Armenian political analyst: Armenia should do utmost to minimize Russian influence
Azerbaijan, Baku, Dec. 2 / Trend E. Tariverdiyeva /
Armenia should take great efforts to settle Turkish-Armenian relations and to weaken Russian influence in the country, Armenian political analyst Stepan Grigoryan said.
"Armenia is taking great efforts to settle Turkish-Armenian relations, hoping to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, as the opening of the border would lead to the weakening of Russian influence on us and allow us to make our own decisions," he said in Baku today at the "Azerbaijan - Eastern Partnership: Regional Challenges and Opportunities" forum organized by the Azerbaijani Presidential Center for Strategic Studies. "We cannot delay the resolution of the Karabakh conflict."
Grigoryan added that the Minsk process is a "long-lasting phenomenon," and the publication of the Madrid Principles is "a serious step."
He said they give a chance for rapid progress, since they reflect the interests of both parties.
"The presidents signed a declaration preparing a peace initiative and in parallel increasing confidence in Astana yesterday," he said. "It is impossible to retreat from it. The first steps have already been made in Astrakhan. I saw a readiness in Baku by looking at the status of the Armenian Church, which is protected by Azerbaijan."
A statement on the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was adopted on behalf of the heads of the co-chairing countries of the OSCE Minsk Group and the Azerbaijani and Armenian presidents in Astana on Dec. 1 at the OSCE summit. It calls for a quick resolution to the conflict.
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 United States - are currently holding the peace negotiations.
Armenia has not yet implemented the U.N. Security Council's four resolutions on the liberation of Nagorno Karabakh and the surrounding regions.
Diplomatic ties between Turkey and Armenia were servered in 1993 due to the Armenia's claims of a so-called "Armenian Genocide" and the occupation of Nagorno Karabakh. Last year, Sargsyan invited Turkish President Abdullah Gul to Yerevan to watch a World Cup qualifying match between Armenia and Turkey. After Gul's visit, diplomatic efforts to normalize the tiers between the two countries continued.
Turkish and Armenian foreign ministers Ahmet Davutoglu and Edward Nalbandian signed the Ankara-Yerevan protocols in Zurich Oct. 10.