The Nagorno Karabakh Conflict

THE NAGORNO KARABAKH CONFLICT

CONFLICT AND CONFIDENCE BUILDING PROJECT
VERTIC CAUCASIAN REGION DISCUSSION GROUP
LONDON, UK, 6 MARCH 1995

The positions of Azerbaijan, Armenia, Karabakh, Russian,
Turkey and the U.S. on the Nagorno Karabakh conflict, based on
news and reports following the Minsk Group talks in Moscow.

A presentation by Hratch Tchilingirian
(London School of Economics and Political Science)
------------------------------------------------------

---OSCE MINSK GROUP NEGOTIATIONS IN MOSCOW

Following the OSCE Budapest summit on 6 December 1994, the
OSCE Minsk group delegation visited Mountainous Karabakh and
the conflict zone, from January 26 to February 2. The 11-
member delegation visiting the conflict zone was headed by
both Co-Chairmen of the Minsk Group. There were also military
personnel among the delegates, headed by General Villen of
Finland.

The group adhered to the traditional route Baku-Yerevan-
Stepanakert-Yerevan-Baku. (to avoid direct travel from Baku to
Stepanakert). Everywhere the delegation was welcomed by
Presidents of the respective countries.

From 6th to 12th February, the OSCE Minsk group met in Moscow
with the participation of the OSCE Minsk group co-Chairmen
Anders Buerner of Sweden and Vladimir Kazimirov of Russia
representatives of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Mountainous
Karabakh.

For the first time, Karabakh was invited to participate in the
negotiations as a full-fledged party in the conflict,
eventhough Azerbaijan does not formally recognize Karabakh as
an equal side. (NT 24/2-/95)

At the Moscow round of talks, the provisions of the final
Budapest document that had been implemented were: the creation
of a co-chairmanship, the preparation of an agreement on the
cessation of hostilities and the formation of a high-level
group on the creation of OSCE peacekeeping forces.

The co-Chairmen unanimously stated that their primary task was
insuring of the cease-fire and establishing of an atmosphere
of trust. Considering the frequent violations of the cease-
fire, this was seen as a wish, rather than reality. (Azg
2/16/95)

Vladimir Kazimirov especially underlined the necessity of
immediate contacts between the conflicting sides. "Of course,
a political agreement will [be the] best [way], if all insure
the cease-fire," - he said to the journalists in Yerevan.
"Only then the peace keeping and monitoring forces will be
deployed. Nevertheless, let's be realistic, all this is not
going to happen tomorrow. How should we maintain the cease-
fire? We think that there is a resource that is not being used
effectively at present, and it's, metaphorically speaking,
under our feet waiting for us to put it to use. This resource
is direct contact between the conflicting sides. When
something happens, it is not (let the representatives of mass
media forgive me) the journalist that should be first of all
informed about it, but the side that is suspected of
committing anything that triggered that incident. Let the
sides at first clear up the matter with each other. Among
other things, it may make unnecessary their appealing to the
international organizations; nevertheless, quite the contrary
happens: the sides are not willing or ready to communicate or
reach a compromise with each other, but the mass media already
makes fuss about the incident, the tempers get high, appeals
are made to the mediators or the OSCE or the UN. So, we try to
reverse the process." (NT 1/2/95)

Despite the preparations and efforts of the Minsk group, the
summit in Moscow failed to produce any tangible results. The
main stumbling block was: a) Azerbaijan's refusal to accept
Karabakh as a side in the negotiations, b) the problem of
Shoushi and Lachin.

Radio Liberty reported, quoting Kazimirov, that the problem of
Shushi [and Lachin] is closely related with the status of
Mountainous Karabakh. "If the problem of withdrawing Armenian
armed troops from the territories of Lachin and Shoushi is
raised, the Armenian side will then demand withdrawal of the
Azeri forces from the Shahoumian, and let the Armenian
population of the district return to their homes", he said.
(RA 21/2/95)

There has been no official report on the Moscow summit by the
Minsk group or the co-Chairmen.

--DELEGATES TO OSCE SPONSORED MOSCOW TALKS

Minsk Group Co-Chairmen
Adners Buerner (Sweden); Vladimir Kazimirov (Russia)

Azerbaijan
Vafa Guluzade, State Advisor for Foreign Political Issues
Tofig Zulfugarov, Deputy Foreign Minister; Nizami Bahmanov,
former Chief Executive of Shusha (Turan 8/2/95)

Armenia
Gerald Libaridian, Senior Presidential Advisor; Vartan
Oskanian, Deputy Foreign Minister of Armenia

Karabakh
Arkady Ghukassian, RMK Foreign Minister

Other Minsk Group conferences dealing with Nagorno Karabakh--
Rome, 1 December 1993; Prague, 11 April 1994; Vienna 17 July
1994; Budapest, 6 December 1994.

