Armenians comment on the subject from the viewpoint of: “If Azerbaijan won, why is it in such a hurry to sign a peace treaty?”, “Are you afraid that in five or ten years Armenia will get stronger and revenge will be inevitable?”
Let’s try to figure it out point by point.
First of all, Azerbaijan has indeed proposed five principles for a peace treaty and is pushing the issue in every way possible. This is necessary for a lasting peace, to ensure mutual commitments and, most importantly, to create the most predictable environment for Azerbaijan.
Second, Azerbaijan believes that Armenia is a mechanism, an instrument of influence on Azerbaijan, and through the peace treaty, through the normalization of relations with Armenia it seeks to neutralize the threats proceeding from this postulate.
Third, the legal aspect of the issue. Although Azerbaijan lost the war in the early 1990s and the territories came under occupation, Azerbaijan retained its right to liberate the territories and in the course of 25 years of consistent efforts was able to provide legal and diplomatic justification for the counter-offensive operation in 2020.
Throughout the 25 years of occupation of Azerbaijani lands, Armenia sought to legitimize the occupation and adopted legal documents purporting the annexation of the occupied territories.
A peace treaty between Azerbaijan and Armenia could be the basis for the abolition and adjustment of these legal documents, that is, the removal of internal Armenian legal justifications for territorial claims against Azerbaijan. In short, after the liberation of the lands by military force, Azerbaijan through the peace treaty seeks to nullify Armenia’s “right” to Karabakh.
What can happen without a peace treaty?
Without a peace treaty, Armenia, regardless of who is in power there, by virtue of its national legal framework, has a territorial claim against Azerbaijan, i.e., the territory of Karabakh. This, by default, implies revenge, i.e., another war. The military imbalance between Armenia and Azerbaijan should not be relied upon in this matter. Even in its current state, Armenia is an aggressive state, which continues to ignore international law, keep its armed forces in Karabakh, finance war criminals and maintain a “separation for salvation” mechanism in the government program with regard to the Karabakh Armenians.
That is, the logic of Azerbaijan’s actions proceeds from the fact that a peace treaty should be the start of the normalization process, involving radical changes in Armenia’s legislation. However, the absence of a peace treaty makes it necessary for Azerbaijan to neutralize possible threats now.
Thus, the international community represented by the main mediators (Russia, EU, USA) should understand that Azerbaijan is not going to wait long and will pursue its goals using all available resources, including military ones, to prevent a future war instigated by Armenia. The absence of a peace treaty makes Azerbaijan continue to force Armenia to peace, since we do not see mediators doing it. Some of them, for example, France, which Armenia relies on, openly support Armenia’s aggressive policy.
But even if Azerbaijan takes unilateral actions, it will stick to the agenda of peace and peace treaty, because it is fundamentally important. The conditions may be changed, but it is necessary to remain in the process. We can see the results of the consistent efforts, of the combination of political, diplomatic and military methods and mechanisms in the statements of the mediators, who admit that the peace treaty issue has become the main prerequisite for addressing all the other issues on the agenda.