Today, U.S. Secretary will arrive in Baku, where she is going to call on the Azerbaijani leadership to refrain from use of force to settle the Karabakh issue. She told about her intention in Yerevan stating that the use of force is not a solution. But Clinton made another interesting statement. She informed that Washington will make new proposals and “the citizens of both countries should contribute”.
Clinton expressed concern that the skirmishes may escalate to a confrontation which will have tragic consequences for everyone.
Apparently, the U.S. and Europe are trying to keep the negotiations frozen and open the borders without a final solution. This option is not new. This is something like an “intermediate status” for Karabakh, lifting the blockade of Armenia by Turkey, ensuring transparency of borders, regional projects and perhaps also an agreement on non-resumption of hostilities in exchange for some concessions by Armenia.
Azerbaijan understands that at a certain a moment it will be forced to accept this option and so it is trying to get as many concessions as possible. Official Yerevan has mentioned that Baku demonstrates readiness to use force despite Clinton’s authority.
However, Baku also understands that the alternative to this option might be not only the large-scale war in which the West will support Azerbaijan. This war may lead to a new phase of closed borders in the region, not in favor of Azerbaijan. And Baku will have to accept the “intermediate” option. Surely, unless it succeeds in getting Russia’s support and the Western initiative fails.
Is such a scenario beneficial for Armenia? The status quo, though temporary it may seem, is the best option for Armenia. The opening of the border may also have a positive result, except the option of return of territories, i.e. kilometers of security.
Apparently, the U.S. and the European Union will adopt resolutions condemning the actions of Azerbaijan. OSCE is still silent but it is apparently preparing a special document which will enlarge its mandate.
Prime Minister Sargsyan has already called on the European Union to impose sanctions on Azerbaijan. American congressmen called to suspend the deal on sale of police surveillance military hardware for helicopters to Azerbaijan. No official condemnation has been issued so far but it seems everyone is waiting for what Aliyev will tell Mrs. Clinton.
But the proposal has already been made public. The foreign ministers will meet in ten days in Paris. Will they discuss the “intermediate” option or will Azerbaijan choose the use of force and the worst way for itself? It will depend on whether Clinton will call Aliyev a “brilliant leader” like she called Serzh Sargsyan. Aliyev and Sargsyan need such guarantees not to become victims of their own nation in case of an “intermediate option”.