Patience May Wear Thin: U.S. Stance on Karabakh

    • Comments - 12 November 2017, 09:46
Paul Goble, professor at the Institute of World Politics, commented on the statement of the U.S. Ambassador in Azerbaijan Cekuta in an interview with Cekuta spoke about certain decisions by the State Department on the Karabakh settlement.

The American side is aware that Azerbaijan hinders the introduction of investigative mechanisms and Azerbaijan must carry out that commitment assumed at the level of the president, he said.

The American side and all the sides understand that without the fulfillment of these agreements there can be no point of agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan so there should be certain control to make the agreements more substantial. I think that the State Department has made this decision, especially that Secretary Tillerson supports this initiative, he said.

We commented on Cekuta’s statement in our previous article supposing that the statement was about the investigation mechanism which makes negotiations impossible. Paul Goble points to the same circumstance, and importantly, he speaks about the main hindrance – Azerbaijan.

Of course, hindrances do not end with Azerbaijan because the factor of Russia is there. The point is that investigative mechanisms at the border change the situation in terms of the subject of negotiations and the logic of settlement. This situation occurred after the April war when Azerbaijan was allowed to “resolve” the problem through a military way. The attempt failed after which the stakeholders of the pre-April situation Azerbaijan and Russia appeared in a political stalemate.

Investigative mechanisms are not an ordinary event. Its importance is wider and can be related to geopolitical issues. It is not just de facto recognition of the current border that official Baku confessed but a record on the end of the centennial Russian-Turkish status quo based on the results of two wars in Artsakh, the status quo one of the products of which is Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan and Russia are against and are trying to hinder the agreements reached in Vienna. Armenia has one thing to do – insist on the Vienna agenda and exercise of the right to self-determination of the people of Artsakh. However, this stance has not been expressed clearly for a long time now, and Armenia has actually been forced out of the discussion of issues concerning it.

It is not accidental that after that meeting the Russia-Turkey-Azerbaijan discussions on Karabakh are active. Even options and bargains over the territories of Karabakh and stationing of Russian troops are in place, without asking for Armenia’s opinions.

Over this period the American side has reminded the sides, primarily Armenia, officially and at an expert level, that in the current process of settlement the only matter is the agreements in Vienna. In other words, the conditions which have been accepted by the Minsk Group. Since the implementation of agreements or at least the continuation of the stalemate for Azerbaijan depends on the stance of Armenia, which is the chance of Artsakh and Armenia to avoid a disaster.

Paul Goble said in an interview that the American policy has not changed and will not change soon unless there are no geopolitical re-arrangements in the South Caucasus. Currently Azerbaijan and Turkey are headed for these re-arrangements, expecting Russia’s support. It may come true if Armenia moves on in line with the interests of Russia, which is the same as Azerbaijan’s interests and demands, rather than its own interests.