"The activation of the West forces Russia to take steps," Styopa Safaryan
Regarding the processes taking place in the region, especially around Armenia and Artsakh, Radar Armenia spoke with Styopa Safaryan, the founder of the Armenian Institute of International and Security Affairs (AIISA).
-According to the rumors, a new group of the EU observation mission will arrive in Armenia in a month for a longer term. In your opinion, how effective is the presence of EU observers, considering that during the two-month company, the Azerbaijani side violated the ceasefire daily?
- Generally, we should evaluate everything correctly and have reasonable expectations from specific programs or positions. We sometimes increase our expectations, and it often seems to us that it is border protection or pushing back the Azerbaijani troops. It is just a tool, and the two-month mission played an important role. In general, Azerbaijan works very cunningly. Every time after the incident, the Azerbaijani side blames Armenia, works intensively in the capitals of those countries in various ways, even paying bribes, and presents that it is only defending itself, responding to the Armenian side. The Armenian side does not remain calm; it is about revenge thinking, etc. There is a problem with unsourced information in the EU. I know of several cases in which the embassy of one country in Baku said something different, the embassy in Yerevan said something else, and a dispute arose as to whose statement was correct. The first problem solved by last year's mission is that the EU found out exactly who was violating the ceasefire. And now, if we are talking about a two-year deployment, it means that Aliyev is deprived of the tool to "muddy the waters" and blur the views because the EU observers will report to their capital, who is the pre-attacking party. Secondly, Aliyev will also restrain his steps because he will know that in case of unleashing a war, there will be a report, an assessment, which will not allow him to legitimize his actions. And thirdly, the Armenian side will get the right to put on its agenda demands restoration with respect for territorial integrity on a documented basis. But this does not mean that the EU observers will guarantee 100 percent that the next day, the Azerbaijani armed forces will leave the RA territory or that the Azerbaijani side will meekly submit to the Europeans' demand. But on the international stage, Armenia will have its playing cards and the foundations of its legitimate demands.
- What do you think will be Russia's position on this issue?
- On May 14, 2021, Russia received a similar proposal to deploy its observers, including military observers but chose not to be present in those matters. Of course, Russia will not like the deployment of EU observers, especially since the RA Foreign Minister did not participate in the Bayramov-Lavrov meeting at the end of last year. In his assessments of that day, Lavrov criticized Armenia's attempts to solve its problems with various international structures or observers. And he expressed his anger about whether Armenia believes it will solve its problems. Of course, we know what the attitude will be, but this does not mean that Armenia should do nothing, put up with the situation, or go beyond incomprehensible and unacceptable approaches for Russia to solve its problems. We must understand that we are alone, even though Russia is our ally on paper. Maria Zakharova says we should appreciate Russia's contribution to protecting our borders. It is very doubtful what kind of investment it is. However, we have to solve our problems. We cannot leave the edges unprotected and uncontrolled, especially since the international community and structures have obligations toward Armenia. And not only Armenia has obligations. Global networks are obliged to ensure the territorial integrity of Armenia. And in that regard, Armenia should continue to take every possible step, using the most minor and most significant opportunity, to solve its problems.
- 16 children from Artsakh returned to Artsakh yesterday. According to you, is this the result of pressure from the international community or the efforts of the Russian side? What do you think? Is this a premise that the next step will be the opening of the Lachin Corridor?
- I think that Western activation forces Russia to take steps so that the laurels do not remain with the West, which from the very first days of the new year began to raise the topic of the opening of the Lachin Corridor again, with appeals from various embassies and officials. It was evident to Azerbaijan and Russia that they could only keep the corridor closed for a short time. Moreover, Azerbaijan may succumb to Western pressure, and in the end, it will turn out that the laurels of victory go to Russia, not to the West. That is why Russia is taking some steps. This situation is very similar to the issue of prisoners of war. When the West does not intervene, prisoners of war do not return, and when prisoners return with the mediation of the West, Russia tries to take steps. The West is forcing Russia to act.
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