Alexey Fenenko: if no concessions made on Karabakh, Pashinyan to have a spat with Russia
Nikol Pashinyan’s team is faced by a situation where a transition to a practical settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is less risky than further maintaining the status quo and delaying the negotiations, which ultimately resulted in the loss of power in Armenia by the Karabakh clan of Sargsyan and Kocharyan.
Associate Professor of the Department of International Security of the Faculty of World Politics of Moscow State University, Alexey Fenenko, speaking with the correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza, commented on the positive results of the talks between the Foreign Ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia Elmar Mamedyarov and Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, who expressed the need to take concrete measures to prepare the people of both countries for peace. The ministers' talks were positively assessed by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who stressed that "the statements from Baku about the readiness to look for solutions, deserve all support." "We hope that our Armenian friends will reciprocate," Lavrov said.
Aleksey Fenenko noted that the de-occupation of Azerbaijani regions around Karabakh, which have been held by the Armenian armed forces for more than 25 years, is on the agenda in the first place. "The task number one now is the fulfillment of the agreements reached in St. Petersburg in June 2016. This includes a gradual demilitarization of five adjacent to Nagorno Karabakh areas, which starts small: Armenia demilitarizes two districts. Then all other districts are demilitarized, giving start to negotiations on the status of Karabakh," he said.
According to the expert, Pashinyan has a serious incentive to find a compromise with Baku in the framework of the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement. "The fact is that when Pashinyan came to power, he hoped that the United States and France would help him put pressure on Azerbaijan at any cost. But apparently, after his visits to these countries over the past months, he somewhat lost faith that the West would support him. In fact, there is no reason for the United States and France to quarrel with Azerbaijan and its ally Turkey on the Karabakh issue for the sake of Armenia. They exploit new Armenia against Russia, Iran and, partially, Turkey in their own interests, but they will not pursue Yerevan's interests," the associate professor of the Department of International Security of the Faculty of World Politics of Moscow State University pointed out.
"There is no good way for Pashinyan now. Armenia's hysterical flag-waving emerging over the last ten years of Serzh Sargsyan’s rule can lead to dissatisfaction with any Pashinyan’s concession. But, on the other hand, the lack of concessions on the part of Yerevan with high expectations of Moscow means a quarrel with Russia, the risk which the new authorities are not able to take without the support from the West," Alexei Fenenko stressed.
"Pashinyan, having achieved legitimacy, is in an unpleasant trap - he sees that nobody is going to take a risk for his sake, but at the same time he understands that in the absence of any progress in Armenia, even more radical forces can come on stage, which will be able to overthrow his just established authority," the expert concluded.