Our Analytics 22 november — 12:55

Pashinyan is on thin ice against Russia (Armenian PM is waiting for Aliyev in Brussels)

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BY ELNUR EMINOGLU, AZERI DAILY AUTHOR

There are only a few weeks left before the meeting of the leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia in Brussels. By and large, this meeting can be called the main historical event of the outgoing year. Regardless of its results. Although it is safe to voice the forecast for the upcoming meeting: historical results should not be expected. And, not only because Azerbaijan itself made history, ending the thirty-year occupation of low-lying Karabakh and abolishing the separatist entity in its upper part.

Brussels is not the capital that can take responsibility for the final settlement of border disputes, reformatting the regional security system and implementing the fundamental principles of peaceful coexistence in light of the planned unblocking of borders and corridors. Brussels doesn't exist in the region called the South Caucasus. It so happened that the collective West, by virtue of its conciliatory policy, renunciation of the romantic ideas of the beginning of the damned 1990s -- global liberalisation, cynical substitution of values -- has reconsidered its role in the South Caucasus and Central Asia. The West retained only a rather conditional economic presence, expressed in the dominance of the interests of energy companies.

The West has not been in the South Caucasus for a long time. The problem is different -- Pashinyan himself is in the West

There is no longer the collective West in the region. And the resulting vacuum gradually began to be occupied by the regional powers. First of all, Russia, partly Turkey, and to some extent Iran. True, there are remnants of the former political greatness and influence in Georgia. However, the dramatic events around the petrel of the geopolitical Eurasian revolution, Mikheil Saakashvili, showed who is the boss. The father of Caucasian democracy himself loudly announced this. The collective West has only one door, through which it is trying to squeeze into the region -- Yerevan. And every time, the stepfather of Caucasian democracy himself, Nikol Pashinyan, points his finger at this door. For a year after the signing of the Moscow Agreement, the head of the Armenian government has been cherishing the dream of deploying NATO troops along with Russian peacekeepers on the border between Azerbaijan and Armenia, trying to impose the format of the Minsk Group negotiations on Azerbaijan, transferring minefield maps through the US Department of State. That is, by all means possible to drag the collective West in the status of the guarantor of the peace process.

Although it is obvious to everyone that after the end of the war, a new format of the mediating mission in the person of Russia and Turkey naturally took shape, which reflects the real balance of forces in the region. But Pashinyan rejects reality, does not want to come to terms with it, desperately trying to change the existing real format. Pashinyan is doing his best to shift the negotiating platform from Moscow to Brussels and Washington, noticeably curtailing the participation of Russia and Putin in the settlement process by activating Washington and Brussels. How else can the illogical and disrespectful refusal of the Armenian PM to meet with Ilham Aliyev in Moscow be perceived? The Kremlin has made it clear that such a meeting requires the consent of all parties. Putin and Aliyev agreed. However, Pashinyan never expressed a clear position. Then Aliyev received a call from Brussels with the initiative to hold a meeting on the fields of the Eastern Partnership hostile to Moscow. It seems that Charles Michel was prompted from Yerevan. Indeed, in the days of the escalation of tension on November 16, Secretary of the Armenian Security Council Armen Grigoryan openly stated that Yerevan would have to turn to its other international allies. So they turned. How much more frank?

Armen Grigoryan openly stated that Armenia will turn to its international partners. So they did

From the first day of the end of the war, Moscow was leading the peace process. And it was there that secret negotiations were held on the return to a peaceful life, the delimitation of borders, and the restoration of transport corridors. Overchuk's commission worked there. Defence ministers, heads of special services, deputy prime ministers, special representatives of heads of state met there.

Unexpectedly for the public of the countries, but quite expectedly for the expert community, Pashinyan, refusing to meet in Moscow, insists on holding talks in Brussels. Moreover, judging by the information provided by a high-ranking EU official on condition of anonymity to the Armenian service of Radio Liberty, we are talking about an attempt to globally shift the negotiation process from Moscow to Brussels.

Pay attention to the formulation of the question! 'The goal is to put Pashinyan and Aliyev at the same table to take confidence-building measures,' said the European official. The question is, isn't the European Union aware that Pashinyan and Aliyev long ago sat down at the same table in Moscow immediately after the end of the war in January 2021 in the presence of the Russian leader? Suppose, instead of Putin, the European leader Charles Michel appears at the new negotiating table. What will it change?

Charles Michel's office also told RFE/RL that Pashinyan and Aliyev agreed 'to discuss the regional situation and ways to overcome differences in the name of a prosperous and stable South Caucasus, which is facilitated by the European Union.' Isn't Russia contributing to the prosperity and stabilisation of the South Caucasus? Or are Pashinyan and his government challenging this opinion and trying to reconsider Russia's role in the peace process?

Yerevan is the last door for the West. And Pashinyan stands at this door

Brussels states that 'the parties also agreed to establish a direct line of communication at the level of defence ministers, which will serve as an incident prevention mechanism.' However, this mechanism has been operating in Moscow for over a year now. The siloviki have developed their own communication mechanism, including with the participation of the Russian Ministry of Defence. This clearly manifested itself during the November exacerbation in Zangezur. It seems that Yerevan and Brussels have forgotten about the presence of the Russian peacekeeping contingent in Karabakh and Zangezur. Or is Pashinyan going to the end to achieve the expulsion of Russian troops and the introduction of a contingent of the Western coalition?

Most striking of all was the revelation of the European official, who announced the need to restore transport corridors. Moreover, they offered to finance projects of transport corridors. But the issue of the Zangezur corridor and the restoration of communications over the past year has become the talk of the town in Moscow, Ankara, Baku and Yerevan. And in Brussels, apparently, from time to time they read Russian and Caucasian newspapers. And diplomats know about the talks in Moscow first-hand. One thing is not clear -- what is the goal pursued in Brussels and Yerevan, thinking about the reproduction of the Moscow process on the western platform. It does not require a special analytical mind, the goal is evident -- it is to knock Russia out of the process as a guarantor of the new regional order.

The question is: why did Baku agree to accept the Euro-Yerevan model of negotiations? From the first day of the conflict and the post-conflict period, Baku openly declared that it was ready to negotiate with Yerevan at any platform, excluding the Minsk Group format tied to the first war. Aliyev is ready to talk with Pashinyan in Moscow, Brussels, Beijing, and even Tehran, demanding unconditional recognition of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and readiness to implement the Zangezur corridor. Only Pashinyan is not ready to talk with Aliyev in Moscow. The Armenian prime minister feels confident only in Brussels. Armenia and Russia are no longer on the same road. Well, Pashinyan got involved in a new geopolitical adventure. And it seems that in Yerevan they do not heed that this time the fate of Armenia itself is at stake. However, the long-awaited dramatic denouement does not have to wait long.

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