Politics 13:01 21/01/2019 Armenia

French analyst sees ‘lack of transparency’ in Karabakh peace process

Panorama.am has conducted an interview with Laurent Leylekian, a French analyst on the European Union and Minor Asia and Huffington Post columnist, over the recent developments in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement process.

Mr Leylekian, I would like to hear your comment about the recent developments of Nagorno-Karabakh peace process, especially after the meeting of the Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers. What can you say on this?

- The first thing I would like to say, maybe underlining, is the lack of transparency. Of course, the negotiation processes are kept secret: we don’t even know what is on the table, so it’s quite difficult to have a definitive opinion. I have the impression, maybe quite pessimistic, of a kind of communication policy from Azerbaijan. My point is the following: Armenia recently experienced this famous ‘velvet revolution’, and Armenia has now quite a good image of the dynamic country which is stepping forward, and to cope with this new image of Armenia, Azerbaijan is faking an impression to make some concession to agree to the talks. So, you can see the things two ways: either that’s just a way for Azerbaijan to drive a kind of communication policy in order to create a good image too, or Azerbaijan is really expecting a lack of experience from Mr Pashinyan in the Karabakh issue and is trying to get some gain from this supposed weakness of Armenia. Honestly, I tend to think that this is rather a communication policy.

- After the meeting, the OSCE Minsk Group’s statement was so called positive one, and they stated that the ministers ‘agreed to prepare the population for a peace process.’ Do you think it is possible?

- When the Minks Group says that the countries need to prepare the population for concession, they are in their role, that’s their duty to say that thing, and that’s not the first time they say this. I am afraid the people in Karabakh are not ready at all to make any concession,  because they are ignored by the the negotiation process, and also in Azerbaijan because they have benn radicalized by their own authorities. This is unbelievable. I'm pessimistic.

- What can you forecast for the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process for future?
- At the time being, thanks to this change in Armenia Azerbaijan is now facing a hard situation. Yesterday they condemned again the European Parliament on human right issues. In the meantime, they are buying weapons from many countries, including my country France. They are also lobbying in France to make the French authorities launch trials against the cities, which set up so called friendship agreement with the cities of Karabakh. So, I don’t see any change in Azerbaijan. They are making some discourse, but the situation isn’t changing.

That’s a kind of wishful thinking from the Minsk Group co-chairs to say that they are urging the countries and that they are showing this optimistic mood, but in the end I don’t see something new. Recently there has been troops movements in Nakhichevan, and I don’t see any breakthrough in negotiations as long as the Minks Group doesn’t force the parties to make some concession. Armenia said on a numerous occasions that it is ready to make concession, Azerbaijan never did it. So, to reach agreements, maybe I am pessimistic, but I don’t see something positive in the near future.

Interview by Anna Mkrtchyan

Source Panorama.am
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