The realities of the Karabakh settlement in a month after the escalation
Armenia and Azerbaijan approached the new escalation that took place a month ago on the northern section of the border between two countries without serious chances of making progress at the ne***iating table on the Karabakh settlement.
As a result of the intense July fighting, the deadlock in the peace process became even more obvious, which, among other things, was evidenced by the rhetoric of the top officials in Yerevan and Baku.
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan presented the conditions for the resumption of ne***iations, among which one can highlight the taking by the Azerbaijani side of a public commitment not to use force and the direct participation of representatives of Nagorno-Karabakh in the ne***iations.
Ilham Aliyev responded to this not just with a refusal, but accompanied it with a kind of "challenge", stating that if Armenia is so confident in its strength, then let it recognize Nagorno-Karabakh as an independent state right now.
Azerbaijan's position leaves no doubt that it is preparing for war, and not for peace with Armenia.
Threats not only to restore constitutional order in Nagorno-Karabakh by hoisting the state flag of Azerbaijan in Stepanakert, but also to "return" Zangezur and Syunik, to reach "Irevan" and populate it with the "indigenous" Azerbaijani population have nothing to do with the peacekeeping theses of international mediators.
Azerbaijan, with an approximate frequency of once every 10 years, at the last moment evades signing an agreement on the Karabakh settlement.
Azerbaijan's complaints that Yerevan has steadily led the way to the breakdown of ne***iations over the past 30 years appear to be at least flawed. But the most interesting thing is that, possessing such diplomatic trump cards and successful military dispositions both following the results of the four-day war (April 2-5, 2016) and the July battles, Yerevan does not dare to take the next step. It does not necessarily have to be the recognition of the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh or to be the launch of the process of joining the unrecognized republic to Armenia. But it would be possible to sign a big agreement with Stepanakert with an emphasis on the military-political component of the interaction of the two Armenian states in the region in the near future.
First of all, this will give a chance to restore the conditions of 1994. That time the war was stopped by the signing of a trilateral truce and the factual agreement of Baku to enter into ne***iations with Stepanakert. The next attempt of Azerbaijan to resolve the conflict by military means will meet the official declaration of Armenia on the recognition of the statehood of Nagorno-Karabakh. It is also advisable to secure de jure guarantees of security and military mutual assistance, which, among other things, will provide the Armed Forces of Armenia with legal grounds to be located throughout the territory of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR), including the remaining disputed areas around it. From now on, the discussion of the status of these territories with Azerbaijan will not be able to take place without the participation of representatives of Stepanakert.
Aliyev's intransigence and Azerbaijan's general disposition towards an exclusively forceful way of "resolving" the Karabakh conflict is suggestive. This cannot go on indefinitely.
During the July battles, there is a possibility of an escalation in the Nakhichevan section of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border or elsewhere, including in the Karabakh conflict zone itself. But someday Yerevan will decide to take a bold step on the diplomatic front, fighting off another Azerbaijani swoop.
The challenge of Aliyev will be accepted, and then Baku may regret for provoking Armenia into decisiveness dangerous for the Azerbaijani authorities.
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