Azerbaijan, Baku, Jan.20 / Trend, E.Tariverdiyeva /
There is almost no chance of progress on the Nagorno Karabakh conflict resolution this year, Thomas de Waal, expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, British journalist and author of the book "Black Garden: Armenia and Azerbaijan through Peace and War", believes.
"Neither side seems prepared to change its position on the draft agreement that was rejected in Kazan last June," Thomas de Waal said.
He said there are a number of 20th anniversaries this year which will increase skepticism about the peace process around Nagorno Karabakh and the value of making peace with the other side in the conflict.
"I am thinking for example of the 20th anniversary of the Khojali killings and of the formation of the Minsk Group in 1992. Moreover, all of the three co-chair countries have presidential elections and the political elite will be distracted by that process," he said.
"That means that 2012 will be a year when the mediators will hope to manage the conflict but will not hope to solve it," Thomas de Waal said.
A trilateral meeting between Azerbaijani, Russian and Armenian presidents will be held in Sochi on Jan.23.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 per cent 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 the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.