New Proposal to Yerevan and Baku: the Peace Agenda

Armenia


The Azerbaijani foreign minister Elmar Mammedyarov has stated that the United States had offered the ministers of foreign affairs of Armenia and Azerbaijan to meet in Washington. The expected meeting was also mentioned in the joint statement of the co-chairs and ministers following the meeting in Moscow on April 15.

It also mentioned certain agreements, namely steps aimed at peace and confidence building to maintain the ceasefire, organize visits of media, as well as enable visits of relatives to persons held in custody on both sides.

In this context, what is the purpose of the possible meeting in Washington? It is evidence that the discussions and agreements in Moscow are not “final” and there is no need to continue.

Or is the United States simply going to hold a “quiz” to understand how conscientious the sides are to fulfill the agreements reached in Moscow, how realistic this is. The point is Baku because the agreements reached in Moscow had been offered by Yerevan regularly, even before the velvet revolution.

However, the significant difference is that Yerevan’s approaches become special among the political approaches and agenda put forth which were aggregated in the famous speech of Nikol Pashinyan in Stepanakert on March 12 followed by several other statements.

In this respect, ahead of the meeting in Moscow the former Azerbaijani foreign minister Tofik Zilfugarov made a statement, saying that the negotiations with Yerevan are meaningless, and Yerevan is obviously conducting a policy leading to freezing the conflict and puts forth an agenda serving it, presenting the well-known approaches.

In this case, what should be done if not negotiate? Zilfugarov did not comment on this issue in detail. Perhaps because Baku does not have a detailed answer because Yerevan still does not speak about the need for confidence building like before 2018 but puts forth political principles based on the rights of the Armenian side, including the participation of Artsakh.

While formerly Azerbaijan opposed its rights to the conversation on peace and mutual confidence, now it is facing difficulty – by speaking about his rights he will have to modernize or “wake” the issue of the rights of the Armenian side. In this sense, the situation will be further complicated if it moves on to the previous policy of border murders and blackmail.

Baku has to bypass the issue of rights with conversation about peace, being well aware of the danger and tendency of “freezing”. Baku needs this conversation to take place under the auspices of Moscow. The point is that Moscow is for freezing or peace without “documentation” to maintain the status of a direct manager of the situation, at least as a strategic reserve.

The United States supports a different approach, and “documentation” of the peace conversation, for example in the form of an agreement to rule out the use of force, gives the United States an opportunity for more effective remote control over the situation, including with regards to Russia.

Apparently, here is Washington’s interest to mature the peace conversation to a degree of a document that will apply to ruling out a military option, rather than a settlement proposal. It is notable that the Russian foreign minister Lavrov has stated earlier that he thinks this time the agreement will not remain on paper.

Lavrov was aware of Washington’s proposal on the meeting and perhaps it was the hint to Baku that in order not to face a tough demand of “documentation” in Washington Baku needs to achieve practicality in verbal agreements.

Official Yerevan has not expressed its opinion on a possible meeting in Washington but Yerevan perhaps does not need to decline a meeting if the process fits into the logic put forth by Yerevan and Baku keeps to it. Yerevan needs documentation of this logic or framework, defining the scope of responsibility for peace. This is approximately the same as what was proposed in May 2016 in Vienna which, however, started being neutralized by the Russian-Azerbaijani joint effort, and the former government of Armenia did not support that agenda then.



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