MOSCOW (News.az)—Armenia and Azerbaijan are far from reaching a settlement to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the OSCE Minsk Group must prevent a new war from breaking out in the region, Vladimir Kazimirov, said Monday.
Kazimirov’s remarks come as the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan were meeting on the sidelines of an OSCE ministerial conference in Athens amid heightened tension following renewed threats of military action against Armenia and Karabakh by Azerbaijan’s president one day before sitting down with his Armenian counterpart in Munich on November 23.
The retired Russian ambassador described the final status of Nagorno-Karabakh as the main bone of contention between the two countries, polarizing the peace process and preventing any sort of near-term solution to the conflict.
“In each of the three sides to the conflict society is not ready for mutual concessions and no breakthrough is possible at the moment on the basic principles of an agreement and especially not on getting such an agreement signed,” argued Kazimov.
Among the reasons making compromise difficult, he explained is that both sides are “hampered” by complex “political” challenges. “Baku is hampered by a complex of failure in the 1991-1994 war; Yerevan is hampered by domestic political difficulties and the normalization of relations with Turkey; and Stepanakert is hampered by exclusion from the negotiations.”
“Since a settlement is still a long-way off, the use of force has to be ruled out,” Kazimirov said, adding that the US, France and Russia, as co-chairs of the Minsk Group, should ensure the prevention of any resumption of war.
Such an approach, he said, “is not naive pacifism, but a logical necessity bearing in mind the history and geography of the region.” He said that even “if one of the sides does have the advantage, it can only move the front line and will not achieve a final resolution of the conflict.”
“A resumption of war would be a moral failure for the OSCE, as the latter has been the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict mediator since 1992”, Kazimirov said.
“It should not be forgotten that the war in Karabakh lasted two and a half years, claimed almost 30,000 lives, and turned a million Azerbaijanis and Armenians into refugees and displaced persons. War with the use of modern weaponry, major attacks and raids would be especially harsh,” the former diplomat said, ruling out the possibility of a quick war because of what he called an “approximate parity in forces.”