Ilham Aliyev root cause of stalemate in Nagorno-Karabakh peace process - Vladimir Kazimirov

20:33 • 13.07.16

Mr Vladimir Kazimirov, who headed Russia’s mediatory mission in 1992-1996, acted as Russian presidential representative for Nagorno-Karabakh and Russian co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, deeply regrets that even political scientists are either uninformed of or do not remember the fundamental document on the ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh form May 12, 1994: a statement by the Council of the CIS Heads of State of April 15, 1992. All the CIS leaders, including the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan, agreed to it. That statement contained a more exacting demand for a ceasefire and its further consolidation than the statements by the UN Security Council.

In an exclusive interview with, Mr Kazimirov noted that Ilham Aliyev’s wishes are different than those of his father Heydar Aliyev.

“This is the root cause of the stalemate in the peace process,” Mr Kazimirov said.

Mr Kazimirov, many think that the four-day war in Nagorno-Karabakh early in April inaugurated a new stage in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process: bilateral meetings are being organized and the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairing countries’ leaders are voicing their concern. I am sure that, as a person that has been involved in the process from the outset, you are keeping track of the developments. What is going on in the peace process, and what the signs of a settlement? Or will the situation lead to escalation and a new conflict?

Of course, the April gamble was a much graver conflict that all the previous incidents on the Line of Contact, which certainly caused a harsh international reaction, especially by the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairing countries and, particularly, on Russia’s part.

We should not forget that the 22-year-long ceasefire has caused different ways of influencing the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process. Of course, different ways, especially meetings and other contacts, played their role. But they could hardly play a decisive role in the conflict settlement. But the problem is not that discussions were not held at the right level. Much more depends on the conflicting parties’ positions and their ability to show a flexible approach to a settlement.

Mr Kazimirov, the great powers’ leaders are involved in the current process: a meeting in Vienna took place on the United States’ initiative and the Saint Petersburg meeting took place on Russia’s initiative. Germany is now more actively involved in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process. What does it mean? Are the great powers really concerned or is each of them actually seeking to expand its influence over the region by making use of the conflict?

The states’ concern over the escalation in Nagorno-Karabakh is quite natural, especially since the region is most sensitive and explosive. Yerevan, Baku and Stepanakert must be fully aware of the threat of a new war – even to a greater extent than Moscow, Washington, Paris and Berlin.

At one time the problem of regional influence was almost brought into the forefront. Now, however, the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs and the OSCE chairperson-in-office are cooperating in dealing with the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict better than they did decades ago. It is absurd to speak of anyone’s ambitions for regional domination.

A package settlement is being talked about now. Armenian society is showing an extremely violent response to this option. Do you think this option is a realistic one?

Both a package settlement and a phased one are possible. But the latter requires reliability and the conflicting parties honoring their commitments, which is obviously lacking in this conflict. It is common knowledge that one of the conflicting parties has shown total disrespect for its own commitments. Moreover, a phased settlement requires consistency and order or priority.

Regrettably, even political scientists are either uninformed or do not remember the fundamental document on the ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh form May 12, 1994: a statement by the Council of the CIS Heads of State of April 15, 1992. All the CIS leaders, including the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan, agreed to it. That statement contained a more exacting demand for a ceasefire and its further consolidation than the statements by the UN Security Council. And the key phrase was as follows: eliminating the aftermath of the tragic confrontation is impossible without it. That is, the primary requirement was ruling out any possibility of hostilities being resumed and, later, vacation of territories, return of refugees and forcibly displaced people and so on.

However, how is Baku putting the question? First, vacation of the occupied territories, but without any commitments to reject any military means of resolving the conflict. It is at variance with the view of his [Ilham Aliyev’s] father Heydar Aliyev and of all the CIS leaders. Only a naïve person could listen to Ilham Aliyev’s arguments. This is the root cause of the stalemate in the peace process. As long as the conflicting parties fail to agree on the nonuse of force, they will hardly be capable of showing the flexibility needed to reach compromises. And a settlement is impossible without them.

Hripsime Hovhannisyan


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