"Armenia gears up to draw French military into the region"
    Chechelashvili and Arkov talk to Caliber.Az

    INTERVIEWS  12 September 2023 - 11:24

    Vadim Mansurov

    Armenia's recent statements amid the escalation on the conditional border leave little doubt that it is trying Azerbaijan's temper. Maybe the Armenian authorities do not realize that it is one step from the breakdown of negotiations, the pulling of heavy weapons to the border, and propaganda provocations following one after another to a full–scale war. Do Armenians really want to see hundreds, thousands of dead soldiers, overcrowded hospitals, and the defeat of military equipment and personnel of the army?

    According to Valery Chechelashvili, a Georgian diplomat, member of the GSAC board, former deputy foreign minister of Georgia, and former GUAM Secretary General, the movement of military columns from the Armenian side of the conventional border is very alarming. In a conversation with Caliber.Az, Chechelashvili admitted that after the Azerbaijani-Armenian negotiations got on the Washington track and the summit meetings in Brussels, he was almost sure that a peace treaty would be signed soon, but now everything has seriously stalled.

    "This unnecessary diplomatic war started by Armenia in the UN Security Council and everything else. In general, there is a feeling that we are approaching a line when the situation will become unmanageable. However, there are positive signals now: it is reported that the Armenian Foreign Ministry is kind of ready for negotiations, and Pashinyan says that he is ready to meet with Aliyev. This is good, but it seems to me that we have to look forward and think about how to solve the situation. And the way out seems to be only in direct contact between Yerevan and Baku, no matter how difficult they may be.

    On the whole, however, it is clear that there is no trust between the sides, that negotiations from Baku's point of view are often held only for the sake of negotiations, and in reality, Armenia is stalling and there are no real results. And this opinion of Azerbaijan cannot be ignored. During the two diplomatic marathons in Washington, the structure of the peace treaty and some provisions have already been agreed upon. As I think, in order to give a constructive course to the negotiations again, first of all, it is necessary to remove the most acute component of disagreements - to start using the Aghdam road and accept the very 40 tonnes of food that the Azerbaijani Red Crescent sent to Karabakh. Then it is necessary to use the Lachin road, and further on the basis of mutual agreements to finally launch transport communications between mainland Azerbaijan and Nakhchivan. In the course of this process, we can gradually find some points of contact and nurture seedlings of trust. And do not forget that the alternative to all this can only be war, which will be bad for everyone: Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia because we will lose our attractiveness as a region and stick in the bog of confrontation, which some of our neighbours will rejoice and applaud," the former GUAM Secretary-General said.

    Vitaly Arkov, head of the PolitRus information and analytical portal, stressed that the current tension is created by Armenia, while Azerbaijan is trying to pre-empt provocations by responding proportionately and throwing cold water on Armenian revanchists. And now the main thing for Baku is to prevent losing control over the situation.

    "In this sense, I would like to wish Azerbaijan patience since it is really not easy to live with such a neighbour. But I think that over the years the Azerbaijani leadership has learnt to react adequately to these games and provocations of Yerevan," the political analyst stressed.

    At the same time, Armenia's current escalation of the situation is based on plans to attract UN international forces to the region by any means.

    "And if at first there was talk about Karabakh, then now, having arranged a provocation on the border, it will be possible to declare that Azerbaijan has allegedly invaded the territory of Armenia and to achieve at the urgently convened session of the UN Security Council the introduction of peacekeeping forces, consisting mainly of French soldiers from the French expeditionary corps. The fact that Armenia is persistently working off the interests of Paris in this performance is actually evident. At the same time, Yerevan will accuse Russia of failing to fulfil its function as a deterrent both in Karabakh, where the peacekeepers are stationed and in Armenia. This is certainly not true, and as we can see, Azerbaijan has no special claims to the Russian peacekeepers, only Armenia has them. And Karabakh is the territory of Azerbaijan, which means that Armenia should not care about it at all. But I do not rule out that if the provocation does not work, then some French consulate or diplomatic mission will appear in Syunik (Zangazur - Ed.) under the guise of peacekeepers, which means that the French military will settle there. Or the same, but under the guise of a monitoring group, ostensibly to protect Armenia from the attack of Azerbaijan. Now we see the prerequisites for the implementation of this plan. I think this is where everything is going," Arkov said.


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