May 6, 2009 - 00:40 AMT
Armenian-Turkish summit in Prague
"Cautious optimism", "window", "golden opportunity" and other similar euphemisms that were called to disguise what has long been clear are already a thing of the past; NKR will never be returned to Azerbaijan and Baku has to admit it.
The next meeting between the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan at the summit of "Eastern Partnership" due in Prague will apparently not introduce a breakthrough in the regulation of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. By the way, we would not even discuss this issue as everything is clear as it is. But one circumstance made us do it, namely the absence of the Nagorno-Karabakh issue in the notorious Armenian-Turkish "road map", which no one has ever seen and which simply does not exist.
Exactly at the threshold of the summit, Armenian and Azerbaijani Ministers of Foreign Affairs left for Washington at Hilary Clinton's invitation. To all appearances, negotiations at the State Department were conducted as expected: minimum information and various "deductions" of the analysts, leading as always to one and the same idea - no breakthrough is foreseen in the NKR conflict in the near future even if Armenian-Turkish relations are normalized. "Cautious optimism", "window", "golden opportunity" and other similar euphemisms that were called to disguise what has long been clear are already a thing of the past; NKR will never be returned to Azerbaijan and Baku has to admit it. Sure, the pill must be sugared, for instance by giving carte blanche to various energy projects where Azerbaijan, or, to be more accurate, the Aliyev clan, is involved.
As usual, co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group did not fail to express themselves. In the words of French Co-chair Bernard Fassier, the mediators "are looking forward to further progress. The co-chairing countries presented the final version of the basic principles to the parties two years ago, in late 2007, and we hope that the leaders can make a progress in validation of these principles."
"The Prague meeting will be the fourth meeting between the Presidents after the St. Petersburg meeting a year ago in June, which appeared to be quite constructive. The Moscow meeting was constructive too; it ended with signing of the Moscow Declaration where the Presidents agreed that it is very important that the regulation be political, based on all the principles and norms of the international law. Later, they met in Zurich in late January 2009, and it was another positive meeting. Thus, we very much hope that in this framework, Prague will be a continuation of constructive meetings," said Fassier.
But in Prague President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan will also meet President of Turkey Abdullah Gul. It is natural that in light of the cabinet change of Turkish ministers, certain changes are outlined in foreign policy of the country, which will be discussed at the encounter. It is possible to assume that after the Prague meeting negotiations on restoration of Armenian-Turkish relations will become more intensive, especially if we take into consideration the fact that the United States is interested in them. At least outwardly Russia in this issue is thus far passive, possibly because she believes that without her neither Armenia, nor even Turkey shall resolve anything. However, in our opinion, this is one of the grossest mistakes of the Russian-Caucasian policy, which, by the way, hardly exists. Erdogan's visit to Moscow is only refinement of the components discussed during the meeting with Barack Obama in Ankara. But the Turkish Prime Minister's upcoming visit to Baku is quite accurate a step; this is exactly what he should do. And if someone seriously considers that Turkey will not "disappoint" Azerbaijan, he is wrong. Everything is already fixed and the leak of information about certain agreements of the type "road map", return of regions and other similar nonsense is necessary only as an evasive maneuver.
In all these arrangements there is one imminent risky point for Armenia and it outweighs everything else: they want to force Yerevan to ratify the Kars agreement. But it is exactly what Armenia should never do, if she doesn't want to commit a suicide. Everything else originates from it.