International Crisis Group: Great hopes for Azerbaijani,Russian and Armenian presidents in Kazan

Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict Materials 16 June 2011 15:34 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, June 16 / Trend E. Tariverdiyeva /

It is difficult to predict whether there will be any progress at the meeting in Kazan, but there are great hopes, International Crisis Group official Sabina Fraser said in an interview with Zhamanak newspaper.

"This is also connected with the fears that if no agreement is reached, the question arises
whether this process will continue," she said. "Armenia and Azerbaijan will have elections

soon. The electoral processes are also planned to be held in the mediating-countries. If theparties fail to agree this year, it will be difficult to compromise in 2012-2013."

The Azerbaijani, Armenian and Russian presidents' meeting in Kazan is scheduled for late June.

This will be the ninth tripartite meeting between the presidents of Azerbaijan, Russia and Armenia.

Earlier, the parties signed a declaration envisaging the return of POWs. It is of humanitarian nature.

She said the last statement of the Minsk Group's co-chairing countries was much more clear, specific and powerful. The statement clearly stated the expectation of the presidents for the parties to agree on basic principles in the nearest future, perhaps, during a meeting in Kazan.

"It is also stressed that if consensus is reached, all three countries will observe theimplementation of these principles by providing financial and other assistance," she added.

"If the parties fail to agree and one of them uses force, it will be perceived by co-chairingcountries, as a negative step. It will not be perceived as a way of solving the problems."

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 seven 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 Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.