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The problem is how far Washington is ready to promote the Yerevan version

Politics

17 November, 20:25

The interlocutor of Radar Armenia is political commentator Hakob Badalyan.

- Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan spoke in the National Assembly about the possibility of a peace treaty, noting that Armenia proposes to sign a framework agreement with Azerbaijan. What does this mean, how realistic do you consider the signing of that document?

- With its declarations of readiness to sign a peace treaty, Armenia is simply trying to show that it is constructively disposed in terms of continuing the peace process and is ready to cooperate in matters of regional peace and international security in that context. And from this point of view, those statements solve the problem of diplomatic tactics. As for the probability that such an agreement will be signed, it is very low. We see that there are significant disagreements in the positions of the conflicting parties regarding the border formulations of the Artsakh issue, as well as approaches to demarcation and delimitation. Not to mention the differences between the bigger players. By and large, the issue of the Armenia-Azerbaijan peace treaty depends neither on the positions of Armenia nor Azerbaijan but on the logic of the development of the geopolitical confrontation, which today unfolds in different directions, with the epicenter of the Ukrainian war. This does not mean at all that the positions of Armenia and Azerbaijan do not have any influence, we just have to appreciate that these influences and determination have a limited influence on the developments taking place in the wider environment. And the Armenian-Azerbaijani problem is undoubtedly considered as a means and a tool in wider developments.

- US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, in a telephone conversation with the RA Prime Minister, urged to continue progress towards concrete results to support the peace process. How will you interpret Blinken's admonition? What does the United States understand?

- The calls made by the Secretary of State of the United States to both Yerevan and Baku and the urging to hold the negotiation are simply due to the problem of keeping the diplomatic activity of the United States initiative. Moreover, we see that the competition in this regard is quite big. There is not only a tripartite process with the participation of the Russian Federation, but recently Iran has been playing a very active role in different formats, as well as the active initiative of France. The USA is just trying to solve the question of the viability and influence of its line. By the way, in that regard, it is noteworthy that the phone calls of the US Secretary of State are combined with the well-known resolution adopted in the French Senate, which has a consultative nature, but reflects the strategic goals of France. According to me, the strategic goals of France are within that framework: to ensure influence on the Caucasian "game" and in this context, a decisive participation in wider geopolitical developments. The situation in the Caucasus, the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict, is undoubtedly considered as a means of wider confrontation.

- Nikol Pashinyan also announced that our text regarding the peace treaty was handed over to the Azerbaijani side in Washington. On the other hand, according to him, the Russian proposals for a peace treaty are acceptable to Armenia. In your opinion, do the Russian and American proposals contradict each other, or do they complement each other? In this context is it more of a substantive struggle or a moderation struggle between the two major players?

- It is still not clear what details the text of the contract forwarded by Yerevan contains, and maybe Yerevan will also provide details in this regard. Although it is possible to guess that it refers to emphasizing the Artsakh issue. So far we know that this is where the main disagreement lies. Yerevan declares that the five points presented by Azerbaijan are acceptable for it, but they are incomplete, because they do not address all the problems, in particular, the issue of Artsakh's security and rights, the issue of the Artsakh conflict. It must be assumed that the text transmitted by Yerevan to Washington includes that very issue. And the problem there is what kind of approach Washington has towards it and how ready it is to promote the Yerevan version or find a compromise approach. If we talk about the approaches of Washington and Moscow, by and large, the main problem is the struggle of regional management, accordingly, also to manage the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict, which brings great opportunities for influence, both in terms of regional and neighboring regions' processes. As for the content difference, at least for now we can consider one difference: the approaches regarding the status of Artsakh. We know that the Russian side proposes to postpone the status issue and record this postponement. In other words, he suggests to the parties to record that they agree to leave this issue to the future with an uncertain perspective. And the Washingtonian approach seems to be the opposite. In other words, record the problem and start solving it. It is possible to judge that for now this approach implies consideration of Artsakh (at least in some capacity) as part of Azerbaijan. When the Prime Minister of Armenia announced months ago that there is an expectation of the Armenian side to lower the bar, and that announcement stimulated intense political developments in Armenia, both the USA and the EU welcomed that approach, which means that they are really considering such a status perspective. And here is the fundamental difference between the American and Russian proposals, which is only a superficial impression.
Along with all that, it is necessary to draw attention to the fact that in recent days there has been a lot of talk about American-Russian contacts. We saw that there was talk of triangular contacts between Biden's adviser Sullivan and Ushakov, the secretary of the Council of the Russian Federation and Putin's assistant. Then the meeting of the US and Russian intelligence chiefs took place in Ankara. We cannot claim at all that these contacts are taking place in an atmosphere of agreement. And we cannot say what range of issues are being discussed, but we cannot rule out that the issue of coordinating certain actions in the Caucasus is also discussed in those contacts. Here, a lot depends on the circumstances of what approaches there may be regarding the Iranian issue and what position Iran will have towards the American-Russian contacts. Especially when we see the development of extremely close cooperation between Iran and Russia. Summing up, I would like to note that in these developments, what kind of discussions are taking place in the American-Chinese field is also of key importance. In Bali, within the framework of the G20 summit, a meeting between the two presidents took place and an agreement was reached that the US Secretary of State would visit China. This means that there is a perspective of objective discussions. But to what extent that perspective is oriented towards agreement is a big question.
Hayk Magoyan