Vice-Chairman of the Academy of Geopolitical Issues of the Russian Federation Arayik Sargsyan is certain that the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is not just linked to the will of Russia or the United States. He explained this and answered other questions during an interview with “A1+”.
“A1+”: Turkish President Abdullah Gul is going to send a special envoy to Armenia. He is preparing to write a letter to Serzh Sargsyan asking for Armenia to vote for the Turkish diplomat running for OSCE Secretary General. We saw what the Turkish Chairman of the PACE did. What can the OSCE Secretary General do in terms of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict?
Arayik Sargsyan: Armenia is facing more and more foreign challenges and the government is not able to confront them. As far as Gul’s envoy is concerned, it is clear that Armenia and Turkey continue and will continue to hold confidential talks. The negotiations between Armenia and Turkey started to become more active in 2007. Nothing is up to Armenia and Turkey continues to close an eye. Today Turkey has another issue. Before April 24, Turkey is trying to show the US Congress that it has a positive attitude toward a peace agreement with Armenia and this is another lull for those raising the question of the Armenian Genocide in Congress. we mustn’t forget that Abdullah Gul funded terrorist groupings in the South Caucasus in the 1990s.
“A1+”: Mr. Sargsyan, U.S. President Barack Obama has reduced the amount for Armenia in 2012 and has increased the sum for Azerbaijan by 450,000 dollars. How do you view this?
A. S.: 450,000 dollars is a ridiculous sum for Armenia and Azerbaijan. The issue is geopolitical and is a guideline that is drawn for human rights and democracy in the region in 2012. As for military assistance, starting in 2012, the U.S. Congress will most probably allocate 10 million dollars a year to the NKR.
“A1+”: What does that mean? On the one hand, the U.S. doesn’t recognize the NKR’s self-determination and on the other hand, it allocates sums to an unrecognized state.
A. S.: If the U.S. de jure recognizes the NKR’s independence, it allocates de jure funds to the NKR. This refers to the geopolitical discrepancy between Russia and the United States, Israel and Iran, Europe and China in our region. The U.S. officially says it will give 10 million dollars to the NKR. The problem is that there is still a possibility of a war breaking out in the NKR. So, even if Armenia and Azerbaijan agree with maintaining the status-quo, Russia, the U.S. and Europe still have unresolved issues in this region and the NK conflict sets the stage.
“A1+”: There is a view that the key to the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is in Russia’s hands. Do you share this view?
A. S.: In reality, the role of Russia, the United States and the EU is balanced. There was a time when the NKR’s recognition was in the hands of the U.S. and the latter could have recognized the NKR just like it did Kosovo. I am sure that if the U.S. and Russia have the desire, they can work together and recognize the NKR’s independence for the sake of peace in the Caucasus and it is important which borders will be recognized, meaning the liberated territories.
“A1+”: Do you see progress in the negotiations anytime soon?
A. S.: Within the framework of the Minsk Group?
A. S.: Sometimes there are rumors about the format Medvedev-Sargsyan-Aliev. Experts say there is a wish to transfer the mission of resolving the NK conflict to Medvedev. The three presidents have already met 7 times. Nevertheless, the conflict must be resolved in the Minsk Group format. One of the ways of resolving the conflict is to start from where the sides left off, that is, the 1994 ceasefire. Today there is a ceasefire agreement, but no peace.
Interview by Victoria Abrahamyan