There is no better way to assert oneself than through military victory and an ability to create. Azerbaijan has shown both. Although some expected Baku to sit and wait for a peace treaty and universal approval while immersed in endless negotiations before it makes any further moves. And that could take years, during which the Armenians would try to regain their lost positions.
Yes, perhaps this is what an insecure country would have done. Not Azerbaijan. Baku decided to mix business with pleasure: to deal with the issues of reviving the regions devastated by the Armenians, while rigorously pursuing a peace treaty. A peace treaty will be signed no matter what, and it will be signed under the terms and conditions dictated by the winner. External actors, who have abandoned hope to attain something for the defeated aggressor, to persuade or force Baku, understand this as well. After the trilateral meeting in Brussels, where Yerevan was confronted with the matter upfront, this reality became even more evident.
Of course, we cannot know the details of the meeting, but the behavior of the Armenian side after the Brussels meeting makes it clear that it had been given the last warning.
A couple of days ago Armenian media reported, citing reliable sources, that Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan had held a closed meeting with MPs from the Civil Contract party, where he briefed them on the results of the Brussels meeting with President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and President of the European Council Charles Michel. And he said that a peace treaty with Azerbaijan must be signed before the end of the year. Must be. Stringent conditions were put before Yerevan, and there is no room for further maneuvering. Especially since there is no one else to cover its rear.
One can only smile now, when one recalls Pashinyan stating a year and a half ago that a peace treaty was out of the question if the Azerbaijani side did not do this and that. Yerevan sincerely hoped to blackmail Baku with this document, the absence of which, they believed, gave the appearance that the conflict was ongoing and Azerbaijan’s victory in the war was “illegitimate”. It was truly hilarious. It took Yerevan two years to realize that even the most devious games are meaningless when dealing with a politician of the Azerbaijani leader’s caliber.
The media reports were first thought to be a hoax, but yesterday Andranik Kocharyan, the chairman of the parliamentary defense and security committee, Pashinyan’s associate, confirmed to the journalists the fact of the meeting and everything the prime minister had said there. He avoided the question of specific timeframe, but made it clear that work is underway and it is not in Armenia’s interests to drag it out; it simply has no other choice but to sign a peace treaty. “The enemy knows the effects of stalling all too well. Now we ourselves are in a situation where we have no chance to stall,” the prime minister’s fellow party member acknowledged bitterly.
There is no denying the truth. Whatever Kocharyan meant, Baku has indeed always known that time works for Azerbaijan and used it very efficiently. In Armenia’s case, time has always worked against the aggressor. Since the very beginning. By dragging out the negotiations, counting on external forces and new territories, it lost the chance to consolidate its interests. Some twenty years ago, these interests could still be taken into account to some extent in the settlement of the conflict. Ten years ago, it was already very challenging. And there is definitely no point in talking about it today. President Ilham Aliyev very expertly and subtly steers all the processes in the direction Azerbaijan wants, and the Armenians themselves were caught in the trap of their own arrogance before they even knew it.
As recently as Saturday, Yerevan was still trying to hide the truth, with Foreign Minister Mirzoyan making insubstantial statements, as is his custom, refuting what the President of Azerbaijan had told the Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, namely, that a peace treaty would be signed on the basis of the five principles proposed by Baku and accepted by Nikol Pashinyan. You will recall that these five principles include recognition of the territorial integrity of both countries, mutual renunciation of any territorial claims, non-use of force or threat of force, delimitation of borders and opening of communications.
“In our region, the situation is developing towards peace. I hope so. I came to Italy from Brussels where we had trilateral negotiations with the President of the European Council and the Prime Minister of Armenia and we agreed that within one month foreign ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia will meet in order to start practical discussions on peace agreement. That was our proposal from almost immediately after the second Karabakh war ended, we said that we need peace. We need a peace agreement and it took almost two years for Armenia to agree with that. So, I think this is one of the most important outcomes. Of course, a lot will depend on how these peace talks go, what will be the timetable, what will be the substance. I think that we can finalize and sign a peace agreement within several months. I think this is realistic if the Armenian side expresses the same will, because we introduced five basic principles, which peace agreement should be based on and Armenia accepted them,” the head of state said.
Notably, Nikol Pashinyan did not refute anything. Then Ararat Mirzoyan was sent to dance before the public. He had already disgraced himself with his statements more than once. What’s one more dumb pronouncement? Neither he, nor the public would even notice. According to Mirzoyan, Armenia never agreed to anything of the kind but keeps insisting instead on its own five principles, which imply making Karabagh the core of the peace treaty.
Mirzoyan himself probably did not believe what he was saying either. It was simply necessary to respond to Baku in order to appease the groups aggravated by Yerevan’s “compliance”. Meanwhile, no one can have any doubt that a peace treaty will be signed only on the principles Baku has put forward, or it will not be signed at all. What awaits our neighbors in this case? By refusing to recognize Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity (which the nationalists and Pashinyan who fears them see as the main problem), Armenia cuts itself off from all the potential development opportunities that Azerbaijan graciously and very humanely opened for it after the 44-day war. The doors of the trap, in which the aggressor found itself, will be closed forever. The Armenians cannot possibly think that Baku will negotiate with them for another thirty years. Anyone who still has doubts should listen to President Ilham Aliyev’s latest statements and understand that Azerbaijan has no intention of giving Armenia any more time.
Two years is enough time to finally conclude the Karabakh epic and give the region a treaty-guaranteed peace. Failure to sign the treaty will not buy Armenia time to get stronger and muster its forces, contrary to what those unreasonable people believe. Andranik Kocharyan very accurately pointed out that the Armenians have no chance to stall the signing of the document any longer. Even those who once condoned Yerevan’s crimes demand that it make a final peace. Everything has changed, the world has changed, and there is no place for Armenian interests in this changed world anymore.
Translated from Day.Az