15:03 30.05.2014

On May 29, 2014, the Foreign Policy Journal published an article by
Aram Avetisyan entitled "Twenty Years of Karabakh Armistice: No Peace,
No Trust." The commentary discusses the Karabakh peace process and the
obstacles that have made a comprehensive peace agreement so illusive.

The full text of the article is provided below:

Twenty years have passed since a cease fire agreement was signed
between Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Nagorno Karabakh. While the truce
put an end the large-scale hostilities, there is no final peace
agreement, and the sides continue to suffer casualties. The question
why the cease fire has not lead to the comprehensive peace agreement
remains rhetorical; the lack of confidence between the parties and
aggressive behavior of Azerbaijan are major obstacles. Moreover,
the current phase of the peace process remains incomplete with no
comprehensive participation of Nagorno Karabakh authorities.

Why does Azerbaijan avoid negotiations with Nagorno Karabakh? Why does
Baku deny previous contacts with NKR authorities? The answer lies in
Baku's policy and goals towards everything Armenian. Throughout last
20 years of relative peace, the world and the region have witnessed
Azerbaijan's aggressive warmongering, instigation of hatred towards
Armenians, military build-up, and disregard of calls from the
international community to initiate confidence-building measures.

The goals are evident and not new. Just like during the war from
1991-1994, Azerbaijan uses cease-fire "breaks" to regroup and rebuild
its military capacities. As soon as it feels ready for another attempt,
the Azeri leadership begins blackmailing with renewed aggression and
demands from the Armenian sides to accept the unacceptable. Sniper
war and cross-border subversions are parts of these tactics.

Another aspect is Baku's efforts to distort the essence of the Karabakh
problem and misrepresent the issue as "Armenia's territorial claim
towards Azerbaijan". Azerbaijan manipulates with the UN Security
Council's resolutions regarding the Karabakh conflict and complains
about "occupation of its territories by Armenia". In reality, none
of those resolutions, which remained unimplemented at Baku's fault,
has ever mentioned Armenia as aggressor state, since Azerbaijan and
Nagorno Karabakh are the two principal parties to the conflict.

Two rhetorical questions: if the problem was between Armenia
and Azerbaijan, why then would president Aliyev (the father of
incumbent Azeri leader) delegate his envoys to negotiate with
official representatives of the NKR; why was the 1994 ceasefire
document entered into force after being signed by three parties,
including Nagorno Karabakh?

Restoration of the previous, OSCE-supported framework with
participation of the NKR will promote negotiations and facilitate
final settlement. Implementation of confidence-building measures (CBM)
by all sides, especially between NKR and Azerbaijan, will help reduce
the tension and create a favorable atmosphere for the two societies to
overcome the existing problems. Unfortunately, all previous attempts
to restore trust between the peoples failed after Azerbaijan blocked
any CBM initiatives she had received through the OSCE mediators.

The peaceful formula is simple: less casualties, less warmongering,
more trust, more chances to achieve regional peace. Through the last
20 years, Armenia and NKR have tried to persuade Azerbaijan that a
peaceful solution had no alternative, that snipers along the border
further aggravated the situation and postponed settlement. Today,
the Armenian states send the same message to "hawks" in Baku, calling
them to abandon revanchist aspirations and prevent another tragedy.

International community and mediators should make it clear that
Azerbaijani leaders must assume responsibility, and prepare its people
for peace, rather than war.

From: Baghdasarian