Caucasus Reality 15 march — 14:55

It's becoming hot in Karabakh (Armenia has 20 days left)

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BY NAIR ALIYEV, INFORMATION SECTION

After refusing substantive negotiations with Azerbaijan, and 'referendums' in separatist Nagorno-Karabakh, Armenia fell into an open impasse. This is confirmed by the statements made by French President Francois Hollande during the visit of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev to this country.

The head of the French state directly stated the need to resume negotiations between Azerbaijan and Armenia and the unacceptability of the current status quo in Nagorno-Karabakh.

In his turn, President Ilham Aliyev noted that Azerbaijan stands for early resumption of negotiations, but Armenia continues to boycott them. Agreed that they had the status of an unacceptable status quo.

There is a situation when all those involved in the negotiations are pressing on Yerevan, insisting on negotiations, but Armenia is jibbing. Formally, the Armenian leadership agrres with the fact that there are no alternative to the talks. Serzh Sargsyan stated about this during his visit to Moscow.

But Yerevan is ready to return to the negotiating table only if a mechanism is created to investigate violations of the cease-fire regime. In principle, Azerbaijan does not want to create any borders in its occupied and internationally recognised territories, more so under the conditions of Armenia's refusal to withdraw its occupation forces.

Realising that the war is an alternative to negotiations, Sargsyan still tries to draw time, at least until the end of the parliamentary elections in Armenia.

An additional headache to the Armenian leadership was added by the 'referendum' in 'NKR,' during which that unrecognised entity was renamed 'Artsakh Republic.' In the international expert community it was considered that Armenia had put itself out in a bad light. After all, renaming 'NKR' into 'Artsakh' is an obvious attempt to get rid of the Azerbaijani trace. And this is another indicator of Yerevan's lack of readiness to agree on something at least.

It came to the point that the Armenian president, trying to justify the renaming of the 'NKR,' stated that 'Artsakh' is a factor contributing to stability and security in the Greater Middle East region! That's it, neither more, nor less. However, Sargsyan did not give any arguments in favour of his thesis.

Whatever it was, it is obvious that official Yerevan does not have much time left: the parliamentary elections in this country will be held on April 2. After that, the current status quo around Nagorno-Karabakh will no longer be preserved. And here only three options are possible.

The first is Armenia's consent to substantive negotiations. The second is the coercion of Armenia to negotiations by Azerbaijan.

And the third is Armenia's recognition of the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh, the rejection of attempts at negotiations and the inevitable big war.

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