Zhamanak: Lavrov gave Azerbaijan clear message on Karabakh, says Russian expert

11:50 • 21.11.17



In his public statement in Baku, the Russian foreign minister voiced his country's clear message to Azerbaijan that their current tensions with the West are not expected to influence in any way the OSCE Minsk Group cooperation format to signal any changes in the Nagorno-Karbakh (Artsakh) peace process, the paper says, commenting on Sergey Lavrov's recent trip to Azerbaijan (as part of a regional visit) and his meetings with President Ilham Aliyev, and studnts and the faculty of the Diplomatic Academy of Baku.

 

For further details on this and other issues, the paper has interviewed Stanislav Tarasov, a Moscow-based expert in Middle East and Caucasus affairs.

 ---

Mr Tarasov, what are the visible outcomes of Lavrov's visit to Azerbaijan. What are the possible conclusions to be drawn?


The first impression is that they gave Lavrov a “ritualized reception” so to speak. Lavrov first delivered a speech at the Diplomatic Academy. He was ‘dragged’ there on purpose to show all the cards, but Lavrov actually managed to neutralize Azerbaijan’s American trump-card. He said Russia has serious problems with the United States but “we do not have a common position on Karabakh” strange though it may seem.


What is the underlying pretext behind the statement?

 
Yes, this is the main approach. That means all the attempts to neutralize Turkey, or any other role-player practically failed, hence the mediators opt for the scenario of abiding by the Vienna and St Petersburg arrangements. Second, the Eastern Partnership countries are meeting in Brussels on November 24 to conduct their summit which will see a continuing struggle over the wordings on Karabakh in the final text of the declaration. The Armenians worked very literately there, bringing to light all the wrodings. And now they are able to say that those wordings are neutral in essence. The reason is that Europe won't agree to use 'maintenance of territorial integrity' in the bilateral documents ralating to Azerbaijan and the European Union. Azerbaijan is using all its resources – energy, communication etc – to gain advantages at this point but it is practically no use give that Russsia, the United States and the European Union share coinciding approaches.


A key moment now is that the current negotiaiton process relies upon the Madrid Principles where I believe of major importance is the issue of granting an interim status to Nagorno-Karabakh. But what matters actually is that Erdogan's recent statement made [Russian President Vladimir] Putin somewhat skeptical about the possibilities of [conflict] settlement, so the conflict can be now said to be entering into a period of freezing. And Lavrov has now travelled to Yerevan from Baku to follow this scenario - necessitating the implementation of the Vienna and St Petersburg agreements.

 





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