Sergey Markov: Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement requires strong power in Armenia
The establishment of new strong government supported by the population in Armenia increases the chance of a practical peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, director of the Institute of Political Studies Sergei Markov told the correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza, commenting 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.
Only a truly strong government in Armenia is able to make compromises on Karabakh, the expert stressed. "Prospects for a practical settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict improved because Pashinyan's power was established. It was always profitable for Armenia to get an economic deblockade in exchange for de-occupation of the territories around Karabakh, under any government - but such a bargain requires abandoning a radical approach of "the 100% Armenian character of Nagorno-Karabakh should be recognized in the first place, then everything else," Sergey Markov pointed out.
"In order to get away from such a radical position, it is necessary for the government to ignore the radicals. And it also requires the power to be consolidated and supported by the population," he added.
According to the political scientist, Pashinyan’s key incentive to settle the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is the course on the economic development of Armenia, stated in his revolutionary and, then, pre-election program. "If Armenia transfers the territories around Nagorno-Karabakh to Azerbaijan, the Azerbaijani and Turkish borders will be opened, which immediately gives Yerevan an opportunity to make an economic breakthrough," Sergei Markov said.
The path to a practical settlement of the conflict is unlikely to be simple in domestic political terms for Pashinyan. "On the one hand, when there is a real demand for change in the society, it would be appropriate as part of the global reforms of the Armenian state. But, on the other hand, Pashinyan has yet to seize the economic leverage in Armenian society and fight those previous authorities opposing him, which may take some time," the director of the Institute of Political Studies noted.
"If we talk about the future, the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict will cause a very serious rise in the standard of living and ensure high activity of the Armenian citizens. The Armenian people are hardworking people, and if they have an opportunity, they can do a lot. Open Azerbaijani and Turkish borders would give such an opportunity and create new jobs for Armenian citizens," Sergey Markov concluded.