On basis of what principles settlement of Karabakh conflict possible?
Another meeting of the Azerbaijani and Armenian foreign ministers is planned this month. The upcoming talks between Elmar Mammadyarov and Zohrab Mnatsakanyan are expected to discover unsolved intrigues of the previous four-hour discussions in Paris. The parties share the optimism about taking the negotiation process forward, as evidenced by consultations in preparation for the summit. If the summit is held, it will be the first peaceful meeting of the leaders of the conflicting states for many years, since in the past 10 years, the Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders hastily met only after another armed clash on the contact line.
The very fact of the negotiation process suggests that the parties have proposals, which are currently being analyzed and adjusted. Baku is ready to cooperate with Yerevan in the process of creating conditions for peace, security and stability in the entire South Caucasus region. Azerbaijan is ready to contribute to Armenia's economic growth, if Yerevan does not consider a solution to the Karabakh conflict to the detriment of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. Baku hopes that the new Armenian leadership's desire to find common ground will not become another populist rhetoric. Baku is interested in a stable partner and neighbor.
The Karabakh settlement opens up prospects for creating the energy triangle of Armenia-Iran-Azerbaijan. Several projects that were originally supposed to be implemented with Armenia's participation were reoriented towards Azerbaijan due to the fact that Baku was able to offer Tehran more favorable conditions. At the same time, energy communications are able to use Armenia's energy potential, including its nuclear and thermal power engineering, ensuring energy security for its entire industrial and business sector.
The preparation for the Aliyev - Pashinyan summit points to the fact that the leaders of the two countries will be able to present solutions that appear positive to them. Taking into account the fact that the Karabakh conflict is of fundamental importance both for Baku and Yerevan, the parties try not to undermine each other's prestige. Many drew attention to the fact that upon his return from the CIS summit in Dushanbe, Nikol Pashinyan said that "Ilham Aliyev gave the impression of being an educated man." The Azerbaijani leadership, in turn, notes that the new Yerevan government is a politically more stable force capable of negotiating. For this reason, the phrase "prepare the population for peace" should be considered in the sense that mutual concessions are possible in the Karabakh conflict settlement and they are being coordinated at the moment.
As for the principles of conflict resolution, the most effective is the 'road map' draft, which was presented at a meeting of Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders in Kazan in 2011. It provides for the de-occupation of the occupied areas, as well as a special corridor in Lachin region to provide communication between Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia. As for the future status of Nagorno-Karabakh, its definition is impossible without taking into account the opinion of the Azerbaijani community living in Karabakh. In any case, it will be possible to determine the future status after the transition period, during which all displaced people will be able to return home. Only in this case will it be appropriate to discuss the issue of whether to maintain the former administrative border of the former Karabakh autonomy.
Finally, a noticeable revival of the talks suggests that the parties consider the need for mutually beneficial initiatives aimed at realizing the region's trading potential in view of the rapidly changing global economic environment. The South Caucasian countries spend billions of dollars on armaments each year, although the region is already oversaturated with weapons.
In the modern world, bilateral interstate relations are increasingly replaced by a new international cooperation. Participants in this format are not just states and intergovernmental organizations, but also non-governmental organizations, as well as regions. Therefore, the settlement of existing conflicts will help the entire South Caucasus not to be vulnerable to relations with the outside world in the future.