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Karabakh conflict

Armenia ‘losing agenda’ in Karabakh peace – opinion

The current processes over Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) see Armenia losing an advantageous position in the peace talks, a Yerevan-based politician said Monday, commenting on the latest developments.

At a public forum hosted by the analytical center Voskanapat, David Shahnazaryan addresed particularly the arrangements reached in Vienna, St. Petersburg and Geneva , expressing regret over missed opportunities “caused by the Armenian authorities’ inaction”.

“The issue was high on the agenda back in 2012, remaining practically the only topic after April 2016 [the period of heavy frontline offensives provoked by Azerbaijan]. It was all but about the Artsakh-Azerbaijan Line of Contact, with Azerbaijan being in a trap at the time. That agenda is now lost thanks to the Armenian authorities’ efforts,” he said.

Addressing the earlier calls for engaging Artsakh in the negotiation process, Shahnazaryan criticized the non-professional approach, which he said has now caused the adversary to raise demand the “legitimate status of the Azerbaijani community of Nagorno-Karabakh”.

“The representatives of the OSCE Minsk Group [co-chairing] states had pointed out to that, and notably, also international analytical centers raise the issue, which s full of hazards indeed,” the politician said, highlighting at the same time the essentially weakened self-determination component underlying the talks.

In his words, the available format on the negotiating table now is the  so-called step-by-step settlement plan which “sets aside the status, bringing the handover of regions to the forefront”. “And it doesn’t really matter at all whether it’s about one, two or three regions. That’s what is on the negotiating table now, and that’s what actually is being considered. There is an available document, which all the sides admit apart from Armenia,” he said.

Shahnazaryan also called attention to the differences between the Russia-Armenia and Russia-Azerbaijan relations, highlighting the disadvantages for the Armenian side. “The authorities represent only themselves when conducting negotiations, whereas it is important to point out to the strategic ally,” he added.

The politician further warned of the Armenian authorities’ implicit attempt to achieve the formation of a “totally subordinate government” in Artsakh to force them into accepting the “step-by-step scenario”.

“Obviously, the threat of military actions has increased to a considerable extent. I do not hint the likelihood of a war in the couple of days to come, but it may erupt at any moment virtually. For me personally, it stands to reason that these authorities cannot possibility lead the operations in that case,” Shahnazaryan added.