On December 4, the next stage of discussions between the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan, Zohrab Mnatsakanyan and Elmar Mammadyarov, took place in the Slovak capital. On December 3, the Azerbaijani Foreign Minister was expecting “substantive negotiations,” and when he left the meeting with Mnatsakanyan, he called the negotiations “serious and difficult.” It should be noted that the meeting in Bratislava was held after the successful, as the OSCE Minsk Group believes, mutual visit of Azerbaijani and Armenian journalists to neighboring hostile countries.
“We conducted 3.5-hour talks with my Armenian counterpart. I can say that these were serious and difficult negotiations. Unfortunately, we still have unresolved issues,” Mammadyarov (Interfax.az) said. He noted that the meeting, which was attended by the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, discussed phased steps to resolve the conflict.
Azerbaijan’s position to resolve the conflict has not changed. “Of course, the first step should be the elimination of the main consequences of the conflict, which guarantees the immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal of Armenian troops from the Nagorno-Karabakh region and other occupied territories, as was prescribed by the relevant UN resolutions. This will open up a good opportunity for the second step - determining the status of Nagorno-Karabakh,” he said.
The negotiations in Bratislava were not called successful in the Azerbaijani press, and the failure of this meeting was not said. The media in Baku limited themselves to stating what had happened. However, in Armenia and in Moscow the Bratislava meeting aroused keen interest. A common place in opinions is the exhausted resource of Pashinyan, issued to him by world forces to familiarize himself with the Karabakh issue. Concrete and real proposals are expected from Yerevan for real progress in the settlement.
Stanislav Tarasov, expert on the problems of the countries of the Middle East and the Caucasus, columnist of the Regnum news agency, gave a comment to Yerevan 1in.am. “Moscow understands that it is high time for her to stop playing secrecy. We hoped that the revolutionary authorities of Armenia, unlike Serzh Sargsyan, would be more frank in the Karabakh issue and would tell about the details of the negotiations. That did not happen. Only abstract and contradictory statements sound, of which nothing is clear. Azerbaijan does not say much, but still voices its old formula. A new formula of Lavrov appeared which stumbled on the opposition of Baku and Yerevan for various reasons. As long as Moscow shows secrecy, Baku and Yerevan will manipulate this. Why then does Russia need this? However, is not it time for Russia to make it clear that there are other co-chairs besides it - the United States and France? It is not time for them to tackle this problem, especially since Azerbaijan and Armenia are more inclined towards the West. Therefore, it is time to pass the baton to Paris and Washington. For some reason, these meetings are always organized by Lavrov and Putin. Why do not Trump and Macron do this, why did their ministers completely forget where Karabakh is? Therefore, if I try to answer unequivocally the question, and what happened in Bratislava, I will answer that I do not know, sabotage has occurred. What did they talk about for three and a half hours? It is clear that they did not drink cognac, did not drink tea and did not play backgammon. If the foreign ministers talk for about four hours, that means they have a subject, a topic for discussion. And what topic, nobody knows,” Tarasov said.
A year and a half after the change of power in Armenia were provided to familiarize themselves with the Madrid Principles. This point of view was expressed in an interview with the program “At first glance” by Aysor.am, doctor of political science Khachik Galstyan.
“Azerbaijan revealed its cards in Bratislava. In the past year and a half Azerbaijan has used salami tactics - that is, presented its position in small portions. It seems that Bratislava’s cup of patience overfilled, and they completely put into circulation their maximalist position, which gave Armenia a lot of ground sharply react and present the Armenian vision of the conflict resolution in the minister’s speech. ”
According to Khachik Galstyan, today the OSCE MG mediators themselves are calling for embarking on meaningful negotiations. “Last year we had a revolution, a change of power, a new government was formed in Armenia, which did not have any experience in the past in the process of resolving the Karabakh conflict, new people came who were supposed to start negotiations from a new page. And over these one and a half years, in fact, the Armenian government has publicly stated that it is necessary to delve into the problems, to understand what it is about, which is prescribed in the Madrid principles, ”the political scientist believes.
“One and a half years is a sufficient period for the Armenian side to delve into and get acquainted with the origins of the process, therefore, the co-chairs note that it is necessary to refrain from artificial delays. It seems that it was addressed to us, and to speak the language of preconditions - to Azerbaijan,” he said.
Tigran Abrahamyan, whom the Yerevan media calls “the adviser to the president of Karabakh,” said that the Azerbaijani position, which was brought to Mnatsakanyan in Bratislava, was completely unacceptable to them. Moreover, the co-chairs had to do a lot of work in advance to prevent the dissemination of such statements, as this is clearly unequivocal way contrary to the logic of the current process.
Abrahamyan categorically rejected the topic of intercommunal intra-Karabakh dialogue between local Armenians and Azerbaijanis: “this is an unacceptable process, and attempts to bring it to the forefront will certainly lead to a final failure of the process.”
A review of the Armenian press shows that the expert society of a neighboring country rejects a phased plan to resolve the Karabakh problem, on which official Baku continues to insist. If in some Azerbaijani media and especially on the social network it is hotly discussed how many Azerbaijani regions Pashinyan will return, then in Yerevan the agenda is a completely different topic. They believe that Yerevan, with the support of Moscow, should achieve the abolition of the current borders of Armenia with the requirement to establish other ones, indicated in the Russian-Turkish treaty of 1921. In two years, the Russian-Turkish, unfulfilled agreement will be 100 years old. The mention of this document by Stanistal Tarasov and the deputy of the Russian Duma Konstantin Zatulin in Armenia is assessed as evidence of Russia's desire to expand the territory of Armenia. Yerevan often also refers to the arbitration award of US President Woodrow Wilson, who in 1918 "gave" half of the territory of Turkey to the Armenians. Wilson's plan was rejected by the Turks, also the mentioned Russian-Turkish document.
At the same time, disappointment in Pashinyan, the Armenian people and the state in overcoming the obstacles presented to them grew immeasurably in Armenia. Pashinyan did not find a common language with the actual leadership of Nagorno-Karabakh, among the possible future “presidents” of the Nagorno Karabakh there is no “Pashinyan man”, and the most likely leader in the Nagorno Karabakh is Sargsyanites Araik Harutyunyan, the Yerevan blogger said. In these conditions, the adoption by Armenia of an Azerbaijani, phased plan for the Karabakh settlement seems completely impossible.