing France in Western mediation – the task is difficult, but it is worth a try.”
“It’s all about getting results.”
“The official statements by Azerbaijani representatives that the Zangezur corridor project through the territory of Armenia has lost its relevance are an attempt to level another piece of information that Azerbaijan is allegedly preparing to annex part of Armenia’s territory, which is spread in the Western media. This statement confuses both the Armenian leadership and the Western patrons.
This statement also stunned Azerbaijani opposition commentators, who are entrenched in the U.S. and Europe. After all, in their world Azerbaijan acts together with Russia to crush Pashinyan, the light of democracy. And this is the case here – we are not interested in roads through Armenia.
The pause can last for weeks or months. The main thing is to get a result: to adjust the position of as many countries as possible in accordance with the new realities that Azerbaijan is still creating,” Mammadov concluded.