Naira Hayrumyan

Story from News:
16:16 29/01/2013

The visit of the Russian defense minister Sergey Shoygu overlapped
with two interesting events. First, he arrived in Yerevan on the
Army Day, as if hinting that this is a holiday not only in Armenia
but also in Russia. The press release on the meeting of Shoygu and
President Sargsyan notes that the sides have agreed to deepen military
cooperation. The extent is not specified.

It may be related to the second of the two interesting events -
meeting of the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan with the
OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs in Paris. During this meeting the airport
of Stepanakert was discussed. In the official press release there is
only a reference to their statement on the airport.

It is notable that in their statement of 13 July 2012 the co-chairs
stated: "Regarding reports of the planned opening of an airport in
Nagorno-Karabakh, the Co-Chairs received renewed assurances from the
sides that they will reject any threat or use of force against civil
aircraft, pursue the matter through diplomatic steps, and refrain
from politicizing the issue." Interestingly, in the same statement,
the Co-Chairs reaffirmed that operation of this airport cannot be used
to support any claim of a change in the status of Nagorno-Karabakh.

So what is the problem? In fact, the sides have assured they will
reject use of force against civil aircraft. Is the problem non-civil
aircraft? Or have the co-chairs agreed on more effective safeguards
for Karabakh?

Shoygu is inspecting the Russian military base in Gyumri. It is not
ruled out that during his visit a step will be taken towards the
airport of Stepanakert which is waiting for safeguards.

Today the weather is non-flying in Karabakh. Perhaps, therefore the
first flight will not be boarded by Serzh Sargsyan and Sergey Shoygu.

Although, Shoygu should not necessarily fly to Karabakh. It is enough
to state that Russian airlines will operate flights to Karabakh or
the airport will be defended by the Russian air force.

It is possible that the ministers and co-chairs reached agreement
in Paris over allowing foreign companies to operate civil flights to
Stepanakert. And the safeguard could be Russian anti-missile forces
or NATO mobile groups at the border of Karabakh or at the airport.

From: Baghdasarian