Trend, Azerbaijan
Feb 12 2011

Nagorno-Karabakh: Time arrived for decisive actions

Elmira Tariverdiyeva, commentator of Trend's European desk

The next visit of OSCE Minsk Group on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict
settlement ended. According to the mediators, the first trip in the
new year was aimed at defining an action program for 2011.

After meetings in Yerevan with Armenian president, foreign minister
and defence minister, the co-chairs refused to comment on the talks,
without saying anything concrete upon arrival in Baku as well. French
co-chair Bernard Fassier said only that the current MG mission is to
promote the going efforts to advance the basic principles on peaceful
resolution of the conflict.
After the visit, the OSCE Minsk Group published a traditional
statement that again urged the parties to the peaceful resolution of
territorial dispute. All these would be not so important, if there
would not be several events around the Nagorno-Karabakh, which have
occurred over recent period.

In the statement, co-chairs finally made some specificity. According
to them, the time has arrived for decisive action on behalf of peace
to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

It is possible that the OSCE Minsk Group has real preconditions for
such statements. After the disappointment from the OSCE Astana summit
in December, the Nagorno-Karabakh conflicting sides and the mediators
did not slow down the negotiations, continuing to work to find

Moscow hosted talks between Azerbaijani, Armenian and Russian foreign
ministers Elmar Mammadyarov, Edward Nalbandian and Sergei Lavrov on
the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict on Jan. 25.

Intensive consultations are underway among the foreign ministers of
Azerbaijan, Armenia and Russia, Russian Permanent Representative to
the OSCE Anvar Azimov said on Thursday. The frequency of such meetings
shows the seriousness of the work carried out in this format and the
focus of the parties on specific and practical results.

"Thus, a proper basis is being developed for a new meeting of the
Azerbaijani, Armenian and Russian leaders," Azimov said at a meeting
of the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna.

In the near future, it is also possible to expect the involvement of
EU in the negotiation process around Nagorno-Karabakh.

"The unresolved conflicts in the South Caucasus continue to represent
the primary threats to the region's stability," EU Special
Representative for the South Caucasus Peter Semneby said at a meeting
of the OSCE Permanent Council in Viennatoday, emphasizingthat the
security situation in Nagorno-Karabakh was of particular concern.

It is really time for mediators to think about that the status-quo in
the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement threatens to destabilize the
entire region that will impact on foreign players as well. Tensions in
the region significantly increases, which is supported by statements
from both sides. Azerbaijan is losing patience because of the
prolonged occupation of its lands on the backdrop of provocative
actions by the Armenian side, which threatens with the recognition of
independence of Nagorno-Karabakh, calls for the recognition of another
"Armenian genocide" by Azerbaijan, and speculates the example of a
referendum in Southern Sudan.

At a meeting with the co-chairs, the defence minister of Azerbaijan
Safar Abiyev said that the country would resort to any methods to
liberate its territories, including through the force component.

In this case, Baku, who has so long hoped for progress in the peace
process, now looks forward to the international community and requires
a direct pressure on Yerevan to withdraw from seven occupied
Azerbaijani districts. Otherwise, Azerbaijan does not see the effect
of talks on the need for a speedy resolution of the conflict.

In addition, on the eve of the OSCE Minsk Group's visit, the
International Crisis Group, which consists of leading experts and
analysts, issued a report "Azerbaijan and Armenia: Preventing War".

The report noted that the tensions in the region are growing on the
backdrop of deteriorated situation on the line of contact and the
failure of peace talks, which would make a new armed conflict in the
South Caucasus far more deadly than the 1992-1994 one that ended with
a shaky truce, the report said.

According to Crisis Group experts, Regional alliances could pull in
Russia, Turkey and Iran. Vital oil and gas pipelines near the front
lines would be threatened.

Given the above-mentioned, the mediators must understand that in this
situation Baku has every reason to be impatient, while Armenia has no
right to delay the negotiations, continue finding more and more absurd
pretexts to maintain the status quo.

From: A. Papazian