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Armenian Paper Reviews 10 Years of Karabakh Cease-Fire Critically

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  • Armenian Paper Reviews 10 Years of Karabakh Cease-Fire Critically


    Novoye Vremya, Yerevan
    4 May 04

    Novoye Vremya headlined "Will cease-fire become peace?" on 4 May

    In several days, on 12 May it will be ten years of the cease-fire
    regime in the Nagornyy Karabakh conflict.

    Unfortunately during all these years of cease-fire the parties did not
    make the day of final political settlement of the NKR (Nagornyy
    Karabakh Republic) problem closer. Moreover, the Azerbaijani party is
    often coming forward with threats to restart battle actions, in fact
    refusing to search for mutually acceptable compromise in
    settlement. For this reason a question raises: is cease-fire
    transforming into final peace? There is not a strict answer to this
    question yet.

    There is not an answer because the parties have different attitudes to
    the conflict. In Armenia and Nagornyy Karabakh the cease-fire jubilee
    is understood as a positive phenomenon that promotes peaceful
    settlement of the conflict. But in Baku they have an undisguised
    attitude of irritation towards so long a term of cease-fire, because
    during that period they did not manage to return Nagornyy Karabakh to
    the constitutional field of Azerbaijan. As for the international
    intermediaries, they have the same point of view as the Armenian party
    has, regarding the problem.

    They had almost the same attitude towards the cease-fire ten years
    ago. The intermediaries had to work hard to make the Azerbaijani party
    to agree on a final cease-fire though it needed that most of all. Let
    us recall the events that took place ten years ago. (Passage omitted:
    In 1994, in Bishkek the cease-fire document was signed by the heads of
    the delegations of Armenia and Nagornyy Karabakh as well as by all the
    intermediaries except Azerbaijan. But the intermediaries continued
    their peacemaking efforts. Finally Heydar Aliyev agreed to accept the
    document, and it was signed by the head of Azerbaijani parliament.)

    How did the parties use the cease-fire? Unfortunately, they used it in
    different ways. The Azerbaijani party had a goal to buy time to
    strengthen its army with the hope of gaining military revenge over
    Armenia and Nagornyy Karabakh in future and to settle the conflict

    As for the Armenian parties, understanding very well the intentions of
    their neighbours, they did not forget about the rigging of their
    armies as well. Along with it they were urgently aspiring to build
    bridges (of trust) with Azerbaijan for the creation of a favourable
    atmosphere for constructive talks on a settlement.

    As for the talks, naturally they could not lead to a desirable result
    without trust between the parties of the conflict. Moreover, the
    Azerbaijnai party using the oil factor, started a policy of provoking
    the world and regional countries to implement political and economic
    isolation of Armenia. At the same time Baku did not at all take into
    account the interests of the world and regional states, insisting on
    setting the Armenian-Azerbaijani cooperation in the conditions of
    settlement of the conflict as a necessary step for creation of an
    atmosphere of mutual trust.

    To all appearances Azerbaijan intends to continue a policy of the
    isolation of Armenia and Nagornyy Karabakh. The recent speech of Ilham
    Aliyev at the PACE session in Strasbourg is evidence of this. The
    Azerbaijani president in fact confirmed that his country will continue
    to blockade any bilateral or regional cooperation with Armenia. As for
    setting measures of trust, he cynically said that withdrawal of troops
    from all the territories of Nagornyy Karabakh would become such a
    measure of trust. Though it is clear to any man of sober judgment that
    for such a step as withdrawal of troops, it is necessary to trust a
    neighbour that does not at all need that trust.

    The last condition means that Azerbaijan has not stopped fighting with
    Armenia and Nagornyy Karabakh and is not going to search for mutually
    acceptable peace with us. Simply it temporary transferred the
    bellicose actions into a sphere of policy and economy until "the best"
    time comes, that is, until the moment when it will have an opportunity
    to settle the conflict by means of force.

    In addition, agreement on cease-fire is not an agreement on a military
    conflict stopping as such. In connection with this, it should be
    recalled that there was a point in the document adopted ten years ago,
    according to which the parties obliged during ten days term to make an
    agreement about stopping of the armed conflict on the whole. In its
    turn it was necessary for settlement of all the military and technical
    issues before passing to the stage of direct political settlement. But
    this intention remained on a list and mainly because of the
    Azerbaijani party.

    The logic of the Baku authorities is quite clear. It does not allow
    fixing in any document a sentence about inadmissibility of a restart
    of battle. They think in Baku that such fixing will mean the final
    loss of Nagornyy Karabakh. By the way, as it was mentioned above,
    Azerbaijan is using the cease-fire with a purpose to gain force for a
    new war. By the way, the officials of Baku do not hide such
    intentions. If the intermediaries will not make Armenia refuse
    supporting of Nagornyy Karabakh, in that case Azerbaijan itself will
    take "its lands" back.

    Naturally, Armenia and Nagornyy Karabakh have their own plans on
    this. In Stepanakert as well as in Yerevan they think that there is no
    alternative to a peaceful settlement. Along with it, they understand
    what Azerbaijan hopes to. For this reason one should always be ready
    for unpredictable actions from official and unofficial Baku. Moreover,
    they are sure in Stepanakert that the way to the international
    recognition of the NKR is via building of really democratic statehood
    in Nagornyy Karabakh. Just this is being implemented in Karabakh in
    the conditions of the cease-fire regime, though slowly, with tests and