Igor Korotchenko: peaceful settlement of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict beneficial to Armenia
At the upcoming talks on the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement at the highest level, Yerevan, despite the change of power, will once again take a non-constructive position and try to dead-lock the whole process, editor-in-chief of 'National Defense' magazine Igor Korotchenko told the correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza, speaking of his expectations from Friday’s meeting of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in Vienna.
"An ideal option would be Pashinyan’s decision to return the five Azerbaijani regions occupied by Armenian troops under Baku’s control. But unfortunately, it will not happen, and we will see Yerevan’s desire to delay the negotiations once again. In particular, Pashinyan will express a desire to put some 'NKR representative' at the negotiating table along with the leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia, which is absolutely unacceptable both in terms of international law, in terms of international mediators and in terms of common sense and justice. Of course, Baku will categorically oppose such an option," he said.
"I think that it will be crucially important for Azerbaijan to demonstrate its position at the negotiations with the new Armenian authorities. First, Azerbaijan has enormous military capabilities, and nevertheless it chooses politico-diplomatic methods to resolve the conflict, which once again underlines its commitment to a peaceful solution. Second, there are Azerbaijani territories occupied by Armenia, whose identity and status are not disputed, including by Yerevan itself. For these two reasons, under any scenario these areas must be de-occupied as soon as possible," Igor Korotchenko noted.
"The approximate mechanism of de-occupation of Azerbaijani territories: first, the five regions are released and Azerbaijani refugees return there, Azerbaijan starts restoring peaceful life there, while the CSTO peacekeeping contingent are deployed to the line of contact between the Armenian and Azerbaijani troops, excluding the possibility of resuming hostilities in this sector of the front line. The second stage is the release of another two occupied Azerbaijani regions, through which transport communication between Armenia and Karabakh is carried out, while Azerbaijan guarantees the preservation of non-military transit of goods between them. The CSTO peacekeeping contingent is deployed there and then into the territory of Karabakh, demilitarization is carried out, Azerbaijani refugees, internally displaced persons and their family members return to their native lands in Karabakh," he outlined his vision of a peaceful settlement of the conflict in the initial stages.
"Next is the creation of a joint Armenian-Azerbaijani police force to ensure law and order and maintain security in the territory. Then the parliamentary elections should be held under international supervision, and Nagorno-Karabakh's fate should be decided with the basic principle that it is the territory of Azerbaijan, but perhaps with a particular interim status. Most importantly, the economic growth of Karabakh is ensured, because Azerbaijan has enormous financial opportunities to invest and improve the standard of living of both the Azerbaijani and Armenian people in the region. At the same time, economic restrictions imposed by Turkey and Azerbaijan are lifted from Armenia, so it is able receive investments and energy resources from Azerbaijan. Thus, it is a win-win proposition," Igor Korotchenko emphasized.
"Of course, all this is unprofitable for those who want to continue the war and maintain the status quo. If given the right political will of the parties, it is possible to quickly and effectively resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, according to this scenario. Is Yerevan ready for this? I don't think it's ready now, and Pashinyan will take his former non-constructive position in Vienna. It’s important to understand that it’s impossible to occupy the territory of Azerbaijan indefinitely, it's an absolutely unacceptable situation and no one will support Armenia in it. In my opinion, the Armenian authorities' national egoism policy should give way to a policy of national interests," the expert pointed out.
"We see that Ilham Aliyev is going to Vienna with full awareness of his mission's importance and with desire to achieve concrete breakthroughs. Azerbaijan’s policy is aimed at the soonest possible resolution of the conflict by peaceful means. Baku is doing everything at a political and international level to solve this problem, demonstrates will to negotiate. The ball is on the side of Yerevan, let's see how it responds. Let's see how constructive Pashinyan will be in this situation. My forecast is not very favorable, but, in any case, negotiations should be held. May these negotiations will succeed," the editor-in-chief of 'National Defense' magazine concluded.