Expert: Advances in Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement important for Russian President on eve of elections

Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict Materials 11 July 2011 18:41 (UTC +04:00)
Expert: Advances in Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement important for Russian President on eve of elections

Azerbaijan, Baku, July 11 / Trend E. Tariverdiyeva /

There is a hidden competition between Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in Russia for the image and the future line of Russian foreign and domestic policies, the director of the "Russia-Eurasia" Center of the Council on Foreign Relations of Germany, a member of Trend Expert Council Alexander Rahr said.

"Therefore, Medvedev is now trying to actively pursue foreign policy, promoting, the Nagorno Karabakh conflict settlement," Rahr said.

President Medvedev has prepared a message to Presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia, Ilham Aliyev and Serzh Sargsyan, following discussions held in Kazan. The message includes proposals on the visions of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict resolution, recently discussed at a meeting of the three presidents with representatives of the OSCE Minsk Group.
Presidents of Azerbaijan, Russia and Armenia, Ilham Aliyev, Dmitry Medvedev, and Serzh Sargsyan discussed the basic principles of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement in Kazan. The ninth meeting ended without reaching agreements on the basic principles of the settlement. The sides noted the progress towards this goal in a joint statement.

Rahr said that when Medvedev proposed his project of common European security system to the West, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said at a summit with Medvedev that Berlin is ready to cooperate with Moscow on this issue, but on condition that Medvedev will help to solve territorial disputes in the overall Euro-Atlantic area. At the same time, Merkel asked Medvedev to do everything that the Kremlin can, Rahr added.

"President Medvedev really puts a lot of effort to promote settlement of the dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh, and this is the right approach," he said. "This conflict is difficult to be settled for the West. There is a very strong Armenian lobby in Europe. On the other hand, Azerbaijan also gains weight for the European partners due to the openness of its economies and interesting features in the economy."

Therefore, Russia's mediation, which has partner relations with Baku and Yerevan, is the most convenient format. However, one fails to gain significant results in this format, Rahr said.

To put it mildly, the Kazan summit organized by Medvedev has failed, he said.

All new proposals and Moscow's actions, including Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov's visit to Baku and Yerevan are the attempts to save Medvedev's initiative and at least not to be losers, Rahr said.

This is important on the eve of first election campaign, he added.
"When Medvedev and Putin sit at the table to discuss the progress achieved for four years of Medvedev's presidency, the president must show positive results," Rahr said.

However, one must admit the fact that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has not been settled due to uncompromising positions of both sides, he said.

"I see no possibility of a breakthrough in the Nagorno Karabakh conflict without significant compromise of the parties," he said. "But it is unlikely to happen in the nearest future."

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 continuing peace negotiations.
Armenia has not yet implemented the U.N. Security Council's four resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.