No grounds for optimism over Karabakh – opinion  

15:02 • 12.07.17



The recent Armenian-Azerbaijani ministerial talks over Nagorno-Karabakh inspire no optimism about a future progress, but the sides’ cautious approach was strongly obvious, according to Karen Bekaryan, the president of the the European Integration NGO.


In an interview with Tert.am, the expert highlighted several key moments of the meeting, citing also recently voiced calls for easing the border tension to make continuing negotiations possible.


“What we are dealing with here is, first of all, the problem of easing tension, which in turn is directly linked to the Vienna and St Petersburg arrangements. So Armenia must have trust in the negotiating party, which means the agreement in question must work. Therefore, I think, it is more than logical that the issue is again a common thread in the negotiations,” he said.  

Bekaryan, who also represents the ruling Republican faction in parliament, said he knows that the timeframes and other details of the announced presidential-level talks are being coordinated with Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers.


“Hence, we again reiterate the same formula, i.e. – that any long-drawn-out negotiations are more preferable than tensions, not to speak about a war. So a better option is to arrange a meeting which will be meaningful and based on the implementation of previous arrangements. We will then have certain hope for future progress, and grounds for optimism. The reaction is very cautious at the moment, but an important point for me was the meeting with Russia’s foreign minister, which highlighted those arrangements, and naturally, the Armenian foreign minister’s speech which outlined a clear-worded formula and is perceivable to the partners as being more than logical,” he added.  

Bekaryan appreciated particularly Nalbandian’s remark emphasizing the necessity of deploying ceasefire monitoring mechanisms along the Line of Contact.


“That accentuation was not being voiced for the first time ever, but it was emphasized in the foreign minister’s speech yet another time to highlight that [the responsibility] for the tensions, including the human losses, falls upon the side refusing to abide by the commitment. And this is perceivable to the international partners,” he said.


Asked whether the recent talks could be a strong message for eventually ending the frontline tensions, Bekaryan said he doesn’t have high expectations. “I don’t have great hopes because stating something and translating it to action are absolutely different things. What we know from experience is that arrangements are never respected. On the other hand, there is the negative tradition of Azerbaijani provocations ahead of every regional visit by the co-chairs. Hence, from that point of view, there are no grounds for optimism. We have to consider the scenario some way or another,” he added.

Nelly Lazaryan





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