Action on Karabakh issue? Not this time
Baku, Azerbaijan, Apr. 20
By Elmira Tariverdiyeva - Trend:
If the presidents of the two countries co-chairing the OSCE Minsk Group (the only permanent mediator in the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict issue for today) are going to visit the South Caucasus region, observers might expect some action on the settlement of the conflict. But, alas, not this time.
Unfortunately, the presidents of Russia and France are going to Armenia but not for talks with the country that has been keeping Azerbaijani lands under occupation for over 20 years.
Rather, Presidents Vladimir Putin and Francois Hollande are traveling to Yerevan in connection with the activities related to the 1915 events in the Ottoman Empire. Armenia and the Armenian lobby claim that Turkey's predecessor, the Ottoman Empire allegedly carried out "genocide" against the Armenians living in Anatolia in 1915.
The issue of the legitimacy of Yerevan's claim has been discussed many times, and we will not dwell on it in this article. However, what is the more important issue - to prevent the death of soldiers and civilians of Azerbaijan and Armenia or to exaggerate the events that took place in the Ottoman Empire a century ago?
Both Russia and France understand that the stability in the South Caucasus region is fragile. The situation can change at any moment if one of the sides reacts to the provocations of the other. The conflict claimed the lives of more than ten young people from both sides in 2014.
The series of bloody incidents on the contact line between Azerbaijani and Armenian troops in 2014, pushed the leaders of the co-chairing countries of OSCE Minsk Group to start fussing and take steps to resume the negotiation process on the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Russian President Vladimir Putin put forward an initiative in August 2014 to hold a trilateral meeting with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in Sochi.
Afterwards, another co-chairing country of the OSCE Minsk Group - the US grasped this initiative. Then a meeting of the presidents of two countries was held on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Newport in the presence of Secretary of State John Kerry. French President Francois Hollande held the meetings at the Elysee Palace in bilateral and trilateral formats in October.
Despite these meetings, the two countries have not made any radical breakthrough in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement, although the world leaders' attention to the problem was considered as a positive trend.
However, now it seems the activity of the leaders of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairing countries has exhausted itself. And the real actions towards rapprochement of the sides of the conflict are unlikely to be taken during President Hollande's current visit to the region and his meeting with counterpart Putin in Yerevan.
Is it easier to get on with protocol and restrict themselves to calls for settlement? Do they consider their mediation mission as fulfilled?
Edited by CN
Elmira Tariverdiyeva is Trend Agency's staff writer, follow her on Twitter @EmmaTariver