Nov 30 2009

Zardusht Alizade News.Az interviews political scientist Zardusht

What do you expect from the Athens meeting of the presidents of
Azerbaijan and Armenia?

I don't expect anything. The positions of Azerbaijan and Armenia
are too different today to expect a breakthrough in the negotiation
process. In these conditions much depends on the position of the OSCE
Minsk Group co-chairs. If they increase the pressure on Armenia,
referring to its unconstructive position, a fair resolution of the
Karabakh conflict may be possible. Armenia really thinks that it
defeated Azerbaijan although this is not true.

Can we expect the OSCE Minsk Group to put enough pressure on Armenia?

This is a difficult question, as the United States, which co-chairs
the Minsk Group, is stuck in Afghanistan and Iraq and they need to
settle these problems as soon as possible. Another co-chair, Russia,
also has a great many problems, including domestic ones: the economy
has collapsed, science and research have collapsed, there is public
apathy and a very dangerous situation in the Caucasus. If Russia does
not change its attitude to the situation, review its foreign policy
or concentrate on settling its worsening domestic problems, all of
this may deteriorate further and events may take an undesirable turn.

Anyway, the existing problems do not allow Russia to concentrate
fully on the settlement of the problems facing the OSCE Minsk Group.

Meanwhile, the coordinator of the Armenian National Congress, Levon
Zurabyan, said recently that a framework agreement on Karabakh has
already been coordinated. What do you think of this?

Yes, I have heard this opinion, but actually that there is no agreement
on the issue inside the Armenian elite which is not ready to make
concessions on a fair settlement of the Karabakh conflict.

Azerbaijan has already made a compromise. And this is that our country
is ready to help Armenia get out of the deadlock in which it is mired
because of its territorial claims on a neighbouring state.

Considering this, can we expect a breakthrough in the resolution of
the Karabakh conflict during Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan's visit
to the United States? He is to meet Barack Obama on 7 December.

Certainly, Armenia had some hopes that they will separate the
Turkish-Armenian rapprochement from the resolution of the Karabakh
conflict. But it seems that the Turkish government managed to
demonstrate its position clearly and dismiss all these hopes. The
only thing left is to attain a final reconciliation of the positions
of the superpowers on the resolution of the Karabakh conflict. This
will probably occur during Erdogan's visit to the United States. If
so, by the end of the year the presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia
may sign a peaceful agreement on the resolution of the conflict.