Negotiations, not for negotiations, as the deadlock in the Karabakh settlement?

YEREVAN, August 5 — Sputnik. The current situation around the Karabakh problem in many ways similar to the situation after the April war of 2016. Both then and now in the agenda are two key issues – the de-escalation of the situation and resume the negotiation process. This was stated by Sputnik Armenia , the political scientist, the employee of the analytical center “Orbeli” Narek Minasyan.

According to him, the tension in some sense has been reduced, however critical situation it is impossible to say, especially given the recent death of an Armenian soldier from a bullet of an Azerbaijani sniper, and joint military exercises between Turkey and Azerbaijan.

As for negotiations, it is difficult to say when will be able to restore them. Minasyan recalled that after the events of April 2016, the parties took a year and a half to hold the meeting at the level of the leaders of the two countries (for the first time after the April war, Serzh Sargsyan and Ilham Aliyev met in Geneva in October 2017 ed.).

At the same time, the analyst sees some changes in the rhetoric of the official Baku. So, a month ago, the Azerbaijani leader Ilham Aliyev spoke about the ineffectiveness of the mediation format of the OSCE Minsk group, accused the co-chairs of inaction. Now, after an escalation in the Tavush direction, representative of his administration Hikmet Hajiyev said about the commitment to the Minsk format and the willingness to continue negotiations.

But for Armenia this is not enough, and has already announced several items, the implementation of which will allow you to break the deadlock. Minasyan in the first place considers necessary “punching” on the issues of the expansion of observers and implementation of an international monitoring system incidents on the border. It was said about them back in 2016, but the Azerbaijani side then actually refused such arrangements, says the analyst. The question returned again now, and the expert believes that in its demand needs to go to the end.

“Much more effective, if monitoring by the OSCE is ongoing, and observers stationed in the vicinity of the conflict zone, and do not come from Tbilisi every few months. A monitoring mechanism should also have test functions that will allow observers to record which side violated the ceasefire,” – said Minasyan.

An important component of de-escalation of the situation our interlocutor believes there is a direct relationship between the military of Armenia and Azerbaijan, serving on both sides of the border. In September in Dushanbe between the Prime Minister of Armenia and President of Azerbaijan , an agreement was reached on establishing an operational connection level leaders. The OSCE MG co-chairs have repeatedly noted a positive role in this regard. Now, from the point of view of the expert, it is necessary that the same relationship between the military acted.

Experts generally convinced that the approaches of the Armenian diplomacy regarding the resumption of negotiations more find understanding on the part of the co-chairs. These approaches, known to have been Pashinyan announced on 23 July and limited to return Karabakh to the negotiating table, the resumption of meaningful negotiations, the extension of the OSCE monitoring mission and to ensure direct communication between soldiers of the two countries.

Escalation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border occurred on July 12: ALL of Azerbaijan fired on the positions of Tavush on the border and tried to attack them. As a result of retaliatory fire from the Armenian side the enemy back to their positions after suffering losses. On the morning of 13 July, the Azerbaijani armed forces resumed shelling of the Armenian positions. Until July 16, with some interruptions were also carried out attacks on Armenian border villages. International organizations and mediator countries urged Armenia and Azerbaijan to the world.

The evening of July 21 a special unit of the Azerbaijani armed forces made another attempt of an attack at the combat position of the “Anv” (“Fearless”) on the same border. The enemy was driven back, suffering significant losses.

Read original article in Russian language here.