Nov 30 2009

In the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict the West does not want to be on
either the Armenian or Azerbaijani side. They just want no wars or
bloodshed in the former Soviet Union, Alexander Rar, a European expert
in energy and the CIS, stated in his interview with 1news.az.

If peace reigns there, the West is ready to invest capital and wants
to exercise influence. But they do not have a key to help resolve the
conflict, Rar said. The expert believes that hostilities will not
resume, as the West will not support them. Azerbaijan's statements
on this possibility are mere attempts to exert pressure on the
international community.

As regards the prospects for settling the conflict this year, Rar
said that no radical changes should be expected. The European Union
will only try to pressure Armenia and Azerbaijan into opening their
economies for western investments. According to him, the EU will
try to launch joint economic projects that would make the three
Transcaucasian states one market.

The EU is making efforts to shape positive moods in both the states
for the future generations to discuss the Nagorno-Karabakh problem
without intense emotions and reach an agreement, Rar said, without
making any forecasts of Russia's furthers. Russia will naturally
support now Armenia now Azerbaijan. Armenia is Russia's military ally.

It is a deterrent factor for the West in the South Caucasus.

Azerbaijan, in turn, is Russia's major energy partner in the South
Caucasus. So Russia has to "run with the hare and hunt with the
hounds" like the EU does. The conflict is difficult to resolve as
all the sides are looking at both the conflicting parties, Rar said.