Markov, Shevchenko: Vienna meeting is a step towards peace in Karabakh
The resumption of the negotiation process on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which took place at yesterday's meeting between the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan, mediated by the foreign ministers of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chair countries, is very important itself, but in order to achieve a real progress it is necessary to launch a regular dialogue between the parties in the conflict with support of international mediators. That was stressed by Russian political experts Sergei Markov and Maxim Shevchenko in an interview with a correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza, while commenting on the results of the meeting between Ilham Aliyev and Serzh Sargsyan.
According to Shevchenko, the very fact of the meeting after a month and a half after April battles for Karabakh is commendable. "I highly assess these negotiations and believe this was a wisdom of the leaders of the two nations's leaders. A meeting at this stage means more than the actual agreements that could be reached during this meeting," he said.
Markov described the Vienna meeting of Ilham Aliyev and Serzh Sargsyan as a prologue to the long way of the Kazan formula implementation. "Speaking about essential arrangements, they agreed on the establishment of a system for monitoring at the border. This step will reduce military tensions in places, where forces are directly facing each other, but it should be followed by other talks with a small number of agreements initially, but then probably there may be an attempt to reach an agreement on the 'Kazan formula', which provides unlocking Armenia and Karabakh in exchange for the return of the occupied districts around Nagorno-Karabakh. Therefore, this meeting was urgently needed: it helped to resume negotiations," the expert explained.
He also expressed hope that the parties will adhere to the ceasefire for a few months. "It is clear that if they don't reach any serious agreement, there will next resumption of hostilities. In the near future Yerevan will require actions aimed at preventing new clashes, as the army and the economy of Azerbaijan is stronger now. Baku, in turn, will require progress in the negotiation process, pointing that Azerbaijan cannot agree with freezing of the conflict," the political expert expects.
Maxim Shevchenko stressed that today it is more important how the governments and peoples of the two conflicting states will behave. "The activity of the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict will depend on the ability to resolve issues on the agenda for the Azerbaijani and Armenian people. It is restoration of the territorial integrity for the Azerbaijani people and security guarantees for the Armenians, as well as return of Azerbaijanis and Armenians to their native lands. Without any solutions these fundamental humanitarian and political issues of the meeting are only talks during a truce," he warned.
Intensified work of intermediaries will help them, Sergei Markov pointed out. "The mediation process is organized in the right way now. They pretend in Vienna that this is an international platform, while there are only three real players – Azerbaijan, Armenia and Russia, and the United States and France are playing a passive role, which is a positive thing: Paris and Washington's passive roles highlight Russia's active efforts. That is, the Vienna platform is a nice decoration of the real work being done by Russia at the non-interference of other intermediaries. The only thing missing is the political will of the sides to finally reach agreement on the 'Kazan formula', and Russia should help the leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia with it," the expert said.
Both political scientist agreed that the situation in the zone of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has not changed yet, which was confirmed by today's ceasefire violations and the new losses of both sides.
"The situation remains the same as it was before the recent escalation of the conflict. In fact, it means the status quo, as no political issues have been resolved yet. The Azerbaijani regions must be liberated and a status of Karabakh must be guaranteed. This meeting was a protocol event to testify that Baku and Yerevan are ready for talks, not war. At the same time, the sides have shown that they are also ready for war," Maxim Shevchenko concluded.