Azerbaijan, Baku, May 20 / Trend E.Ostapenko /
Russia is not the sole holder of the keys to the negotiations on settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict today, the head of the Black Sea-Caspian Information-Analytical Center of the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies (RISS), Doctor of Philosophy Eduard Popov, said.
Popov noted about a little progress in the negotiations that has emerged over the past few years. "I mean the adoption of the Madrid principles three years ago and their consideration by the Azerbaijani and Armenian presidents," he said.
The process of solving the Karabakh conflict is not short-term, although it was unpleasant to recognize it, Popov believes. He cited the Cyprus problem and the Palestinian question as examples.
"Unfortunately, all these conflicts last for very long time. I in no case want to say that we need to pre-fix for such a long period, thus delaying for such a long period. Such conflicts are very painful and addressing them beyond the peace negotiations will cause a strong explosion, which affect not only the interests of regional players, but also the big powers," Popov said.
He said both parties must understand this and try to find a solution through peaceful means.
The negotiation process is underway among the major players - the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, and the two countries' presidents were involved as additional forces, Popov said. But all the projects and harmonization are accepted by the OSCE Minsk Group, Popov added.
According to Popov, tools of public diplomacy are poorly utilized.
Popov regards Turkey's joining to co-chairing the Minsk Group as unlikely.
"When the talks were held in Ankara, some said Turkey would participate as a party to this negotiating process, but not as the fourth side in the Minsk Group. That is opposed by the Armenian side and the United States and France also will not allow it. Turkey's joining the negotiation process is very important, as it is interested in deblocking the South Caucasus region, like Russia," Popov said.
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 7 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 region and the occupied territories.
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