Caucasus Reality 8 january — 11:00

Matthew Bryza: 'Pashinyan may take risk in Karabakh settlement'

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BY ZAUR RASULZADEH

The prospect of the resumption in the near future of negotiations on the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh problem is becoming, as many analysts believe, more and more likely. In any case, international mediators recently make quite optimistic statements.

Encouraging statements are also voiced by politicians on both sides of the conflict. Acting Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan called the resolution of the Karabakh conflict the main priority of Armenia. 'We will continue the process of peaceful settlement in the name of stability and peace in the region. Settlement requires the efforts of all parties,' he said.

Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov stated even more resolutely: 'I consider that at the last meeting in Milan with my Armenian counterpart, we reached an understanding for the first time in a long time.'

And the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs note as a very positive fact the reduction in the number of ceasefire violations on the contact line, which they perceive as a result of a brief but fruitful conversation between the leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia - Aliyev and Pashinyan - at the end of September at the CIS summit. The mediators hope that their meeting will be soon possible, 'result oriented,' writes the Armenian edition 'Versions and Comments.'

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also said after the recent talks in Baku: 'We had a very detailed, lengthy conversation with the President of Azerbaijan. We felt his sincere intention to resume negotiations, to seek constructive solutions.'

Lavrov noted that after the parliamentary elections in Armenia, a government is to be formed. 'After that, I think, the Armenian side will be ready together with Azerbaijani colleagues, together with the co-chairs to resume the negotiation process,' he stressed.

High-ranking representatives of the American administration, another mediator country, are talking about the possibility of a new stage of negotiations after the Armenian elections.

From all of the above, we can assume that the interested parties were waiting for the end of the transformation of power after the Armenian 'velvet revolution,' and everything goes to the fact that negotiations on Karabakh will continue in the first weeks of the new year. Sergey Lavrov, in essence, has already announced them: 'We will strive to search not only for a fundamentally new solution - the basics of the settlement are understandable, but we will strive to find such tactical, if you like, creative ideas that will help build a consensus.'

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also said after the recent talks in Baku: 'We had a very detailed, lengthy conversation with the President of Azerbaijan. We felt his sincere intention to resume negotiations, to seek constructive solutions.'

Lavrov noted that after the parliamentary elections in Armenia, a government is to be formed. 'After that, I think, the Armenian side will be ready together with Azerbaijani colleagues, together with the co-chairs to resume the negotiation process,' he stressed.

High-ranking representatives of the American administration, another mediator country, are talking about the possibility of a new stage of negotiations after the Armenian elections.

From all of the above, we can assume that the interested parties were waiting for the end of the transformation of power after the Armenian 'velvet revolution,' and everything goes to the fact that negotiations on Karabakh will continue in the first weeks of the new year. Sergey Lavrov, in essence, has already announced them: 'We will strive to search not only for a fundamentally new solution - the basics of the settlement are understandable, but we will strive to find such tactical, if you like, creative ideas that will help build a consensus.'

Nevertheless, the former OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair Matthew Bryza is also inclined to see a positive outlook in the Karabakh settlement. In an interview with Azeri Daily, he noted that after the victory of Pashinyan's political force in parliamentary elections, he had a field for manoeuvres.

'I do not exclude that Pashinyan could take a number of risky steps in solving the Karabakh problem. I am not personally acquainted with him and I cannot say what steps he specifically can take. It largely depends on what relations will Pashinyan and President Aliyev have and how much will they trust each other. So it is difficult to specify something for now. But one thing I know for sure: if presidents Kocharyan and Sargsyan had obligations to the leaders of Karabakh, then Pashinyan does not have such obligations, and in this respect he is freer,' Bryza said.

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