Armenia’s stubborn stance hampering Nagorno-Karabakh conflict resolution

By: Sara Rajabova

The main obstacle to the settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is Armenia’s uncompromising position in negotiations.

French Ambassador to Azerbaijan, Pascal Monnier made the statement in an interview with local media. He regarded Armenia’s stance in peace talks as an obstacle to the peace in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Armenia has been keeping 20 percent of internationally recognized territories of Azerbaijan under occupation for over two decades.

In reply to a question about the unwillingness of Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan to compromise, Monnier said this is mainly due to Armenia’s unwillingness to withdraw from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan.

Experts from Russia, Azerbaijan and Georgia shared French diplomat’s view on Armenia’s intransigence as the principle obstacle to the restoration of peace in the region.

Member of Moscow State University’s Information and Analysis Centre, Yevgeny Nikolaychuk said to Vestnik Kavkaza news portal that the main difficulty in establishing a constructive dialogue between the parties is the inflexible policy of Armenian government, which is not ready for any reasonable compromise.

“However, the interests of the Armenian people require not fighting with their neighbors but seeking common ground in politics and economy to achieve prosperity for the country and the region as a whole. Sooner or later, the forces that started the conflict, as well as the current Armenian authorities will understand the need for this settlement. If Sargsyan takes enough courage to use the chance for peace, the Armenians will be grateful,” Nikolaychuk said.

Member of the Moscow State Institute of Foreign Affairs, Leonid Gusev also shared the view on the issue.

The expert condemned uncompromising stance of the Armenian government, pointing to the fact that the liberation of the occupied territories would have positive results.

“For the last years, Azerbaijan has been offering a program on directing huge financial resources for the development of Nagorno-Karabakh. I remember a presentation by Azerbaijani side in this regard held a few years ago. So I think there is nothing negative here,” Gusev said.

Talking about the ways of achieving a peaceful settlement, Azerbaijani MP and political scientist Rasim Musabekov noted that Yerevan’s position hinders it.

“No settlement will be achieved for one simple reason: Armenia sees the settlement of this conflict as a legitimization of all committed territorial conquests, or at least certain parts of them. So it strives to preserve the status quo by any means and rejects any solutions,” he said.

Musabekov stressed it is clear that Azerbaijan cannot positively respond to this kind of wishes.

“Azerbaijan’s position is concrete and clear. Baku supports substantive negotiations on a particular peace agreement instead of some general agreements preserving the status quo,” Musabekov said.

Azerbaijani MP and Chairman of the Democratic Reforms Party Asim Mollazade also referred to Baku’s interest in the immediate achievement of peace.

“Azerbaijan urgently needs peace, because it is now directing its main forces to the development of the country and establishment of normal relations with all its neighbors. The country is interested in achieving peace, stability and development. We would like to see all countries in the region within appropriate cooperation and corresponding contribution to the dynamic development of the South Caucasus. Azerbaijan needs peace within the international legal system. The international community must pay attention to the occupation of our territory and the ethnic cleansing there over the last 20 years,” Mollazade said.

Georgian political scientist Peter Mamradze also said the situation in Armenia is getting worst.

Mamradze said Azerbaijan is in a better position now because “today its armed forces extensively exceed the Armenian armed forces.” In this regard, “many Armenian politicians understand that the policies of Yerevan have brought the country to a standstill.”

The expert believed that the country’s authorities should listen to their voices. “Now we have to find a compromise solution on Karabakh,” Mamradze said.