The efforts of the European Council to seize the initiative in the Karabakh issue with an undisguised desire to oust the Russian Federation from the region cannot but disturb people who are sincerely interested in the fate of the Transcaucasus.
As you know, following the results of the May 22 in Brussels, the third meeting in the Michel-Pashinyan-Aliyev format, an agreement was reached on further work aimed at opening regional communications, engaging a commission on border delimitation and security. The parties agreed to hold the next meeting in July-August of this year.
It is also known that US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, during a telephone conversation with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, offered Washington’s assistance in delimiting and demarcating the Armenian-Azerbaijani border. As noted in the release of the US State Department, Blinken reaffirmed the readiness of the States to help on a bilateral basis, as well as together with like-minded partners, to “contribute to the achievement of a long-term comprehensive peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan.”
Meanwhile, Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) condemns attempts to resolve a vital issue for the people solely on the road map of the West, without the participation of the Russian side. Vice Speaker of the NKR Parliament, Chairman of the “United Motherland” party Gagik Bagunts considers it inappropriate to discuss the Karabakh problem under the auspices of the European Council, noting that the efforts of the latter are directed against Russia, pursue the goal of ousting it from the region, which is facilitated by official Baku, trying to shift the settlement process to the format European Council.
“There is an internationally recognized and optimal format of the OSCE Minsk Group, and the European Council cannot be an objective mediator, as it is interested in Azerbaijani oil and gas,” the MP is sure.
In general, the parties represented in the National Assembly of the Republic of Artsakh, as well as extra-parliamentary forces, adhere to the position that the active mediation efforts of the European Council are aimed at overcoming Europe’s dependence on Russia through the use of Azerbaijan’s energy potential, and in the context of such expectations, the European Council cannot maintain an intermediary balance between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Former Foreign Minister of Nagorno-Karabakh Arman Melikyan is confident that it is impossible to achieve a positive result in the negotiations between Yerevan and Baku through Brussels without Moscow’s assistance.
“It can be stated that now the role of the OSCE Minsk Group has been partially assumed by Mr. Charles Michel. It is noteworthy that in this way the thesis of the President of Azerbaijan Aliyev about the senselessness of the further activities of the OSCE Minsk Group is being realized. The appearance of Charles Michel and the “disappearance” of the previously existing collective mediation negotiating platform provide Baku with the best starting conditions for this new negotiation stage,” the diplomat said, adding that he “considers the points voiced by Charles Michel in the context of the EU’s oil and gas expectations from Azerbaijan.”
At the same time, Melikyan noted that “the EU cannot be a full-fledged guarantor of the implementation of the Armenian-Azerbaijani agreements, since it does not have a military presence in our region.”
A number of analysts note that for the West, striving for its own benefit, in fact, there is no Armenian Artsakh and the Christian people living on their historical land, but there is a territory legally included in Azerbaijan, and there are Russian peacekeepers, who seek to displace.
At the same time, it is stated that the meeting in Brussels is a direct challenge to the tripartite statement of November 9, 2020: in the text of the final statement of Charles Michel there is not a word about the fulfillment of the obligations reached through the mediation of the Russian Federation.
Some experts argue that if the collective West is in favor of a speedy resolution of the Karabakh issue, lowering the bar below independent status, then Russia proceeds from the need to freeze the resolution of the issue of the status of Artsakh, at least until the completion of the special operation for demilitarization and denazification Ukraine. There are forecasts that if the West succeeds in including Nagorno-Karabakh into Azerbaijan and expelling Russian troops from the region, then the next step will be the opening of the Zangezur corridor. In this case, Turkey will get a connection with Azerbaijan, as well as access to the Central Asian republics, using them as a springboard to influence the policy of the Russian Federation from the southern borders.
At the same time, observers ask the question: if Russian peacekeepers are the real guarantee of the security of Artsakh today, then why did Michel, Aliyev and Pashinyan discuss an issue in Brussels that is beyond their competence?
Clearly realizing that the West will seek the signing of a peace agreement between Yerevan and Baku under its patronage, the citizens of Nagorno-Karabakh for the most part hope and believe that Russia, having managed to stop the bloodshed alone and pursuing its own strategic interests in the South Caucasus , will not cede its positions in the region.
“The hastily concocted Brussels agreements will not lead to anything as long as there is no Russia in them. Moscow will derail the European Council process,” those who believe in the strength and consistency of the Russian leadership are sure.
It is also noted that “Artsakh is strong with the presence of Russia: as long as peacekeepers are in Artsakh, it will be stable here.”
Meanwhile, the Baku media are discussing the topic that the Russian peacekeeping contingent will soon leave Nagorno-Karabakh. According to political scientist Elkhan Shahinoglu, the article on the Axar.az website “Russia is leaving Syria, it’s the turn of Karabakh…” notes that “the Kremlin’s aggressive war in Ukraine has sharply increased Russia’s military spending and is draining financial resources, so it is difficult for Russia to continue its military presence in two other regions – Syria and Karabakh, along with Ukraine.
Shahinoglu believes that Russian peacekeepers should leave Karabakh, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan can play a role in this issue.
In Baku, the topic of the imminent signing of a “peace agreement” with the transfer of the Armenians of Karabakh under the jurisdiction of Azerbaijan is also being artificially escalated, and they are even discussing the question “Will a new representative from Khankendi come to parliament?” (This dissonant and devoid of any legal and moral grounds, the word “khankendi” is used in Baku to call the capital of the Republic of Artsakh – the city of Stepanakert).
Of course, in Artsakh, which laid on the altar of the motherland in the three aggressive wars unleashed by Azerbaijan over ten thousand lives, the “future” according to the scenario of official Baku is completely swept aside. Another gross violation by the armed forces of Azerbaijan of the ceasefire regime in the southeastern direction of the border of the Republic of Armenia (May 28 this year), as a result of which the soldier of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Armenia Private David Vardanyan was killed, clearly demonstrates the price of the notorious “peace document”. It is noteworthy that this provocation was preceded by destructive, militant and maximalist statements by the President of Azerbaijan on May 27, which included encroachments on the sovereign territory of the Republic of Armenia. In this context, it should also be noted that the consequences of the previous gross violation of the ceasefire regime, as a result of which the Azerbaijani Armed Forces invaded the Karabakh village of Parukh, which is under the responsibility of the Russian peacekeeping forces, have not yet been eliminated.
All of the above indicates that the leadership of Azerbaijan does not intend to fulfill the obligations stipulated by the tripartite statement of 2020, and even the recent agreements following the results of the Brussels meetings on establishing stability and security in the region, and is only waiting for the right moment to “resolve” the Karabakh issue according to their own scenario. Naturally, Artsakh will resist such an outcome in every possible way…
Ashot Beglaryan, Stepanakert