Serzh Sargsyan’s speech at the UN General Assembly was mainly about the Karabakh issue with the traditional bullet points. “Azerbaijan is committed to a peace settlement. At the same time, it will defend its citizens if the military provocations by the Armenian side continue,” the Azerbaijani president said. He gave the example of the April war, noting that the Azerbaijani army has been able to liberate some territories in the three regions adjacent to Karabakh. “And if need be, we will punish the aggressor again, like we did in April 2016,” he stated.
However, the dissatisfaction with the international community in the speech of the Azerbaijani president is more important. “The leading international organizations, the UN Security Council, have adopted four resolutions, demanding immediate withdrawal of the Armenian troops from the territories of Azerbaijan. It has been 22 years Armenia ignores those UN SC resolutions and has never been punished for that. In some cases the enforcement of the resolutions of the Security Council takes a few days, in our case nothing has changed for 22 years. This is unacceptable,” he said.
Hence, using the UN floor, Aliyev tried to justify “the right to war” on the one hand which he had lost in the result of the military actions in April, and on the other hand, he confessed that the issue of territories is not on the agenda of the international community.
Yesterday, Serzh Sargsyan also addressed the General Assembly and said that Armenia insists on the priority of the issue of status and security guarantees. However, Armenia does not rule out a discussion on the territories if the issue of status is resolved.
On the eve of the UN GA a scandal came up in Yerevan over the statement ascribed to the Armenian foreign minister. The statement said that Armenia and Azerbaijan are discussing return of territories. Commenting on this statement, the deputy minister of foreign affairs Shavarsh Kocharyan said nobody is discussing return of territories to anyone. And the NKR foreign minister Karen Mirzoyan stated that the NKR territories are laid down in the Constitution and are not subject to return. What do these controversial statements mean? Perhaps one thing: either Armenia does not have a clear position on Karabakh or this position depends on the external situation, particularly Russia’s problems.
It should be noted that such a situation increases Azerbaijan’s “right to war” and, on the other hand, causes the mediators to make tough statements, such as Hoagland’s farewell press conference.
Interestingly, Nalbandyan’s statement was actively circulated in the Russian and Azerbaijani mass media. And one of the Russian websites even “leaked” that the first region concerned is Aghdam. Ostensibly, only Azerbaijan and Russia are interested in the issue of territories. Russia’s task is control over Azerbaijan and the presence of the Russian troops in Karabakh. Serzh Sargsyan also confirmed this who stated in his latest meeting with Putin that they have not discussed an issue of peacekeepers and have not spoken about the Karabakh issue at all. This is normal. Unless there is an issue of peacekeepers, Russia will not care about the other issues. Hence, the mediators link the issue of territories with the issue of recognition of the status of Karabakh which Aliyev had confessed earlier, announcing that the world is forcing to recognize the independence of Karabakh. He also stated that it will not happen ever.
In this situation, the question occurs what Armenia and Azerbaijan are negotiating. Why is Armenia, according to Nalbandyan, discussing territorial issues with Azerbaijan if Baku would not accept any status, even an interim one for Karabakh? Nalbandyan also said that he will not tell the details otherwise the negotiations will be suspended. Does this mean that Azerbaijan is ready to discuss the issue of status but does not want to speak about it? In this case, why does Armenia speak about discussing an issue of territories?
This may mean that Armenia’s behavior in the Karabakh issue depends on the situation and is mainly related to Russia which wants to “take” Azerbaijan and deploy troops in Karabakh. Official circles in Moscow do not hide their intentions, speaking about the possible membership of Azerbaijan to the Eurasian Economic Union. This is possible to achieve by way of concessions by the Armenian side, certainly, territorial ones.
Lavrov spoke about this too. He said if the West accepted the proposals of the Russian side, the Karabakh issue would have been resolved already. It is hard to guess what this solution involves, and the joy of the Russia press about Nalbandyan’s statement is evidence to this.
Hence, Aliyev confessed that there is no issue of territories on the international agenda. It only exists on the agenda of Azerbaijan and Russia though Russia’s “neutralization” is a political issue. provided the complications in the relations with the West, Azerbaijan will automatically appear in Russia’s “hug”, and this scheme may be discussed between the Armenian government and lobby. Armenia says that the alternative to negotiations is war. This is demagogy. The war is not a purpose but a means, and this is the reason why Aliyev keeps the military blackmail intense. As of now he believes that Armenia is overwhelmed by this blackmail.