---CIS

On 10 February, at the CIS Presidents Summit in Alma Ata,
Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev mediated a meeting
between the Presidents Ter Petrossian of Armenia and Aliyev of
Azerbaijan with the participation of the Georgian President
Edward Shevardnadze The leaders discussed the problems of
regional security and possible collaboration. No decisions
were made on Karabakh.

Nursultan Nazarbayev, together with the Presidents of Russia
and Ukraine, were ready to become guarantors for Azerbaijan to
provide an acceptable status to Mountainous Karabakh, against
keeping territorial integrity of Azerbaijan based on the UN
and OSCE principles. (HH 11/2/95)

On the other hand, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan
refused to sign a draft agreement to enhance the guarding of
CIS borders. The agreement will be further discussed during
the next CIS summit in Minsk scheduled for May 26.
(Azg-2/11/95)

---AZERBAIJANI POSITION

Deployment of UN peacekeeping forces

Azeri Deputy Foreign Minister Tofik Julfugarov stated, "I
would characterize the negotiation by Russian diplomats of the
placement of UN rather than OSCE forces in the Karabakh
conflict zone as another attempt to prolong the conflict."
(Azg 3/2/95)

At the CIS Summit in Alma Ata (10 February) President Aliyev,
at a news conference commented, "I assure you that Azerbaijan
wants to put an end to the war, to obtain a stable peace, to
establish amiable relations with Armenia and liquidate the
conflict".

Azeri Deputy Foreign Minister said that in response to the
demand that Azerbaijan recognize Karabakh as a full member in
the negotiations, Azerbaijan is demanding the recognition of
the Azeri community of Karabakh as a full member of the
negotiations. Karabakh observers believe that this demand is
designed to stop the peace negotiations. (AAA 10/2/95)

At the Moscow talks, Armenia insisted that the parties
represented at the negotiations were Armenia, "Republic of
Mountainous Karabakh" and Azerbaijan. The Azeri Delegation
categorically refused to agree with such position and stated
that only Armenia and Azerbaijan, as well as the
representatives of the Armenian and the Azeri communities of
Nagorno Karabakh were represented at the negotiations. (Turan
8/2/95)

Shushi and Lachin

President Aliyev told the co-chairmen of OSCE Minsk group
in a speech shown on Baku TV on February 5 that the
"immediate withdrawal of Karabakh forces from the Azeri
districts, including Shoushi and Lachin", is a pre condition
for the success of negotiations. said this to the (Azg
02/07/95)

During the previous round of negotiations, the Armenian party
agreed to withdraw its troops from all the territories, except
Lachin and Shushi. "At the current round of the negotiations,
- said Vafa Guluzade - we expected that this problem would
have been discussed further, but regretfully, we were
disappointed. I, being the head of the delegation of
Azerbaijan, have expressed my position toward this at the
negotiations. The Azeri party has also refused to recognize
the representatives of the Armenian community of Karabakh as a
side to the conflict. In the military and technical treaties
we recognize the Armenians of Karabakh as a "warring party".
But at the level of international organizations we adhere to
the mandate of March 24, 1992, which allows only of two sides
- Azerbaijan and Armenia, and two interested parties -
Armenians of Mountainous Karabakh and Azeris of Karabakh. We
are not going to step a single inch away form this formula".
(NT 21/2/95)

Azerbaijan's Foreign Minister Hasan Hassanov, during his
meeting with US representative to OSCE, stated that Azerbaijan
will sign the "Great Political Agreement," following the
resolution of the Shoushi and Lachin issue and will assist in
realizing suggestions by OSCE Minsk Group co-Chairmen.
Hassanov added that only after the Shoushi and Lachin issue is
resolved will Azerbaijan consider discussing Karabakh's
status.

He added that upon the approval of the proposal by the Minsk
Group co-chairmen, calling for the development of neutral
zones in Shoushi and Lachin, Azerbaijan will not agree to
resettlement of refugees in that area and will forbid the
passage of Armenians through the Lachin corridor, which he
claimed serves as a route to militarize Karabakh.

