Vienna meeting promotes negotiation process on Karabakh issue

Vienna meeting promotes negotiation process on Karabakh issue

There has been progress in the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement, according to the statements made following the Vienna meeting between Azerbaijan's Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov and Armenia's Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian, which was held yesterday.

The director of the Institute of Political Studies Sergei Markov, speaking with a correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that, proceeding from the Azerbaijani Foreign Minister's cautious statement that the meeting was positive and constructive, it can be concluded that there was progress in the negotiation process. "And not just any small progress, but the formation of a major breakthrough based on the Kazan formula," the expert explained.

"At the same time, the negotiations were very intensive in 2016, there were many rounds, a very complicated aspect of this temporary compromise was based on the Kazan formula, the essence of which is that Armenia returns part of the territory around Nagorno-Karabakh to Azerbaijan, and in return receives lifting of a blockade, two corridors, the demilitarization, the temporary status of Nagorno-Karabakh and the negotiation process. And the whole problem can be fully resolved later. But there was a pause linked to certain events. And now the negotiation process has been resumed: we see careful assessments of its actual progress," Sergey Markov pointed out.

The political scientist does not expect any radical changes before the next ministerial meeting, which is expected to take place in late January. "There will be many more rounds. During the New Year holidays it will be possible to hold negotiations inside the country, to find a consensus," he said.

The expert also drew attention to Russia's efforts to resolve the conflict, which plays a paramount role. "All the real work to create a compromise Kazan model and push the parties to its implementation has been done by Russia. It is very good that the Minsk Group at least does not interfere with these actions, because it hinders the rest of the issues - in Syria and Ukraine. But on Nagorno-Karabakh - it does not. This is, by the way, largely due to the diplomatic talent of the leadership of Azerbaijan," Sergei Markov concluded.

The Deputy Director General of the Trend information agency, political commentator Arzu Nagiyev, in turn, explained that the Azerbaijani side at this meeting proceeded from the condition of observance of the sovereignty of Azerbaijan, indicating the withdrawal of troops from the territory of Azerbaijan, from the occupied zone, and the fulfillment of the UN Security Council's resolutions as the crucial point.

"That is, we are talking about a step-by-step solution of the issue - first, the withdrawal of troops, then the transition to other issues, including the return of refugees from both sides, and then the rest. The OSCE Minsk Group is also interested in the fulfillment of the previously set conditions. That is, Azerbaijan is not okay with having talks just for the sake of talks," he stressed.

The political scientist recalled that Armenia, on the contrary, does not raise the issue of withdrawing troops from the territory of Azerbaijan. Arzu Nagiyev pointed out that as a result, the issues discussed are still open. "The Armenian side must solve them, after that there will be further actions. And we expect that this issue will also be raised at a meeting with the participation of OSCE representatives in 2018," the expert explained.

He noted that we can expect more significant results when the meetings will move to the highest level.

The political scientist also stressed that Russia plays a key role in the process of the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement. "The superpowers represented in the OSCE Minsk Group should work closely on these issues in order to achieve positive success. I think it's too early to speak about any practical actions now. Next year there will be elections in both Russia and Azerbaijan. And it requires positive successes in this issue, because the solution of the Karabakh problem is the top political priority for Azerbaijan. And I think that if we really want peace and solution to this conflict, we should make some mutual concessions, of course, except for the sovereignty of the state," Arzu Nagiyev concluded.