Staunton, June 26 – Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has called for the signing of a peace treaty between his country and Armenia because he believes that the results of the fighting last year ended the Qarabagh dispute in Baku’s favor. But Armenians don’t agree at all, and thus any treaty is at best a distant dream, Igor Shatrov says
Still worse, the head of the Strategic Development Foundation says, there is no obvious compromise available; and consequently, it is far more appropriate to describe the recent declarations about the end of the fighting as an armistice rather than a peace given that there is every likelihood that more rounds of open conflict are ahead (svpressa.ru/politic/article/302439/).
Indeed, the only way forward is for there to be an agreement on the extension of the presence of Russian peacekeepers for ten or twenty years so that Azerbaijanis can return to Qarabagh and Armenians can get used to the idea that that region belongs to Azerbaijan. Without such a lengthy experience, the Armenians will never sign a peace treaty, Shatrov says.
And Russia is the only country that can assure such a course of events. All the other interested international parties are either taking one side or the other or issuing declarations without a willingness to do anything that might promote the growth of the current armistice into a genuine peace.
Mikhail Neyzhmakov of the Moscow agency for Political and Economic Communications agrees. And these statements of the two Russian experts make it clear that Moscow plans to insist on having its peacekeeping continent remain in Qarabagh far longer than the five years specified in the current declarations.
Armenians may welcome that outcome because it would freeze the conflict for another generation without requiring Yerevan to agree with Baku that Qarabagh is part of Azerbaijan. But it will outrage Azerbaijanis and their Turkish supporters who will view this as a Moscow tactic to deprive the Azerbaijani side of what it feels it won in the fighting last year.