Permanent solution in Karabakh could make Russian military presence unnecessary - Expert -

28 October, Thursday

Permanent solution in Karabakh could make Russian military presence unnecessary - Expert

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US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of European and Eurasia Affairs George Kent made a speech at an online seminar hosted by Turkish Heritage Organization in Washington.

In his speech, he talked about the current situation around the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

He said Russia was trying to keep the conflict around Nagorno-Karabakh, and not to settle it.

He expects the Azerbaijani government to increase dissatisfaction with the presence of Russian peacekeepers in Karabakh.

George Kent also quoted the Deputy Foreign Minister of Georgia: "This is the situation that happened in Georgia in 1998. Azerbaijan will be in the situation that Georgia faced in 2008. Then it will come to the current situation emerging in our country."

It means that Georgian scenario  could happen in Nagorno-Karabakh in the near future.

It should be noted that when Georgia, in the year of 2008,  was involved in the military confrontation  with Russian forces in its sovereign territories - South Ossetia and Abkhazia, it brought about severe and sturdy consequences. As a result, Russia occupied South Ossetia and Abhhazia. 

Kent added that Russia is trying to take advantage of the Karabakh conflict by manipulating it and preventing Azerbaijan and Armenia from moving forward.

Speaking to Eurasia Diary, Patrick Walsh, Irish historian and political expert, commented on general thoughts about the role of Russia in the future settlement of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. As well, in his comments he touched upon the US and Turkey cooperation in ensuring peace and stability in the South Caucasus.

Irish historian Patrick Walsh: Karabakh has never been part of an Armenian  state

According to him, the domination of the South Caucasus region is a one of the priorities in the geopolitical interests of Russia.

“Moscow is mainly concerned over the stability of this region and is no longer able to dominate it, like it did in Soviet and Tsarist times. Like all Great Powers it has geopolitical interests and will exert them in any way it can,” he said.  

Walsh pointed out that Azerbaijan now has the task of managing the Russian presence in order to utilise it as a positive force in holding Yerevan to the settlement.

 “President Aliyev has demonstrated great understanding and skill in doing this so far. He has not underestimated Russia in the same way as the Armenians did. Handling Russia is a big challenge but there is nobody better qualified to do it,” he stressed.

According to some experts and politicians, the possibility of Georgian scenario could occur in Nagorno-Karabakh in the near future.

However, Walsh rejected all these claims and said it is impossible for Georgian scenario to happen in Nagorno-Karabakh. 

“Georgia is a different case. The Rose Revolution ruptured Russia-Georgian relations. The focus of Saakashvili was Georgia's admission to NATO and it received US military assistance. Moscow saw this as a US foothold in the South Caucasus and used the conflict in South Ossetia to warn the Georgians off. Azerbaijan's relationship with Russia is entirely different. It is based upon being a strong independent nation having good relations with a neighbour. Two qualities that Moscow respects,” he stressed.

In addition, touching upon the cases of Russian threat in Nagorno-Karabakh, Irish expert noted that the only positive development in the region could persuade Russia to leave.

“Russia cannot be defeated militarily so the task is to ensure that it is persuaded to leave Karabakh when its positive work is done. This can only be achieved politically by the development of a permanent solution in the region that makes a future Russian military presence unnecessary,” expert said.

When it comes to the role of the US and Turkey in the South Caucasus, Irish expert stressed that the US-Turkey cooperation could contribute to peace and stability in the region.

It should be noted that a number of US generals appreciated Turkey's role in the Second Karabakh War and the ceasefire process. In their opinion, the United States and Turkey could cooperate in the process of stabilization in the region of the South Caucasus. 

“ The US and Turkey could play a positive role and could contribute to peace in the region. However, US/Turkish relations are not good at present and the Armenian Diaspora is a poisonous element that disables the US in exerting influence in the Turkic world. The US has much to gain in re-establishing good relations with Turkey and a more positive US economic contribution to peace and prosperity in the region is long overdue,” he added. 

by Yunis Abdullayev 

Eurasia Diary

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