Russian pundit warns 2020 may happen again If Armenia fails to resolve conflict peacefully
    Caliber.Az talks to Alexei Naumov

    INTERVIEWS  20 May 2023 - 11:57

    Matanat Nasibova

    Russia's proposal to deploy the CSTO mission on the conditional Armenian-Azerbaijani border has not yet been removed from Moscow's agenda, which is very annoying for Armenia, which disagrees with such a prospect.

    As you know, Moscow has repeatedly offered Yerevan to use the CSTO mission, but Pashinyan preferred to open the arms of the EU paramilitary mission. True, it recently turned out that European observers did not please the Armenian prime minister either, primarily with their passivity, which, in the understanding of Pashinyan and his team, means a refusal to rush to the aid of Armenian provocateurs and trumpet to the whole world about the violation of various kinds of international obligations by Azerbaijan.

    And on May 19, the unflattering statements of Vigen Khachatryan, a member of the National Assembly from the ruling Civil Contract faction, have “ripened up” and criticised Russia’s policy, emphasising that “the presence of Russian observers [the CSTO observation mission] on the territory of Armenia may become an occasion for a new aggression against Armenia”.

    “Russia has assumed certain obligations by deploying its peacekeepers and border guards on the territory of Armenia and Karabakh. However, then they retreat and Azerbaijani soldiers immediately appear in their place. This creates certain reasons for concern,” the MP said, talking to journalists in parliament.

    He suggests that "the CSTO observers can do the same." That is, they can either leave the territory entrusted to them or make extremely contradictory statements about this or that border incident.

    It is worth noting that Khachatryan’s criticism of the CSTO was voiced precisely at the time when another round of negotiations on a draft peace agreement between Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov and Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan was taking place in Moscow, after which a trilateral meeting was to be held on May 25 with the participation of President Ilham Aliyev and Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan through the mediation of Russian President Vladimir Putin. And, apparently, Putin will raise the issue of the CSTO mission with Pashinyan.

    The CSTO mission proposed by Moscow was also noticed by the Russian expert community. Leading expert of the Russian International Affairs Council Alexei Naumov, in a comment to Caliber.Az, regarded the attacks of the Armenian MP on the CSTO as confirmation of the collapse of the Armenian political system.

    “We see that Nikol Pashinyan is not able to maintain control even over his own party. The statements that the MP from the ruling party allows himself to voice can only be called provocative, counterproductive and subversive. We understand that now the CSTO and Russian mediation is the only chance for the situation to remain within the framework of a constructive resolution of the conflict and a civilised approach. And time after time we see how radical political forces in Armenia torpedo any attempts to approach the situation with restraint.

    Meanwhile, all these attempts do not have much time left, and the temporary presence of Russian peacekeepers in Karabakh is called temporary because it is not endless. Therefore, if the Armenian side does not make efforts to resolve the conflict peacefully, then it will take exactly the same turn as in 2020. Nikol Pashinyan, of course, should establish what is called party discipline, because the future of the Armenian state is at stake. When the political system collapses, it is not clear who is responsible for what, who is responsible and governs the country, and in the end, everything together does not bode well for Armenia,” Naumov is convinced.

    At the same time, the Russian pundit does not consider the process of the Armenian-Azerbaijani settlement "as abrupt".

    “This is a process of gradual and constant pressure on Armenia in order to force it to fulfil its obligations. Of course, sometimes quantity will turn into quality, through a leap, but we cannot say that one meeting is more useful than another. I believe that it is necessary to meet at all venues in order to demand that Armenia fulfil its obligations - both in Moscow, and in Brussels, and in Washington, as well as agreement with the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and the delimitation of the border. Therefore, I believe that a decision on the CSTO observation mission can be expected after the meeting of the three leaders in Moscow, and not after the negotiations of the foreign ministers. It is very important to keep the focus on this impact and not gloss over this topic. Azerbaijan does just that: constantly reminds of its demands and rights. And we see that when Baku's demands are not heeded, for example, a checkpoint appears on the Lachin road, which ensures Azerbaijan's right to self-defence against armed provocations. Therefore, it is good that these meetings are underway, and Azerbaijani diplomatic pressure on Armenia continues. Personally, I do not lose hope that this year we will see the conclusion of a peace agreement and the final resolution of this conflict,” Naumov summed up.


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