PROGRESS IN KARABAKH TALKS POSSIBLE BY SUMMER
Yekaterina Poghosyan

PanARMENIAN.Net
May 2, 2011

UK's special representative for the South Caucasus, Sir Bryan Fall
visited Yerevan lately. In a conversation with a PanARMENIAN.Net
reporter, he commented on his vision for the Nagorno Karabakh conflict
settlement and Armenian-British relations.

How do you assess the results of your visit to Armenia?

We meet twice every year to hold consultations between the foreign
ministries - last time in London, and this time in Yerevan. These
visits give me a chance to see what's being been happening, to and
have a look at what is in prospect and try to make sure that relations
are developing in a positive direction. My impressions are that the
Armenian side and the British side share the same objectives and do
practical things together.

As a Special representative, I am also interested in conflict
resolution. Although the UK is not a member of the Minsk Group, but we
support the Co-chairmen and the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan.

I was also able to have informal meetings with the American and French
Co-chairs as well as with the Russian ambassador to Armenia and now I'm
much better informed than I was. The main principle is to have a peace
paper agreed by the sides. There is much to be done and there is a busy
program of meetings which will help produce positive results by June.

And another important thing. My last meeting in Armenia was with
President Sargsyan and we talked not only about his negotiations
with the Co-chairs and his Azerbaijani counterpart but also about
the prospects for Armenia, including the civil society, economic and
social developments and human rights.

Which is are the UK's interests of the UK have in the South Caucasus
and which is thewhat role does Armenia plays in Britain's regional
policy?

We look at the South Caucasus in terms of relations with three
independent, friendly countries. It is a region and of course we
would like to see the three countries working together, especially
with regards to finding a peaceful solution to Nagorno Karabakh. We
want these countries to live in peace and democracy, for with the
rule of law, economic prosperity, social development, human rights. In
relations with Armenia, there are three principalles issues: Nagorno
Karabakh, Nagorno Karabakh and Nagorno Karabakh, because the prospects
in the for economic development would have huge advance hugely if
a peaceful solution to the conflict could be found and Armenia will
focuses on its domestic issues.

The Eastern Partnership initiative has an important role in the EU
policy in the South Caucasus. How can it help resolve the existing
problems in the region?

It would be much better if the Nagorno Karabakh problem was solved.

But doing nothing until it's solved is not a good idea because we don't
know when success will come and we need to make progress starting
now. The relations with each of three countries will be individual;
there will be no "uniform" one size fits all". We believe that the
Eastern Partnership is not there to please foreigners; it should be
really be good for Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan.

You are optimistic about the Nagorno Karabakh conflict. However,
tensions have escalated and the number of victims at the contact line
is growing...

Loss of life is a great worry, you are right to mention it. It should
be a signal to the international community to attach urgency to
encouraginge a settlement. The disaster that would follow from the new
fighting is so obvious. Efforts should be doubled to find a solution.

And success meanis a compromise from both sides. The spring is usually
an active period when ministers and presidents meet and progress can
be achieved.

How do you look at the fact that Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh welcomed
the proposal of the international community to withdraw snipers from
the frontline while Azerbaijan rejects the idea?

We believe that withdrawal of snipers from the contact line would
be a very good idea that will reduce the risk of hostilities. We do
not see a military solution to this problem, which - it would beis
undesirable and impossible.

How would you comment on Azerbaijan's threats to shoot down
Karabakh-bound planes? Doesn't this rhetoric sound alarming?

I am not an expert on civil aviation. But if, I am saying "IF",
establishment of a flying route is seen as an attempt to change the
situation, thenso probably it is not a constructive move. However,
shooting down civil aircrafts is not a good thing to do. So, the
approach to this issue should be very cautious.

Presently, Nagorno Karabakh, the party that most of all suffered in
the conflict, is not engaged in settlement talks. Do you think it's
possible to reach an agreement without participation of Karabakh?

If you look back to 1994 when the ceasefire agreement was signed, it
had signatures from top military officials of Nagorno Karabakh. If you
do think about changing that and bringing in Nagorno Karabakh back to
the table, so it will be an interesting diplomatic game - designing the
shape of the table. However, Azerbaijan will refuse to see Karabakh as
an independent state. We came across the problem in the past. Anyway,
I am sure that the government of Armenia will never accept something
that is fundamentally unacceptable for the people of Nagorno Karabakh.

What does the UK think about the process of normalization of
Armenian-Turkish relations?

We always hope. I think it's important that two countries with which
we have friendly relations are able to move from this artificial
position. Elections are coming in Turkey are coming soon and I do
not think that any one expects any major change before them. If the
problem was easy it would have been solved long ago. The protocols
were a huge step forward, in our view. They haven't been ratified,
which is a pity, but they haven't disappeared either and probably we
will come back to them.




From: A. Papazian