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Yerevan invents "a way out of a delicate situation"

01 May 2010 [20:40] - TODAY.AZ
Even experts find it difficult to say when the diplomacy started. It is only clear that its history dates back to when when the leader of the White Feathers tribe met with the leader of the Black Feather tribe near the sacred rocks to decide who would hunt the mammoths where. If they reached an agreement, they would avoid the war.

We have no clue whether they held talks honestly or resorted to a sleight of hand. But, no doubt, over the past millennium, the history of statehood and diplomacy has seen innumerable "tricks.” Every negotiation, each and every agreement and negotiator bring something of their own to the table.

The resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is no exception. In this context, Armenian leaders have frequently demonstrated diplomatic know-how, so as not to disrupt negotiations openly when the situation was unfavorable. Suffice it to recall the negotiations in Rambouillet when then-Armenian President Robert Kocharian asked for permission to "go to the restroom", and took off at a critical point of the talks.

The Armenian-Turkish negotiations also have a chance to enter the history of diplomacy. But when Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan decided to suspend the negotiations with Turkey, the fantasy of the Armenian political strategist seems to have run out. He declared suspension the of the Armenia-Turkey talks without beating around the bush.

Frankly, it is clear that it's not about a "reasonable timeframe,” which no one has fixed, and it's not about Turkey’s "preconditions," or even not about Karabakh. Talks with Turkey caused Armenia to face a  delicate problem – where is the proposed boundary supposed to open? It should be noted that Yerevan still refuses to recognize the current borders between Turkey and Armenia. But to announce that tiny, impoverished and hungry Armenia is making demands of Turkey, which is the second largest power in NATO after the United States and Europe, the piece of territory atop Agri Dagh is political suicide for Yerevan.

Similarly, it would be political suicide for Armenian politicians to give up their "age-old dream of the Armenian people.” When there were no diplomatic relations, Armenia felt easy talking about eliminating the "consequences of the 'genocide'" and "Western Armenia" in Turkey. But it became difficult to do so with the beginning of these recent talks, not to mention the fact that the Armenian diaspora adamantly opposed the negotiations with Turkey.

Either way, suspending the talks with Turkey, Sargsyan seems to have sincerely believed that he invented a painless way out of this delicate situation. Talks are continuing de jure. So, there will be no political trouble. They have been interrupted de facto and Armenia does not need to hurry any longer to define its position on Karabakh and the Turkish border. The international community seems to have reacted to the Armenian leader’s move with understanding. The president eliminated what was irritating the diaspora and local nationalists by suspending talks until better times.

When taking this step, Sargsyan obviously had in mind those "summer chess” matches where the two neighbors postponed the game until next season, vowing not forget who was playing white and who was playing black, and who had made the last move.

Apparently, Armenia failed to take into account one thing. The talks can be postponed for some time. Problems in the economy cannot be postponed with the same ease. Armenia cannot solve these problems without normalizing ties with Turkey and Azerbaijan. But Armenia refused to do so for the sake of "unity with the diaspora," for which the longing for a mythical "Western Armenia" in Turkey had long become a very lucrative business.

Of course, Yerevan can expect that the diaspora will provide financial handouts in exchange for political loyalty.

Armenia’s 18 years of independence were enough even for the most desperate optimists to make sure that the diaspora's financial potential has been overestimated. Additionally, the wealth of a number of individuals in Armenia does not mean that they are willing to share their financial well-bring. Last but not least, donations will not help to build a sound economy. This requires investments, which Armenia lacks.

Yerevan would be unlikely to understand this if it was not for the fact that control over incoming financial assistance, coupled with no less than full control over the existing "infrastructure business,” whether it be the supply of petroleum products, food trade, etc., is enough to provide a comfortable living for the president and his inner circle. And, most tragically, all of this already existed in Nagorno Karabakh. The diaspora has regularly rendered financial assistance to the self-proclaimed republic that later poured its finances into pockets of the “Karabakh clan.”  Now the clan wants to introduce a similar model in Armenia along with the drug trafficking taking place in the occupied Azerbaijani lands.

This is not a unique case in world history. It is well-known that criminalization is unavoidable when you build your country on donations alone, and when power is held by former "warlords" who made their capital through ethnic cleansing and looting in Azerbaijani villages.


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