In the past week the presidents of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia held their third meeting this year on the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh ahead of the next round of talks on December 1st and 2nd.
This time the three leaders gathered in Astrakhan on the Volga, and the next round is scheduled to take place in Astana. President Medvedev was seeing his Azerbaijani and Armenian counterparts Ilkham Aliyev and Serzh Sargsyan on the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh for the seventh time since their first meeting in 2008.
The latest talks resulted in a joint Declaration on confidence-building measures in order to secure the exchange of POWs and return the bodies of those killed in the conflict. Even though Armenia and Azerbaijan are no longer in open confrontation over Nagorno-Karabakh, as they were more than 20 years ago, a number of differences are still in place, calling for solution.
The Armenian-populated enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh announced a decision to break away from Azerbaijan in 1988. The two countries were at war with one another for 3 years until a ceasefire agreement came into force in 1994. Azerbaijan is still refusing to acknowledge Karabakh’s autonomy and considers the seven districts of its territory occupied.
Russia is currently acting as a mediator in keeping the dialogue between the two conflicting parties at an appropriate level. The director of the center for public and political processes on post-Soviet space Alexei Vlasov sees Russia’s mediatory mission as successful.
Both Armenia and Azerbaijan lay big hopes on Russia’s mediation in the conflict, he says. Moscow is not after any gains, like some partners in the West. It’s playing fair and its actions are transparent.
In the opinion of Alexei Vlasov, the forthcoming summit in Astana will focus on enhancing the earlier reached agreements, rather than signing any breakthrough deals.
After making good progress in the humanitarian area, he says, the parties involved should move on to the territorial issue and the issue of non-use of force. These are central in Nagorno-Karabakh settlement.
Azerbaijan and Armenia have agreed to draft a single set of conflict settlement principles for the Astana talks. According to former co-Chairman of the OSCE’s Minsk Group for Nagorno-Karabakh from Russia Vladimir Kazimirov, non-use of force should top the agenda of the summit.
The parties concerned should exert every effort to ensure non-use of force to preclude a resumption of military operations, the expert says. Otherwise, talks can be disrupted any time over incidents on the border.
In Astana the co-Chairmen of the Minsk Group – Dmitry Medvedev, Barack Obama and Nicolas Sarkozy – are expected to “throw a bridge” into 2011 by replacing statements and declarations with specific solutions. A similar “bridge” has already been built with the assistance of Russia.
การเจรจาระหว่างอาเมเนีย และอาเซอร์ไบจัน ที่มีรัสเซียเป็นตัวกลางจบลงไป โดยจะจัดการเจรจาอีกครั้งในเดือนธันวาคม ที่กรุงแอสทานา
ดินแดน Nagorno-Karabakh อยู่ในประเทศอาเซอร์ไบจัน แต่ประชาชนส่วนใหญ่เป็นชาวอาเมเนียน และต้องการกลับไปรวมกับอาเมเนีย ได้ประกาศเอกราชจากอาเซอร์ไบจันตั้งแต่ปี 1988