Some interesting rhetoric has been coming out of Yerevan and Moscow regarding Nagorno Karabakh. According to this information, Artsakh is expected to gain recognition and Yerevan is expected to return the "seven regions" taken outside of Artsakh proper to Azerbaijan. My biggest concern here is the fate of the territories west of Nagorno Karabakh, the strategic areas between Karvajar (Kelbajar) and Berdzor (Lachin). Moreover, I was speaking to a well-informed friend in Yerevan about the military operation last August in northeastern Artsakh that succeeded in liberating large areas of land in the Mardakert district. Basing his opinion on the relative ease with which the operation was carried out, the low numbers of casualties on both sides, and the silence in which it was performed, he suspects that the operation in question may have been coordinated with Baku and Moscow. The three nations in question are most probably negotiating the distribution of the land in question. It's now becoming increasingly obvious that high level negotiation have been taking place. And it seems that there will be an exchange of territories between Armenia and Azerbaijan. It's only a matter of time. The populations in both nations have will have to be first prepared for this finale.
Zatulin: Karabakh Resolution Package Envisaging NKR Recognition And Return
The situation in the Caucasus has considerably changed. Russia has broken relations with Georgia, one of the five states of the region, Konstantin Zatulin, Russian Duma member and director of Institute of CIS Studies said during Yerevan-Moscow TV space bridge. "We understand that with the hope to resolve the Karabakh problem in favor of Yerevan, the Armenian authorities used to strain Karabakh's aspiration to develop relations with Abkhazia and South Ossetia," he said, adding that Russia wants to see both Armenia and Azerbaijan mitigate positions on the issue in order to avoid the Georgian scenario," he said. "The situation at the contact line between the Karabakh and Azeri armed forces tensed during the war in South Ossetia," he said. "At that I should mention that a resolution package envisaging NKR recognition and return of 7 regions was developed long ago. The most important thing to do now is to prevent any kind of violence in the region and interference of third states, which want to re-open the wounds," the Russian politician said.
Armen Ashotyan: Armenia Has a Joker - Recognition of Karabakh
Armenian parliament member Armen Ashotyan doesn't share the optimism about soonest resolution of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict. However, Armenia would be glad if Russia recognized NKR, according to him. "Russia has lingered with recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia for a long time. But after the recognition, its officials said it was a forced measure meant to guarantee security of the breakaway republics. I think Armenia has a joker, that is de jure recognition of Nagorno Karabakh in case of necessity," he said, adding that NKR's statehood development is not inferior to that of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. "Armenia wishes the interests of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic were taken into consideration in the settlement process," Ashotyan said.
Russia decided to increase its influence on Armenia and Azerbaijan via active mediation in Karabakh process
The nature of the Armenian-Russian relations and the latest developments in the South Caucasus added savor to Dmitry Medvedev’s visit to Armenia, an Armenian MP said. “Speaking about the Armenian-Russian relations, we proceed from two basic points. First, it’s the centuries-old friendship, which underlies bilateral relations. Second, it’s the policy, which is materialized due to global developments. The recent events in Georgia highlighted this approach in the Armenian-Russian relations,” Armen Ashotyan, chairman of the RA NA standing committee of science, education, culture, youth and sports, said during Yerevan-Moscow TV space bridge today. Russia is not just a strategic partner for Armenia. Yerevan is interested in Russia’s assistance in the Nagorno Karabakh conflict settlement process, according to him. At the same time Ashotyan remarked that “Armenia and Russia do not satisfy each other’s geopolitical needs in the region.” “From this standpoint, the Armenian-European-American and Russian-Turkish-Azeri flirts should be taken easy, since they complement national interests Armenia and Russia can’t offer each other,” he said, adding that Russia decided to increase its influence on Armenia and Azerbaijan via active mediation in the Karabakh process.
