A New Breakthrough Attempt

    • Comments - 11 July 2016, 23:00
The concluding document of NATO Summit in Warsaw does not mention Karabakh but it states the necessity for resolving conflicts based on three principles: territorial integrity, non-use of force and self-determination.

NATO is not “original” and these theses repeat in the documents of other international organizations.

It is not clear how territorial integrity and self-determination can be used simultaneously. Although, the only thing that is not understood is that the international community has a “selective” approach to these principles. The territorial integrity is applied to some conflicts, self-determination to others. It depends on specific cases and the logic of the international politics.

After the April military actions the process of the Karabakh process has been activated and become one of the primary issues of the international political agenda. In addition, one can discern from political developments following April events that there are two options on the table which can be called as follows: 1. Recognition of the status quo with introduction of international investigation mechanisms; 2. Status for territories with stationing of peacekeepers.

Which option will be applied to Karabakh, which option will the international community “choose”? And does the policy conducted by the conflict sides have a role in this “choice”?

The first option could be called western, the second – Russian. At least, the published and “leaked” information on the meetings of the Minsk Group and three-party meetings are evidence to this. Of course, this is a conventional division because the west gave a tough response to the “separate” agreements reached in Saint Petersburg, after which Moscow’s stance became milder. First, the Russian side announced that there is not a separate three-party format. Then the Russian ambassador in Azerbaijan announced that the issue of peacekeepers has not been discussed.

Next, according to an official press release, an agreement was reached in the Obama-Putin conversation that the issue will remain within the Minsk Group framework.

In fact, these two options have a common point – the issue of recognition of the status of Karabakh. One can notice that the mediators have put the issue of the status of Karabakh in front of Baku.

Azerbaijan has announced ready to discuss this issue only after the return of territories, within the borders of territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, Armenia insists on the recognition of the status. In Warsaw Sargsyan announced that the status quo will change in case the exercise of the right to self-determination of the Karabakh conflict is recognized.

Is this an insurmountable circumstance in the positions of the sides, and will this topic, as well as the introduction of investigation mechanisms that the Western mediators and the Armenian side uphold, become the agenda of “negotiations” over the upcoming decades?

One thing is obvious. The Karabakh issue will be resolved within the framework of establishment of a new geopolitical “status quo”, and the choice of the option will depend on how adequate the conflict sides will be to the policy and developments of the layout of the new world order.

Meanwhile, there will be new attempts for a breakthrough. For Azerbaijan, it could be a new war. For the Armenian side, it could be the rejection of the Russian-Azerbaijani policy. In April Armenia took a step in this direction but then it walked back.