Coming months to be decisive for Baku-Yerevan peace deal
    Russian pundit on Caliber.Az

    INTERVIEWS  10 May 2023 - 18:09

    Matanat Nasibova

    Caliber.Az presents an interview with Russian pundit and publicist Ruslan Safarov.

    - In your opinion, will the forthcoming meeting of Azerbaijani and Armenian foreign ministers in Moscow be effective? Is progress possible on the Russian negotiation track?

    - Much will depend on the outcome of Prime Minister Pashinyan's visit to Moscow. The Kremlin sees an Armenian "double-dealing" with NATO, and the reception may be cool. In short, Moscow has long outlined its position: the delimitation of borders according to the maps of the late 1980s (Alma-Ata principle), which means the recognition of Karabakh by Armenia as part of Azerbaijan, and the Armenian-Iranian border (and, consequently, control over the Zangazur corridor) under the supervision of Russia.

    For Yerevan, this is comparable to the Roman principle “woe to the vanquished”, since this peace closes the “miatsum” page of the country's history, and even increases its dependence on Moscow. Official Baku understands all this, which is why the differences in settlement issues with Moscow are minimal.

    - Brussels also demonstrates activity in the negotiations between Baku and Yerevan. What does the leaders' meeting in Brussels promise this weekend?

    - Even Pashinyan is already dissatisfied with the EU mission in Armenia, realizing that this is another crossed-out line in the list of Armenian hopes for third forces. The European Union needs Azerbaijan's oil and gas. Armenia is an object through which Azerbaijan can be crushed. So, frankly, the expectations from the new meeting are not so great.

    Speaking of venues, it is important not to lose sight of the course of the diplomatic game itself. Yerevan has tried all possible mediator forces. The answer is almost the same everywhere: Moscow outlined its positions in November 2020, and the United States is still saving Armenia, seeing it as the key to a big war in the region (whether this key is useful will become clear during the second half of this year), the European Union is not ready to dive deep into the conflict – it much prefers to agree with Baku on resources. Shortly, Yerevan hopes only for a chance, which can only appear during a big war in the region.

    - Still, in what terms, in your opinion, is it possible to conclude a peace agreement, given the unpreparedness of Armenia for this?

    - I think the coming months will be decisive. There are several factors that can give Armenia a little hope. If they do not play, then peace will finally be signed. In any case, I can designate the most distant date for the end of the Armenian-Azerbaijani settlement: December 2025. After this date, a peace treaty will no longer be a matter of principle for Azerbaijan - the problem will be solved by itself.

    - With what instructions do you think Pashinyan will return from Moscow this time?

    - I don’t think that he was given earlier or will be given “instructions” this time in Moscow. Pashinyan is not a Russian project, he and the Kremlin have confirmed it in deeds. As the leader of an allied state, Russia has many questions for him: above all, over the Armenian "two chairs". This was tolerable for Moscow, but I will note again until Yerevan started openly flirting with NATO. In the current conditions, these are hardly acceptable manoeuvres for Russia.


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