Alexander Iskandaryan: Old South Caucasus Vanished After Five-Day War
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's visit to Armenia was unusual, because it was a visit to a new South Caucasus, an Armenian political scientist said. "The old South Caucasus vanished after five-day war. Presently, Russia and other states should interact with the region which entered a new stage of development. Medvedev's visit was an attempt to sound the situation. I think that the Armenian-Russian relations should be further built in the context of recent Georgian events," director of Caucasus Institute, political scientist Alexander Iskandaryan said, adding that Armenia values relations with Russia, U.S. and Georgia. Touching on the regional conflicts, he noted that the tendency of "non-resolution of conflicts" prevailed in the region during the past 17 years. "I do not have optimistic expectations, despite officials' statements," he said. "The Moscow-Washington rivalry has become more vivid. Armenia has to take it for granted," Iskandaryan resumed.
In related news:
Azerbaijan: Potential Pipeline Deal Could Help Settle Nagorno-Karabakh Issue
Economics may hold the key to breaking the stalemate in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process. Turkish and Azerbaijani officials reportedly are seriously mulling the possibility of Armenian participation in the long-planned Nabucco pipeline project as part of a comprehensive Karabakh peace pact. Turkey is leading efforts to energize the Karabakh peace process. Turkish, Armenian and Azerbaijani officials met in New York on September 26 to discuss the Karabakh issue and other security matters. That meeting kindled hopes that a settlement could be achieved by the end of 2008. Although details of the recent discussions have been scarce, some experts believe that the three sides have probed a possible bargain under which Armenia would become part of the Nabucco pipeline plans, in return for a greater degree of flexibility concerning Yerevan’s position on Karabakh. Yerevan’s willingness to modify its long-standing demand for Karabakh independence would appear to be the key as to whether this latest push for Karabakh peace can be successful.
Azerbaijani officials seem willing to work with Armenia on the Nabucco project, if Yerevan shows sufficient flexibility on Karabakh. "Of course, Azerbaijan has set political conditionality related to the Karabakh conflict on this [Nabucco] issue," Elhan Shahinoglu, the director of the Baku-based Atlas center for political research, told EurasiaNet. Turkish analyst Sinan Ogan, the chair of the Ankara-based TURKSAM think tank, said that the topic of Armenia’s participation in the Nabucco project came up during US Vice President xxxx Cheney’s recent, controversial visit to Baku. "There are serious plans to involve Armenia in this project. Turkey and Azerbaijan were against this idea at first, but now Armenia’s participation seems realistic," Ogan said in comments broadcast September 19 on Voice of America radio. Initial indicators are that the three sides did not make significant headway on the Karabakh issue during the September 26 meeting in New York. On September 28, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan flatly admitted that ’there are no concrete results yet," according to a report distributed by the RIA-Novosti news agency. Turkish President Abdullah Gul also revealed that there has not yet been any movement on the matter of Turkey ending its economic embargo against Armenia. The AzerTaj news agency reported Gul as telling a Turkish diaspora group on September 28 that "no talks over the border [re-]opening with Armenia are possible before Armenia’s liberation of Azerbaijani occupied territories."
While the notion of linking a potential Armenian role in Nabucco to the Karabakh peace process has not been raised publicly, Gul came close to making a public admission on September 10 during a diplomatic trip to Baku. "No doubt that the fast liberation of the occupied [Azerbaijani] territories would be an important step and it would encourage very efficient economic cooperation in the region. Pipelines and transport communications would cover the entire Caucasus region," Gul said in Baku. Shahinoglu, the Baku political analyst, believes the peace process is now at a delicate stage. Any potential breakthrough will likely require the United States and Russia - two of the three co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group - to set aside their present differences and engage in diplomatic cooperation, Shahinoglu suggested. "Obviously, there is a completely new dynamic surrounding the evolution of talks on the Karabakh conflict, creating unique opportunities for a breakthrough," Shahinoglu said. "However, this dynamic could [possibly] result in resumption of the war, if the great powers - first and foremost Russia and United States - continue to differ fundamentally on their approach to the future of South Caucasus region." Shahinoglu added that the Kremlin was not especially interested in seeing the Turkish initiative concerning Karabakh succeed. He reasoned that the normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations and the settlement of the Karabakh question, as well as Yerevan’s potential involvement in Nabucco, would all do considerable harm to Russia’s geopolitical interests in the Caucasus.