End in settlement of Nagorno Karabakh conflict…approaching? – ANALYSIS

End in settlement of Nagorno Karabakh conflict…approaching? –<font color=red> ANALYSIS </font>
# 06 May 2009 13:01 (UTC +04:00)
Baku. Vugar Masimoglu – APA. For the first time after the Key West talks, so much intensity is observed in the negotiations on the Nagorno Karabakh conflict. For the first time all the parties having interests in the region except Iran participate in the diplomatic process. Visits of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs to the region within the past month, caused to surmise that an “X” process started. Improvement of Turkey-Armenia relations, statements of influential politicians and statesmen welcoming “the improvements in the settlement of Nagorno Karabakh conflict” and “steps taken to normalize Turkey-Armenia relations” , recent intensive process of diplomacy formed an obscure public opinion:
“It seems that some steps are being taken for the settlement of the conflict.”

Actually, the situation was made clear by former Foreign Minister of Turkey Ali Babacan last year. But the known incident in Azerbaijan State Oil Academy cast shadow on these statements. (It would not be bad to assess the terror attack against the background of the process on the settlement of Nagorno Karabakh conflict) Actually, Ali Babacan announced the details of the roadmap on the settlement of Nagorno Karabakh conflict and the political dialogues of the past week confirmed that multilateral dialogue began basing on the roadmap. Saying “New diplomatic process will begin soon for the normalization of Turkey and Azerbaijan’s relations with Armenia” , Babacan noted that along with the above-mentioned states, US, Russia and Switzerland would participate in the process. Analysis of Babacan’s statements gives ground to come to the conclusion concerning “X” process.

a) The process aims not only to normalize Turkey-Armenia relations, but also to solve the problems between Azerbaijan and Armenia. So, the opening of Turkey-Armenia borders in the new multilateral format takes place in parallel with the solution to Nagorno Karabakh conflict. Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov also confirmed after meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that both processes were taking place in parallel.

b) For the first time US, Russia and Switzerland will participate in the diplomatic process consisting of bilateral and multilateral negotiations. Participation of Switzerland in the process arouses interest. This country will very likely realize the mediation mission in the initial stage of Turkey-Armenia and Azerbaijan-Armenia diplomatic relations. Switzerland had before realized similar mission between Georgia and Russia through its embassies in Tbilisi and Moscow.

c) “Azerbaijani and Armenian presidents achieved important improvements in the negotiations”. This statement had been made on various levels before Ali Babacan. It gives ground to say that there is serious improvement in the process of negotiations. For long years it has been stated that the parties should demonstrate political will, but for the first time Turkey’s Foreign Minister did not say “there is a need for political will”, but said “the messages from both countries show that the political will allow to solve the problem”. It means that the barrier of political will in the settlement of the conflict has been overcome.

d) The most interesting points in the recent processes are the diplomatic messages that the process of the settlement of Nagorno Karabakh conflict will end soon. The first such a message was made by President Ilham Aliyev at the joint briefing with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in Moscow. “I hope the Nagorno Karabakh conflict will be solved soon enough. No one can ignore the progress in the process of negotiations, this progress raises our hopes that the conflict will be solved soon”. Similar statements were made by Russian President. “If contacts continue, I am sure the conflict can be solved taking into account the prepared proposals IN A Short PERIOD TIME in accordance with the interests of both peoples”. And finally Ali Babacan said “The possibility of solution is observed, and this is not the process to last for many years”. Judging from these views, the conflict will be very likely solved and in a short period of time. Taking into account the news of the Kommersant on the eve of President Ilham Aliyev’s visit to Moscow on April 17, “Azerbaijani and Russian Presidents will discuss the draft summit on the Nagorno Karabakh conflict”, then it is impossible not to see how serious the situation is.

e) What principles are discussed at the negotiations over the Nagorno Karabakh conflict? It is partly made clear in the statements of Ali Babacan or Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who has loaded word in the solution to the conflict. Turkish foreign minister said the details would be specified during the bilateral and multilateral dialogues within the hexangular of US-Russia-Switzerland-Turkey-Azerbaijan-Armenia. “We target to achieve “Win-Win” results”. It is clear that the question is the winning by both parts based on the mutual compromises. The main probability is that there is a solution on the table based on the exchange of territory. It can’t be out of view that Russian president also declared clearly for the first time “It is necessary to base on the norms of international law, UN and OSCE resolutions in the solution to the conflict”. Azerbaijani president also said at a briefing “We hope that we will achieve in the next few months the solution moved the process forward, within the interests of both peoples, within the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and based on the strengthening of international norms and principles in the region”, that leads us to a conclusion: “The alternative of solution made both parts to win, based on the norms of international law, UN and OSCE resolutions (Dmitry Medvedev), within the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan (Ilham Aliyev) is on the table of negotiations”. One point has to be mentioned. For the first time there is not a point about the inviolability of borders in the statements made at the different levels. It increases probability that the dialogue is about the solution based on exchange of territory because the exchange of territory is contrary to the principle of inviolability of borders.

f) If so many progresses were made in the diplomatic talks over the solution to the conflict, what factors can break the process? Ali Babacan emphasized the overcoming of one of the main obstacles – the barrier of political will of the parts to the conflict, but there is some hesitation in the Babacan’s statement: “If the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs Russia and the United States also express their will the problems can be resolved”. Russian president Dmitry Medvedev underlined “the third, but very complicated factors for both sides to show restraint and to see the prospects”. So the fundamental solution to the conflict depends not only on the political will of Azerbaijan and Armenia, but also on the analogical will of Russia and the United States, as well as third factors’ influence on the process. “The third, but very complicated factors” means that the societies are unready for the mutual concessions and establishing of atmosphere of mutual trust. The societies have objective reasons, like mutual hate and historic enmity, to be unready for “Win-Win” model and the Russian president considers just these factors calling it as “complicated’.

The bilateral diplomatic talks over the Nagorno Karabakh conflict have already begun according to the “road map”, which details announced by Ali Babacan. The Azerbaijani and Armenian presidents’ visit to Russia last month, meeting of foreign ministers of both countries with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to Azerbaijan on May 13 and to Russian on May 16, the meeting of Azerbaijani and Armenian presidents in Prague on May 7, as well as tripartite meeting between Turkish, Azerbaijani and Armenian presidents in Prague show that the process of multilateral dialogue has already been started. The important point of the dialogue will be the presidents’ meeting in Prague. It is important that what position Armenia will show despite that both parts expressed readiness to demonstrate political will. The statements made by Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov in Washington make conclusion that Armenia still hesitate in the solution to the conflict and the Prague meeting will show will the process started with high hopes give results or not.

It is still not possible to predict the results of the process despite the optimist statements of the diplomats. We compared the new multilateral dialogue over the Nagorno Karabakh conflict with Key West talks. Failure of the Key West negotiations delayed the settlement of the conflict for at least 10 years. If the dialogue process started today and which is more comprehensive and larger than Key West talks will also fail the solution to Nagorno Karabakh conflict will be delayed for 10 years more. At least!