You are well familiar with the region and its problems, so it would be interesting to know your opinion: what changed in the South Caucasus after the 44-day war?
Azerbaijan took back the entire territory of the “buffer zone” (the 7 Azerbaijani districts that were not part of Nagorno-Karabakh—Ed.) and part of Nagorno-Karabakh, which had been under the Armenian control since the mid-1990s, and created a completely new situation where Armenia was forced to admit its fundamental weakness and dependence on Russia.
The 44-day war was stopped by a ceasefire statement, which, nevertheless, did not lead to the signing of a peace deal. The November and January statements remained just declarations, not peace agreements. The problem now is that all the parties involved interpret these statements differently.
So, do you think that a peace treaty between Azerbaijan and Armenia is still a long way off?
I will be very surprised if a peace treaty is signed anytime soon. There is a fundamental conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, which remains unresolved. To conclude a peace treaty, both sides must recognize each other’s borders, and this cannot be done if there is disagreement over the status of Karabakh.
Does this mean that a new war inevitable?
What I can say for certain is that the tension will only grow, and occasional armed clashes are possible.
What do you think about the role of Turkey and Russia in the region?
Turkey’s influence is growing while Russia’s is weakening, even though Moscow brought in the so-called “peacekeepers” to Karabakh.
Anti-Russian sentiments are on the rise in Armenia. What is Armenia trying to say? Is this their way of showing their resentment toward Russia over its noninterference in the conflict?
Yerevan has no choice, and Russia knows it. Consequently, in the current situation, Moscow cannot help Armenia in any way, even if it wants, which means that the Armenian complaints about Russia are groundless, they are pointless.
We should bear in mind that the military confrontation is currently taking place in Azerbaijan’s territory.
In the 1990s, you proposed your own version of the settlement of the Karabakh conflict. What could you suggest for peace-building today?
In my opinion, there are three ways to settle the Armenian-Azerbaijani confrontation and bring the parties to peace. The first is an unconditional military victory of one side over the other. The second is the imposition of a peaceful settlement by a third player. The third is a deal in which each of the parties, Armenia and Azerbaijan, will get something they want in exchange for giving up something they have. That is, Armenia and Azerbaijan will compromise, each side getting what it needs.
The first two options can only buy time, while the third one is the only road to a lasting peace.
Translated from Caliber.az