Hrant Melik-Shahnazaryan: Shooting down civilian planes would mean declaring war

Nvard Davtyan

“The meeting of the Armenian and Azerbaijani Foreign Ministers with the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs in Paris was of working nature, political scientist Hrant Melik-Shahnazaryan told a press conference today. According to him, the meeting was important, as reference was made to the issue of exploitation of the Stepanakert Airport.

Last year’s events deadlocked the negotiation process on the settlement of the Karabakh conflict, it is obvious that the political solution of the issue is impossible at this point, that is why the mediators laid the main emphasis on humanitarian issues during the meeting in Paris, Hrant Melik-Shahnazaryan said.

The political scientist attaches particular importance to the discussion of the issue of the Stepanakert Airport. “Judging from the fact that President Serzh Sargsyan declared the day after the meeting that the Stepanakert Airport will be exploited in the near future, one can conclude that progress on the issue has been reached at the meeting. The OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs also referred to the issue in their statement,” Melik-Shanhazaryan said.

“It’s not only Armenia that wants security. The predictability of our region is important to the US and Russia. In this respect the position of Armenia goes in line with that of the international community. Purely technical solutions are needed here to pressure Azerbaijan. I think some mechanisms have been found, otherwise the President would not make the statement, especially in this pre-election period,” the expert said.

Actually, hitting a civilian aircraft would mean declaring war on the two Armenian states, but the political scientist considers Azerbaijan is not ready for that.

“I’m more than confident that official Baku will not take that step. If it was really ready for war, it would not wait for the exploitation of the airport and would use other opportunities. Therefore, these statements should be treated as mere populism aimed at solving domestic problems,” Melik-Shahnazaryan said.

The political scientist does not expect any progress in the negotiation process in 2013. The talks will be less intensive connected with the elections expected in both countries. According to Hrant Melik-Shahnazaryan, the Minks Group Co-Chairs face a serious task of maintaining the negotiation format in the dangerous year of 2013. The Paris meeting was a step in that direction, he said.

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