Armenia’s stance on Karabakh conflict settlement has changed, political scientist says




Political scientist Hrant Melik Shahnazaryan sees changes in Armenia’s stance on Karabakh conflict settlement and has noticed a number of interesting emphases in President Serzh Sargsyan’s address to the National Assembly.

“When Serzh Sargsyan was speaking about the logic of mutual concessions, he said “under mutual concessions we understand the realization of the right of Artsakh to self-determination.” Actually, a new assessment has been given to the idea of mutual concessions. If before April 2016 Armenia meant concession of territories, as well, today it sees exceptionally Artsakh’s right to self-determination, and this makes Azerbaijan nervous,” Hrant Melik Shahnazaryan told a press conference today.

Actually, he said, there have been clear changes in the policies of the Armenian side, and Azerbaijan reacts aggressively to this.

The political scientist also referred to President Sargsyan’s remarks on the Madrid Principles.

“It was actually criticism of the Madrid Principles. He said the Madrid Principles arise a number of questions and it’s good they have not been called to life. This is the first time official Yerevan condemns the document, which means all documents that have been seriously considered, now at least arise questions for Armenia,” he said.

Thus, according to him, the Armenian side is sending a message that it’s now impossible to take the Madrid Principles as a ground, if negotiations resume.

Director of the Caucasus Institute, political scientist Alexander Iskandaryan, however, does not see anything new. “It’s clear that the Madrid Principles are still on the table and there is no other document,” he said.

According to Iskandaryan, the developments that have been taking place for a while are “conflict management” rather than settlement processes. “This is a strategy of living in a conflict rather than an attempt to solve it, and the Madrid Principles are just a tool,” he said.

Hrant Melik Shahnazaryan called attention to the developments in Azerbaijan. Reports say the law-enforcers in the country are killing servicemen arrested on accusations of spying for Armenia.

“This points to serious problems in the Azerbaijani armed forces, to the moral and psychological condition in the army. It also allows to conclude that Azerbaijan is unable to resume war under these conditions at this point,” Melik Shahnazaryan said.

According to Isklandaryan, what’s happening in Azerbaijan is a result of competition between internal clans in the country, the outcome of which is hard to predict.

Hrant Melik Shahnazaryan said “it’s impossible for Azerbaijan to achieve changes in the Karabakh issue on the diplomatic domain, but the country doesn’t possess resources to do that in a military way, either.”

Alexander Iskandaryan does not see any opportunities for solving the Karabakh issue at this point. “We are not in a stage, where we can speak seriously about it. There are no real chances for solving the conflict, as Azerbaijan’s behavior leaves no room for considering the perspectives of cooperation,” Iskandaryan concluded.

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