Russia to Remain Key Player in Caucasus due to New Administration in White House

Azerbaijan, Baku, 6 November /corr. Trend E.Tariverdiyeva / Russia will remain key regional player in Caucasus because, since several years of priority for the new President of the USA Barack Obama will be the questions of domestic, but not external policy.

"Democrats in no way designated their position with respect to Azerbaijan, and therefore, Russia and Turkey will remain the leaders and countries being most interested in the political settlement in the region," Maxim Shevchenko, member of Public Chamber of Russia, presenter and political scientist of the First TV channel, told Trend .  

"I think that Obama's team will not firstly consider South Caucasus because he has two fundamental principles of foreign policy - to re-establish good name of America in the world and to focus on internal problems," Russian expert Mikhail Delyagin said.

In the presidential elections which took place in the USA on 4 November, the United States Senator from Illinois, Barack Obama gained confident victory, gaining 338 votes as compared to 156 gained by Senator from Arizona, McCain.

Due to the financial crisis in the USA and removal of administration of Republicans from the White House, Russia gains chances to become main regional player in Caucasus. The solution of 20-year conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia can become first step toward this.

On 2 November at Mayn Dorf Palace in Moscow, the Presidents of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, Armenia Serj Sarkisyan and Russia Dmitry Medvedev passed a statement as a result of their meeting. The statement highlights solution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in accordance with the international law. The meeting was initiated by Russia.

The conflict between the two countries of South Caucasus began in 1988 due to territorial claims by Armenia against Azerbaijan. Armenia has occupied 20% of the Azerbaijani land including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and its seven surrounding Districts. Since 1992, these territories have been under the occupation of the Armenian Forces. In 1994, Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement at which time the active hostilities ended. The Co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group (Russia, France and USA) are currently holding peaceful negotiations.

Russia has many chances to achieve successes in the solution of the Nagorno-Karabakh solution firstly due to the lack of preparation of the USA to its solution.

Caucasus will be found in the attention of Obama, but without priority component, Russian political scientist Vladimir Yevsey said. "Of course, Nagorno-Karabakh is a problem for the USA, but at this moment, they are not prepared to approach its solution," Yevsey, chief specialist of the analytical department of the Presidium of Russian Academy of Sciences, told Trend . 

Still the USA is not prepared to take active part in its settlement, especially, taking into consideration the difficulty of the situation.

Azerbaijani political scientist also considers that unlikely it is possible to expect any serious changes in the policy of the USA, in particular with respect to Nagorno-Karabakh problem.

"The new U.S. President will actively deal with the domestic policy of the country for the next two years, and only after this he can actively join the process of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement," Aydin Mirzazade, member of the Political Council of the ruling New Azerbaijan Party, told Trend .

The expert of the Carnegie Moscow Center, Aleksey Malashenko, considers that the main issue how the USA will behave in the international arena - will counteract Russia or carry out new line, as promised by Obama. "I do not think that he will firstly rush into foreign policy. He will firstly deal with his crises, and foreign policy will be second for him in some plan in comparison with the Republicans, although certainly it is important," the expert told Trend .

Specifically, this temporary break in the foreign policy of the USA threatens with strengthening of Russia in the region, Ziba Norman, Expert on South Caucasus, said.

"Obama should take care to ensure that Russia's long-term role is kept to a minimum," Ziba Norman,

Director, Founder of the Transatlantic Institute, told Trend via e-mail. Russia should
be facilitators but not guarantors, she said.

"After certain time after inauguration - possibly in February - March of the next year, the Americans will try to intensify the bilateral negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan on the example of Russia, but it is not worthy to wait some systematic approaches to the solution of Karabakh conflict," said Delyagin.

E.Ostapenko, (Baku), R.Agayev (Moscow) participated in the preparation of the material.

The correspondent can be contacted at: [email protected]

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