Gevorg Mirzayan: "Society is not ready for Karabakh conflict settlement"
On August 26, an unmanned aerial vehicle of the Armenian Armed Forces that attempted to violate the airspace of the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic and carry out reconnaissance flights over the positions of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces was shot down. In addition, both sides report about attacks on their positions every day, which causes even bigger concerns after the April escalation of the situation in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone. Researcher at the Institute of USA and Canada Gevorg Mirzayan spoke about the prospects of a settlement of the conflict in an interview with Vestnik Kavkaza.
- There is a widespread belief that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is not local, that the situation on the contact line between the Azerbaijani and Armenian troops is getting even worse because the US, the EU and NATO are trying to force Russia out of the Caucasus, creating new tensions on its southern borders. Do you agree with this?
- I completely disagree. Why should the Americans add fuel to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict? If Nagorno-Karabakh was to explode right now, a war would break out, and no one would invest anything in the energy projects of the region. Pipelines can't work in unstable conditions. This is a strategically long-term project. If the existing Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline (there is a security system, of course, but still) were to be damaged in the course of military operations, it would be great for Russia, and very bad for the United States. Why would the Americans need this? It's too expensive. It would be much easier and cheaper to take Armenia away from Russia's influence using soft power.
- Could a settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict affect the development of the South Caucasus region, particularly major regional projects such as 'North-South' and the Southern Gas Corridor?
- If we assume that a compromise on Nagorno-Karabakh were reached tomorrow, it does not mean that the conflict would be resolved. There is an entire generation already that was raised in an atmosphere of hatred. I don't see any prospects for cooperation between Azerbaijan and Armenia in the foreseeable future.
- How much does this settlement depend on the leadership of Armenia and Azerbaijan? Are the current authorities of Armenia, headed by Serzh Sargsyan, interested in a settlement of this conflict? Would they benefit from it?
- Perhaps he would benefit from it, but he can't take steps to resolve the conflict. And not because Russia or someone else prohibits it, but simply because it requires serious compromises, a willingness to compromise, it is necessary for leaders not to be afraid to tell society: "Guys, tomorrow we will end this conflict and move to normalization of relations!" But no one will do it. Armenian society is not ready for a normalization of relations, because the atmosphere of hatred has existed for a long time.
- So you believe that society is not ready?