Russia should show that it really wants adjustment of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict: CSIS senior associate
U.S., Washington, July 13 / Trend , N.Bogdanova /
Interview with Bulent Aliriza, Senior Associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), and Director of its Turkey Project
Question: Recently of group of intelligence both from Armenian and Azerbaijan payed a visit to Nagorno-Karabakh and then met with both Azeri and Armenian presidents. How do you value such visits and do you believe there is a space for civil society diplomacy as another tool to adjust the conflict?
Answer: This isn't the first visit of that kind. Of course, it is good, that such contacts happen. The question is, when there is no adjustment on the political level, do such visits and meetings help - that is difficult to say. Ministers of foreign affairs and presidents are meeting, but there is no settlement yet. The danger is - how long will the Nagorno-Karabakh interview last, when will it be settled? And what keeps this conflict from being resolved...
Q: Nagorno-Karabakh was one of issues on Obama-Medvedev meeting's agenda, how do you believe this meeting can influence the Nagorno-Karabakh negotiating process? Did it create any new opportunities? How would you value the meeting on the whole?
A: It is clear that U.S. and Russia both want their relations to become better. There a number of issues they did agreed to reduce their nations' nuclear arsenals. Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev have signed a "joint understanding" to reduce their countries' nuclear warheads and the means to deliver them by up to a third of current levels. Secondly, but not less important, they have also discussed Afghanistan issue. And yes, they of course touched upon the unresolved conflicts - Nagorno-Karabakh, South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The question in which sides are still not having joint opinion - is Georgia. The thing is Russia is still opposing Georgia and also Ukraine in terms of integrating into NATO, and there are a number of other issues. We are still very far from saying that Russia and USA have agreed on everything and there are no more disputes - then it would be ideal, but this isn't the case now. Coming to your question on Nagorno-Karabakh, yes, this issue was also discussed. Of course, it is good that this conflict is being discussed on such level. But I think Russia should show that it really wants the adjustment of the conflict on Karabakh. You know, the thing is everybody talk from year to year that they want to solve the conflict and so on, but we are still there - the conflict is still not resolved.
Q: U.S., Russian and French presidents today distributed a statement in Italy at the G8 summit concerning Nagorno-Karabakh. What does it mean for the future negotiation process?
A: Well, this wasn't actually the issue on summit's agenda. The G8 presindets spoke much more on the issue of the climate change, situation in Africa, financial crisis and ways out of it, etc. there was a statement on Nagorno-Karabakh by the Minsk Group countries presidents, well, there was also a statement on the situation in Iran. I think that the institute of the Minsk Group had been very active so far, and they had done a lot of work. It is good there is optimism, and it has to lead somewhere. But so far I wouldn't overvalue the meaning of this statement at the G8 summit for the negotiation process.
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