Interview with political scientist and chair of international law at the Caucasus (Qafqaz) University Farhad Mehdiyev – News.az
Do you share the view that the elections to be held in Russia and Armenia next year will freeze Karabakh talks for several months at least?
I don’t tend to link the situation with elections. Whether there will be elections or not, I don’t expect any progress in negotiating process. This matter plays no role for voters in Russia. But I agree that this has some importance for Armenia.
However, the Armenian public does not want the Karabakh conflict to be solved, namely, they don’t want to give the lands back.
So, I don’t share the views of those who try to attribute lack of progress in the negotiating process to the upcoming elections in Russia and Armenia.
And is the outcome of presidential elections in Russia not so important for the conflict resolution?
In principle, this is a policy of neither Putin nor Medvedev. This is about a traditional policy supportive of Armenia which Russia has pursued over the past 200 years. So, a factor of a person has no significance in this respect.
Which of the latest events associated with the Karabakh conflict resolution has attracted your attention most of all?
I would like to draw attention to address of Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan to the participants of the international conference on dynamic development in the South Caucasus held in Yerevan recently.
The essence of his remarks were that regional energy projects that bypass some countries (in this case, Armenia) strengthen other countries (namely, Azerbaijan), and they could endanger the region and therefore the first countries are forced to increase their defense capability.
What does it mean? This means that Armenians themselves do not expect the conflict to be solved soon and they do not tend to make any compromise. So, I believe the current situation has reached a deadlock. And either you have to wait for some event that would change Russia’s position on this matter or Azerbaijan needs to continue to enhance its power to solve the problem itself. I am skeptic about chances to resolve the conflict through talks.
To what degree is the European Union sincere when it says it is ready to help Baku and Yerevan to reach an agreement?
The European Union may and wants to solve the problem. But we do not see this in action. However, Europeans seem to be more decisive in terms of resolution of Georgia’s problems – Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
In this case, they do not say that they simply want the conflicting parties to reach an agreement soon, but openly voice their support for Georgia in this matter thereby putting pressure on Russia. And only statements about the desire to solve the Karabakh issue will not change anything.
And what about American people? How sincere are they in their efforts to dispel the belief that Washington is not so much concerned about the conflicts in the South Caucasus?
This is true. In principle, they have not reduced their attention to the region. American interests are present always and everywhere, but they do not always appear so obvious.
With regard to the Karabakh issue, it should be noted that Armenia is the second country in the world in terms of direct per capita U.S. aid. It seems irrelevant to speak about progress in the Karabakh conflict resolution in this situation.