TODAY.AZ / Politics

Russian expert: Armenia will simply have to listen to Ankara's position

25 December 2009 [13:43] - TODAY.AZ
Day.Az interview with the All-Russia Public Opinion Research Center Director General, political analyst Valery Fyodorov.
How do you assess the negotiations to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict?

The fact that the negotiations have been intensified lately is a success. Armenia seeks to gain certain achievements, in other words, establish diplomatic ties with Turkey and get borders reopened. Of course, everything is not simple, but Armenia is hopeful of success.

I also want to note that if Armenia had taken diehard stance in relations with Azerbaijan, it could have hardly achieved success in improving relations with Turkey. Turkey would not have agreed to this in this case.

Nevertheless, final formula to settle the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has not yet been defined. The negotiations are continuing accompanied among other things by clear statements from Azerbaijan that it considers  military action as an alternative solution to the problem.

The most important is that the negotiations are being held and both parties can see prerequisite for this.

At a meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama, Turkish PM Erdogan stated that opening of borders with Armenia depends on resolution of the Karabakh conflict. Many political forces oppose ratification of the Turkey-Armenia protocols both in Turkey and Armenia. If the parliaments of the countries do not ratify them, then what does Armenia hope for?  

Armenia is hopeful of success because signing of the protocols is a big deal for them. There are really a lot of talk about the ratification. If one of the parliaments do not ratify them, we can say with certainty that Yerevan hoped for prematurely.  

Turkey is  aware of importance of partnership relations with Azerbaijan, but it tries to maintain their own policies. Ankara is trying to act as an arbiter in conflicts in the Middle East and the Caucasus guided by its own personal interests first and foremost. Another proof is the signing of protocols with Armenia.

Do you think the protocols will be ratified only in case the resolution of the Karabakh conflict marks a serious progress?

Of course, everything is interconnected. Baku is trying to recall this at every opportunity while Armenia tries to avoid this connection. It all depends on Ankara as there is certain priority for it.

You stated that Turkey is seeking to become arbiter of the region, and thus its leader. What Russia’s attitude to this intention?

First, it is very important for Kremlin to maintain its leadership in the post-Soviet area, particularly in the Caucasus. Obviously, it does not want to spoil relations in the Caucasus - between the traditional ally Armenia and a very important trade and strategic partner - Azerbaijan. After the events that took place in Georgia last year these relations acquired particular importance.

For Moscow it is important to maintain this clear, coherent and multi-vector policy. Russia is doing everything to reach mutually acceptable resolution to the conflict. Russia has no conditions in this regard as we can see in case with Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Moscow insists on their recognition. The Kremlin is ready to accept any option which would suit both parties.

So, Moscow takes a neutral position on this issue?

I think it is rather mediator. Moscow is trying to be an honest broker whose task is to encourage both sides and once again push to resolve the conflict.

The negotiations were very intense this year as evidenced by numerous high-level meetings. Do you think we will witness real steps in terms of the conflict settlement in 2010?

The negotiations were actually stepped up this year. This is a big step forward. However, after some time it will not be enough. The negotiations should produce some results and I think today all efforts are focused on this.

Do you favor the option which will protract resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict? In this case, breaking the blockade, Armenia will no longer remain in such bad condition and will not be so dependent on outcome of the settlement?

There are such fears, of course. However, it should be noted that in this case Armenia’s dependence on Turkey will significantly increase and Yerevan will simply have to listen to Ankara's position on various issues. The latter, of course, is interested in  resolving the Karabakh conflict under conditions favorable to Azerbaijan.


Hamid Hamidov
URL: http://www.today.az/news/politics/58589.html

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