Turan Information Agency, Azerbaijan
January 31, 2014 Friday


Border violence while negotiating: US analyst says, strategic
acceleration of tensions might be a tactic?



Washington last week reinstated an urge towards Baku and Yerevan to
refrain from the use of threat or force. Meantime in Paris, MG
Co-chairs discussed the prospect of a peaceful, negotiated settlement
in their meeting with Azerbaijani-Armenian foreign ministers,
according to the MG statement. The presidents (Aliyev, Sarkisyan) are
due to hold next round of talks in the coming weeks.

Dr. Thomas Fiutak, a UN analyst and founding member of the New
York-based Mediators Beyond Borders, International policy resolution
think-tank, commented on recent developments around the conflict,
especially a weeklong escalation of violence in the line of contact,
in an interview with TURAN's Washington DC correspondent.

Q. As tension along the front line has escalated dramatically over the
last couple of days, at the time when peace process seemed to have
gotten back on its feet, some worry that violence might underline the
risk of a conflict...

Why do you think this is happening now?

A. The first principle to recognize in these types of negotiations to
distinguish the conflict from the disputes associated with it.
Strategic acceleration of tensions is a tactic used to influence the
dynamics of the negotiation that will shape the management of the
historical conflict.

While there may be externalities at play here, this increased tension
may signal the rising significance and possible secure management of
this conflict, which would force those who would use force to see
their options reduced, while those in negotiation having found
increased options. That would disaffect the previous sway that
violence had.

In any case, uncertainty is the ally of those who would press their
power to gain an advantage. One rationale for the increased violence
is that there is growing clarity in the cementing of nonviolent
options proposed and activated in the recent peace accord.

Q. How can the rhetoric ceasefire hold in the coming months, as the MG
Co-chars are trying to begin a new chapter of negotiation?

A. Ceasefire is a deflecting point in the conflict from escalation to
descalation. Those of violence may attempt to test the resolve of
those who champion nonviolent options. The key for the decision makers
of the ceasefire is to keep their eye on the larger conflict and its
management without the fantasy that this historical conflict can be
resolved, in the sense that it evaporates into nonbeing.

Violence is intended to shape the short-term dynamics of the conflict.
Negotiation is intended to rework the conflict into a manageable and
nonviolent future.

Q. Should international peacekeepers be involved in the conflict zone,
in case the tension reaches an uncontrolled point?

A. If international peacekeepers are used, the question that needs to
be addressed is who do they protect and what options do they have to
protect those in harm's way..?

Q Presidents Aliyev and Sargsyan met in Vienna in November for the
first time in two years and another meeting is due next month. What
differs the current dialog from Sochi/Kazan process that failed in
2012? What are the prospects to carry the negotiation further towards
the settlement?

A. These questions are of some interest but the main question is how
do these two peacemakers stay in continuous contact and interaction so
that the true interests of both and the countries they lead are
directly relayed rather than by intermediaries who may not reflect at
its heart these interests. All past negotiations are prologue.

Q. As the negotiation process is closed to the public, what should be
the first step or any sign that would handicap the real progress in
it?

A. There are always the real and apparent negotiation routes. It is
important to keep these in parallel accepting that confidentiality is
absolutely necessary but that confidence by the public will grow if
they know there are dedicated points of interaction of these processes
at which point the public will be more informed.

What will threaten any negation is when the publics who will be
affected see no opportunity to voice their interests.

Q. Secretary Kerry last year made clear that the US sees a serious
commitment to substantial talks as the Administration was prepared to
invest more resources in supporting it. What do you think the US could
do to facilitate the process and encourage both sides to the long-term
peace?

A. Provide real and apparent balance of support.

AlakbarRaufoglu Washington, DC




From: A. Papazian