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.