"I wouldn't put much faith in Yerevan's claims on peace"
Ukrainian expert tells Caliber.Az
INTERVIEWS 30 November 2023 - 17:54
Caliber.Az presents an interview with Ukrainian military expert, military-political observer of the Information Resistance group Oleksandr Kovalenko.
- What is your attitude to the statement of Armenian Parliament Speaker Alen Simonyan about the possibility of signing a peace treaty with Azerbaijan within 15 days? Where did Yerevan get this strange interest in speeding up the process it had delayed?
- In addition to discussing the possibility of signing a peace treaty, statements are also being made by Armenia and states that support it, such as France and the United States, that Azerbaijan is allegedly hatching plans to invade Armenian territory. These groundless but very ambitious statements are not just an element of propaganda; they reflect Armenia's current course, which is aimed at "securing" the border with Azerbaijan and creating a kind of security buffer there. Perhaps with the help of Western peacekeeping or even military missions.
Armenia may even have some specific agreements with its Western sponsors. That is why Yerevan goes to all lengths, including pretending to want to sign a peace treaty, as Simonyan said, but in reality, it will still drag out the process. Therefore, I would not take Yerevan's statements, especially about peace, at face value - Armenians have repeatedly made various peace-loving statements, but after a while they played the situation back. It is enough to remember how Armenia managed to delay some of its obligations under the Tripartite Statement of 10 November 2020 for as long as three years. So reliance on the decency of the Armenians should be extremely cautious.
- What do you expect from today's meeting of representatives of Baku and Yerevan on the conditional border?
- I do not expect anything. There may be some minimal developments, but only to confuse people. In my opinion, Armenia is not a reliable, long-term negotiator with Azerbaijan in the future.
- What kind of games are the US playing, accusing Azerbaijan of slowing down the peace process? First, US Assistant Secretary of State O'Brien voiced biased statements against Baku. Then Blinken calls Aliyev and asks for permission for O'Brien's visit to Azerbaijan in December. Why such complications and with what "face" will the Assistant Secretary of State come to Baku?
- O'Brien is the toughest spokesman for Washington's position on Azerbaijan. That is, in this way, Washington is trying to force Baku to accept the toughest speaker - and I see this as both an opportunity and a threat. If Baku has a counteraction to such pressure, which, among other things, could be successfully relayed in the Western information space, it is good. Because in this space, as a rule, there is a strong Armenian lobby.
If Azerbaijan is able to convey its position with maximum range through O'Brien's visit, his visit may be beneficial. After all, it is no secret that Washington is largely pro-Armenian. And the pro-Armenian position is the manipulation of historical facts and current reality, including on the Zangezur corridor and other issues. But Azerbaijan can seize the initiative if it uses all the tools at its disposal correctly and to its maximum advantage.
- How do you think relations between Armenia and Russia will develop in the future? Will Armenia leave Russia, the CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organisation) and the EAEU (Eurasian Economic Union)? Will it get the desired support in the West, which Yerevan is raving about?
- I do not think that Armenia will withdraw from the CSTO and the EAEU in any forced mode. Now it is rather determined to somehow restore its military potential, which was almost lost during the 44-day war of 2020 and later, during the 23-hour operation in Karabakh. It needs something to compensate for its losses. Russia did not fulfil Armenia's hopes and failed to help it in the Karabakh issue.
Therefore, Yerevan is now aiming to solve this problem with the help of India and France, which are likely to improve its defence capabilities. But I think that Yerevan will not be in a hurry to withdraw from any allied associations and blocs, including the CSTO. Because Yerevan probably understands that such a step is fraught with consequences - Armenia has some kind of military support, albeit ephemeral, due to certain obligations of the member states.
Yes, the CSTO is a stillborn organisation, which is how I feel about it, but it still has some instruments of influence. Therefore, Yerevan is now apparently choosing a consistent abstraction from Russia's interests rather than a sharp break, which Armenia may simply not be able to withstand.
But there can be no doubt that as soon as Armenia decides that it has been able to restore its defence capability, its withdrawal from the CSTO will be accelerated as much as possible. In the course of this process, I think Armenia will also seek certain guarantees from its new and old partners - guarantees of security and support for unpredictable events.
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