Experts: Azerbaijani and Armenian FMs' meeting under OSCE ministerial council hardly to bring breakthrough

Experts: Azerbaijani and Armenian FMs' meeting under OSCE ministerial council hardly to bring breakthrough

Azerbaijan, Baku, July 15 / Trend E.Tariverdiyeva /

Experts believe it is not worth to expect breakthrough from the meeting of Azerbaijani and Armenian Foreign Ministers Elmar Mammadyarov and Edward Nalbandian to be held as a part of the OSCE Ministerial Council and that will mull the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

"Over the past 15 years, we have seen many occasions when people expected progress in the negotiations and were disappointed," Johns Hopkins University Institute of Central Asia and Caucasus Director and Swedish Institute of Security Policy and Development Founder Svante Cornell told Trend. "I see no reason why we have to expect something significant now."

Mammadyarov and Nalbandian are expected to meet under the OSCE Ministerial Council to be held in Almaty June 16-17.

Azerbaijani and Armenian foreign ministers Elmar Mammadyarov and Edward Nalbandian may meet with their French, Russian and U.S. counterparts Bernard Kouchner, Sergei Lavrov and Hillary Clinton at the upcoming OSCE summit in Almaty. Mammadyarov and Nalbandian may meet with their foreign counterparts July 17, OSCE reported earlier.

The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan since 1992, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and 7 surrounding districts.

Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group - Russia, France, and the U.S. - are currently holding the peace negotiations.

Armenia has not yet implemented the U.N. Security Council's four resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh region and the occupied territories.

According to observers, the conflicting parties will fail to reach compromise on the Nagorno-Karabakh in the short term.

Kazakhstan may offer its territory as a dialogue platform, but one should not expect results from the upcoming meeting, Kazakh Risk Assessment Group Director Dosim Satpayev said.

"The Azerbaijani and Armenian political elites are not ready for reconciliation," Satpayev told Trend.

A lot depends on how much the conflicting parties are ready to compromise, Satpayev said.

There will be no breakthrough, no matter how promising the format of the upcoming Mammadyarov-Nalbadian meeting looks, "Lider-TV" analytic group expert Tofig Abbasov told Trend.

"Armenia will remain true to its destructive policy and ensure that the Madrid principles have collapsed completely," Abbasov said. "Armenian leaders are not so worried what would happen later."

According to Abbasov, Armenia needs to win time for cooling the peace process. The reason - to delay the withdrawal of the occupying forces from Azerbaijani territories as much as possible, he said.

There are too many uncertainties in the regional politics of the Caucasus, which do not allow the parties to feel safe enough to move to serious results, Cornell said.

Experts believe the external players do not show sufficient interest in the conflict.

"What has changed in Armenia, Azerbaijan, or on the international arena for the negotiations to suddenly become successful? I also do not see enough international interest and support in resolving the conflict," Cornell noted.

Kazakhstan as the OSCE chair country should and must speak out and come up with a proposal, but one thing to offer, and another thing - to wait for concrete results, Satpayev said.

"One should not expect from Kazakhstan that it could in one year to resolve a protracted conflict such as Nagorno-Karabakh, which has long history, besides its aggravated bloodshed," Satpayev said. "Kazakhstan will not significantly affect the resolution of the situation not having serious levers of influence."

That is why Kazakhstan raises the issue of strengthening OSCE's role and its real impact on these conflicts, Satpayev said.

"The fact that Kazakhstan is not an expert on the Caucasus and has no experience in the settlement of such conflicts in a region also should be taken into account, Satpayev said."Kazakhstan as the OSCE chair country could only encourage the parties at the diplomatic level to find a compromise."

Observers believe Yerevan's short-sighted position leads to downtime in the negotiations.

The Sargsyan administration took up self-deception when choosing the current direction, Abbasov said.

"If the conflict is not unlocked by peaceful means, the violent option with the participation of the Azerbaijani army will break, he said. "Such a situation promises Armenia unimaginable losses, because it is economically waek, poorly protected and has not promising prerequisites for conducting a long-term military campaign."

The Moscow State University History Faculty Deputy Dean, Internet portal "The Bulletin of the Caucasus" Chief Editor and Trend Expert Council Member, Alexei Vlasov, believes the issue of the two regions will be soon resolved.

"I think that the issue of the two regions will be soon resolved. Speaking in the near future, I mean 2010-2011," Vlasov told Trend.

Vlasov is convinced by the OSCE Minsk Group co-chair countries presidents' statement made at a summit in Toronto.

The presidents of Russia, the United States and France during G 8 summit in Canada issued a joint statement on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which called on the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan to accelerate work on the Main principles of settlement of the conflict in order to begin drafting a Peace agreement.

The statement noted that the heads of states - co-chairs of the Minsk Group have been considered as an important step towards the recognition by both parties of the fact that the settlement must be based on several principles, among which, returning of the occupied territories surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh, an interim status for Nagorno-Karabakh providing guarantees of security and self-government; corridor linking Armenia with Nagorno- Karabakh.

The final legal determination of future status of Nagorno Karabakh "by a legally binding will of people, the right of all refugees and internal displaced persons to return to their former homes, international guarantees of security, including peacekeeping operations" is among these principles. These provisions are consistent with the basic points of the Madrid principles.

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