Staunton, January 14 – Analysts in the West are urging their governments to work to restore the influence of the Minsk Group on the resolution of the Qarabagh dispute by making the issue of the final status of that region central to any solution, according to Moscow commentator Stanislav Tarasov.
These analysts fear, he continues, that the use of force by Azerbaijan in the recent fighting and Russia’s deployment of peacekeepers must be countered lest the former lead Turkey to decide it can promote the use of force in Cyprus and against Greece and Russia to expand its military presence abroad (iarex.ru/articles/79248.html).
Some European analysts are even urging the West to move beyond diplomacy and establish direct military-to-military ties with Armenia lest moves there toward democracy falter, Tarasov adds. But all this is like “shaking one’s fists after a fight” given that negotiations about Qarabagh “without the West” have every chance to work and bring long-term stability.
In fact, he suggests, all this means is that “Brussels intends to return to the resolution of the Armenian-Azerbaijan conflict via the dragging out of the diplomatic duel on the determination of the status of Qarabagh,” an issue that so far at least Moscow has not taken a clear-cut position.
On the one hand, the Russian government continues to say that Qarabagh is within the borders of sovereign and independent Azerbaijan. But on the other, its peacekeepers have been cozying up with Armenian officials of the now much-reduced Artsakh Republic as the unrecognized Armenian state around Stepanakert styled itself.
The latter is already angering Baku (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2021/01/russian-forces-in-qarabagh-violating.html), and Tarasov suggests that the West will try to play up Azerbaijani concerns that the Russians aren’t so much peacekeepers as occupiers in order to block Baku from further cooperation with Moscow.