The year 2017 became a peculiar ending of the 10-year cycle of the process of Karabakh settlement during which the still-born “principles of Madrid” were discussed based on the idea of “compromise”.
10 years later it is clear that the compromise is useless and the most realistic option is recognition of the state of things even if it takes a lot of time and effort. The mediators have achieved a compromise on the recognition of the status quo and now the sides are “getting used” to the new situation.
The shuttle diplomacy intended to induce the sides to a compromise has been replaced with the small steps policy. The first step should be the enlargement of the mandate of the OSCE observers. The second should be the surveillance equipment at the border.
In 2018 the first step may succeed. Azerbaijan has a positive opinion on the proposal of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs to enlarge the observation mission in the area of the Karabakh conflict, the spokesperson for the Azerbaijani Ministry of Foreign Affairs Hiqmet Haciyev has stated.
In an interview with the website of the OSCE, the special representative of the CiO in the South Caucasus Gunter Bechler said the OSCE is discussing some principles relating to the status.
After the violence in April 2016 the small confidence that existed by then was questioned, he said. According to Bechler, an informal document on the components and details of the process of negotiation was drafted in 2014 during the chairmanship of Switzerland. The document was submitted to the following chairing countries, and it may be implemented one day.
Bechler said that last year when Germany chaired the OSCE a lot of time was spent on strengthening the monitoring mission of the personal representative of the OSCE CiO. According to him, there is an intention to boost the number of people in staff from 6 to 12. He noted that they have also developed an informal document on the mechanisms for investigation of ceasefire breaches.
Member of the Russian Duma Constantine Zatulin said he cannot see progress towards settlement of the Karabakh conflict in the nearest future. According to him, provided the current moods, including Azerbaijan, its official circles, it is difficult to imagine progress. He noted that he and his partners hope that there will be no military actions and bloodshed.