The demilitarized zone on the Armenian-Azerbaijan border is impossible - Experts said -

2 December, Friday

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The demilitarized zone on the Armenian-Azerbaijan border is impossible - Experts said

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 Former US Ambassador to Armenia John Evans supported Armenia’s Human Rights Defender (Ombudsman) Arman Tatoyan, who calls for the creation of a demilitarized security zone on the country’s border with Azerbaijan, and the immediate removal of Azerbaijani forces from the vicinity of Armenian villages and roads connecting Armenian cities.

Former ambassador said that the demilitarized zone was the only way to suppress the tension between Armenian and Azerbaijan border units in the region.

It should be noted that the Pashinyan government has repeatedly stated that they have suggested the creation of a neutral security zone on the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan.  According to them, there is a need for the removal of Armenian and Azerbaijani military units from the areas of state border and location of international peacekeeping forces to guide security in the region.

Is there any possibility for the creation of a demilitarized security zone at the border of Armenia with Azerbaijan? Would the US and Russian leadership insist on the establishment of such a security zone between two neighbouring countries?

According to Rusif Huseynov, co-founder of Topchubashov analytical centre, there is no incentive for Azerbaijani government to agree on the foundation of a demilitarized security zone on the border with Armenia.

“The Azerbaijani authorities, who could finally secure control over its internationally recognized borders after such a long time and after last year`s bloody war may be reluctant to establish a demilitarized security zone on the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The tragic experience of lacking sovereignty over our territories and boundaries is still fresh. This is why there is currently no incentive for the Azerbaijani side to agree on a demilitarized security zone on the border. But incentives may appear if the Armenian side also takes positive steps in this direction”, he said.

Huseynov stressed that the creation of the neutral border zone would be an important issue in the agenda of negotiations on future peace agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

“The precondition for any talks about a demilitarized security zone could be peace agreement and mutual recognition of each other`s territorial integrity,” he noted.

As for the possible attitude of the OSCE Minsk Group towards Armenia’s proposal on the demilitarized security zone, the Co-chair countries, especially Russia and the United States, would insist on this issue.

Some experts believed that the Minsk Group would include the issue of the neutral zone in the agreement on the last solution of conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

However, Turan Gafarli, expert on regional studies at the TRT World Research Centre, believed that the creation of a demilitarized zone would be only possible inside Armenia, not on the border with Azerbaijan. He does not think that Moscow and Washington will insist on this issue.

“I do not think that there is a possibility that the US and Russia will insist on the demilitarized zone on the border with Azerbaijan.  Even if there will be an idea of the creation of a demilitarised zone it should be inside the Armenian border not Azerbaijani,” Gafarli said.

“But in this case we know that the Armenian government wants the Russian army to protect its border with Azerbaijan as it does with its Turkish border.  I do not think that the creation of a demilitarised zone will bring anything to the US and Russia. I do not believe that Russia would be interested in it either,” he added.

Gafarli underscored that it would be logical only if we will not see any Russian troops in the South Caucasus and all transport links would be open between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

“In any case these are all details of the final peace agreement which is not signed. Arguing that Azerbaijani army holds Armenian villages and roads is absurd because these links will be passing through either sovereign territory of Azerbaijan or getting under Azerbaijani sovereignty after rightful delimitation of the border,” he noted. 

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