"There may be constant clashes on the border due to the presence of the Russian military in the region"
Recent statements from Moscow and Baku have shed light on the forthcoming negotiations regarding the presence of Russian peacekeepers in Nagorno-Karabakh, signaling a crucial phase in the ongoing diplomatic discourse between the two nations. The announcement, made by Russian Ambassador to Azerbaijan Mikhail Yevdokimov, underscores the significance both parties attach to the issue of maintaining stability in the region.
Echoing these sentiments, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov emphasized the positive role played by Russian peacekeepers in Nagorno-Karabakh, citing consensus between Moscow and Baku on the matter. He underscored the importance of their presence in bolstering stability and confidence, as well as facilitating the return of residents to the region.
The presence of Russian peacekeepers in Nagorno-Karabakh stems from a trilateral statement signed on November 9, 2020, with their term set to expire in 2025. However, their continued presence hinges on the agreement of all involved parties.
In the midst of these discussions, concerns were expressed about the security of the Armenian population in the region after the expiration of the peacekeeping mandate. Aghil Abbas, a member of the Milli Majlis, expressed concerns about their safety in a comment for Turan, suggesting a potential outcome after the end of the agreement.
Meanwhile, political commentator Arastun Orujlu, in an interview with Radio Azadlig, stressed Russia's strategic interests in maintaining a military presence in Nagorno-Karabakh, using its relations with Azerbaijan to achieve its own geopolitical goals. Orujlu pointed out that Azerbaijan's cooperation with Russia has, to some extent, limited its foreign policy alternatives, potentially making it more susceptible to Russian influence.
Orujlu's analysis underscores Azerbaijan's delicate diplomatic balancing act, as it seeks to manage its relationship with Russia while safeguarding its sovereignty and national interests. He suggests that Azerbaijan's forthcoming elections may further complicate the situation, potentially influencing the timing and outcome of negotiations regarding the peacekeeping contingent.
Moreover, Orujlu warns of potential repercussions if Baku demands the withdrawal of Russian peacekeepers, cautioning that Russia could resort to measures aimed at destabilizing Azerbaijan, including exacerbating internal political tensions or stoking conflict along the Azerbaijani-Armenian border.
In essence, the negotiations surrounding the presence of Russian peacekeepers in Nagorno-Karabakh represent a critical juncture in the evolving dynamics of regional geopolitics. As Azerbaijan navigates these diplomatic waters, it must carefully weigh its strategic interests and consider the potential implications of its decisions on regional stability and its relationship with Russia. Ultimately, the outcome of these negotiations will shape the future trajectory of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and influence broader regional dynamics.