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 Monday, March 20 2017 12:29

Marianna Mkrtchyan

Former co-chair of OSCE Minsk Group: In Karabakh issue the balance of  advantage lies with Armenia

Former co-chair of OSCE Minsk Group: In Karabakh issue the balance of  advantage lies with Armenia

ArmInfo.The settlement of the Karabakh conflict - the hardest problem in the post-Soviet space - needs the political will of the two countries, Vyacheslav Trubnikov,  former Russian co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, former first deputy  foreign minister of Russia, head of the Foreign Intelligence Service,  says in an interview with haqqin.az. 

He thinks political will is the leaders' ability to take steps making  neither of the parties a winner. "It is necessary to look for  compromises," Trubnikov says, noting that the Armenian side has  always insisted and keeps assuring that the return of the seven  districts is an integral part of a comprehensive solution to the  Karabakh problem.      

When asked whether Armenia insists on determining Karabakh's status  outside Azerbaijan, Trubnikov replies that various options have been  discussed, but the Armenian side has always stated that it is not  going to give the territories just for fun. "Anyway, Armenians have  been upholding this idea and Azerbaijan has never agreed to an  independent status of Karabakh. Therefore, the problem has reached a  deadlock. Nevertheless, in the early 2000s the parties came close to  the settlement. In April 2000, we met in Key West (USA). Presidents  Heydar Aliyev and Robert Kocharyan even agreed on the provisions of  the peace agreement. For our part, we found the formula of using the  Lachin corridor as a link between Armenia and Karabakh, and Meghri -  as a link between Nakhijevan and Azerbaijan.  The international  community represented by the OSCE Minsk Group co-chair countries was  ready to fund this option of settlement through the IMF. In addition,  Armenia gave its consent to withdrawal of its units from the occupied  territories and both parties agreed to the interim status of  Nagorno-Karabakh. Unfortunately, this decision was either incomplete  or inconvenient for someone," he says. 

Trubnikov does not share the opinion that it is Russia that torpedoes  the peace agreement between Azerbaijan and Armenia. He thinks that  Russia, on the contrary, is doing everything possible to stop that  conflict and to establish peace on its southern borders. "I had never  received any instructions from the Kremlin to torpedo the conflict or  bring it to a standstill. Quite the opposite, I had always been  instructed to find settlement options," he notes. Trubnikov is  convinced that no pressure on either of the parties will give any  result. He thinks that the Armenian side has more advantages than  Azerbaijan, meaning that it holds control over Karabakh and the  surrounding territories. "Armenia will use its trump cards in the  talks.  Pressure will give an opposite effect. Therefore, it is  necessary to patiently persuade the sides to settle the conflict  peacefully. There is no alternative to the peaceful settlement of the  conflict. There is no military settlement. First of all, the two  sides' political will is needed," he says. 

He stresses the need to create an atmosphere of confidence. No  bellicose rhetoric should be used. "Any bellicose statements hinder  the settlement of the problem. The "no war no peace" situation is  extremely dangerous," he says.

The former co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group is convinced that any  attempts to resolve the conflict in the military way will only  complicate the problem and probably make Azerbaijan lose some other  territories as well. "Russia, for its part, will do everything  possible to prevent resumption of military actions. After all, it is  a matter of our national security," he says, adding that as a  co-chair country of the OSCE Minsk Group, Russia will be looking for  settlement options. 

He thinks that there is no need to deploy peacekeepers in the  conflict zone. He also points out the problem of refugees. "In  addition to the problem of Azeri refugees, there is also the problem  of the Armenians of Baku and Sumgait, who had been driven out of  their homes long before the occupation of Azeri territories.   Therefore, this problem needs a comprehensive solution without  violating the sides' interests. Azerbaijanis and Armenians should  themselves come to a certain solution. You should finally understand  that it is not the problem of Putin, Trump or Hollande. It is the  problems of Azerbaijanis and Armenians! You should not shift your  problems on us. You should come to an agreement and we will willingly  help you. It is the problem of sustainable development of Azerbaijan  and Armenia, the welfare of their people. Therefore, they should be  interested in the settlement most of all," Trubnikov says. 

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