Hassanov said that the Minsk co-Chairmen proposed their
formula on Shoushi and Lachin, Azerbaijan accepted it making
an amendment: [they] offered liberation of Shoushi and Lachin
after conclusion of the Great Political Agreement, while we
proposed settlement of this issue within the framework of the
Great Political Agreement. The formula is based on the
following principles: maintenance of Azerbaijan's sovereignty,
refugees' home-coming and insurance of safe traffic. With this
formula, we are ready to come to the Minsk Conference to
settle the issue concerning the status of Nagorno Karabakh.
(Turan 28/2/95)

---ARMENIA'S POSITION

Since the beginning of the negotiations, Armenia has insisted
that the negotiations should be held directly between
Azerbaijan and Karabakh. In Budapest, Armenia's President
Levon Ter-Petrosian resigned from holding direct talks with
Azerbaijan, on the basis that Armenia is not involved in the
Karabakh conflict and that Armenia is not at war with
Azerbaijan.

At the CIS Summit in Alma Ata, at a press conference, when
asked when will peace be established between Armenia and
Azerbaijan, Levon Ter-Petrossian replied that first of all,
Armenia is not at war with Azerbaijan, and secondly, the
cease-fire has been maintained for 9 months, which testifies
to the fact that the parties intend to preserve this status-
quo until the Great Political Agreement is signed. "I am sure
that a new round of negotiations initiated in Moscow under the
aegis of OSCE, with a new formula, will lead us to a stable
peace". Of course, the Moscow talks did not do that.

---KARABAKH'S POSITION

At a news conference on 20 February in Stepanakert, "Republic
of Mountainous Karabakh (RMK) Foreign Minister, Arkady
Ghukassian, said that the Moscow negotiations had
"practically" failed. Deputy Foreign Minister of Armenia,
Vardan Oskanian, claimed that the way of conduct of the Azeri
delegation greatly resembles its behavior in December 1993,
when Azerbaijan had a similarly rigid position and soon
started a wide-scale military attack. (NT 21/2/95)

According to Ghukasian, Azerbaijan is not trying to negotiate
because they are planning to begin new hostilities on the
front. There is clearly no leadership in Azerbaijan which is
ready to take responsibility for a compromise. "The Azeri
delegation left the impression that they understand the
necessity of compromise, while at the same time they refused
to compromise because out of fear of internal instability
and/or loss of power". (AAA 2/21/95)

Ghukasian further stated that Karabakh has become an
international problem, since peacekeeping initiatives have
been undertaken by the OSCE and UN. The Chechnya conflict is
still characterized as an internal problem of Russia. He noted
that the next phase of negotiations will be held in Sweden,
but that he does not see the necessity of these negotiations
until the positions of the sides are clarified. "We must first
work out the agenda for that meeting," Ghukasian concluded.

At a new conference, RMK Presidential spokesperson, Alexander
Grigorian, presented the position of the Karabakh republic
concerning the mentioned problems: "RMK steps forward in
support of the efforts of the international community,
particularly OSCE and Russian Federation, which are currently
directed to strengthening the cease-fire in the conflict zone.
Stepanakert believes that, first of all, military-technical
problems should be resolved, by stationing international
disengagement forces, and only then the discussion of purely
political aspects should start. Concerning the problem of
territories, which remain subject of permanent attention of
the Azeri authorities - we believe that this problem is also
of political nature, and therefore it should be discussed
under the general context of political resolution." (Azg
7/2/95).

The Position Of RMK Remains Unchanged

Head of the RMK Foreign Ministry International Organizations
Department, Masis Mayilian, said that the dialogue between the
RMK and Azerbaijan can only be successful if the Azeri
command recognizes the current condition in the region and
provides a realistic approach to the peace process.

According to Mr. Mayilian, such a harsh approach of Azerbaijan
seems rather strange, considering the facts when the Azeri
officials have, in fact, recognized Mountainous Karabakh as a
full side of the conflict numerous times, and signed several
important documents with the representatives of Karabakh.
("Azg" daily), 02/09/95

Replying to a demand of the Azeri side to recognize the Azeri
community of Karabakh as a party at the negotiations, the
official sources of the Republic of Mountainous Karabakh
spread the following message: there are not merely Armenian
and Azeri communities in Karabakh, but also Russian, Greek,
Kurdish and other. Should they also be recognized as sides to
the conflict? (NT 21/2/95)

Problem Of Territories Is Related To The Security Problem

"Persistent demands of Baku about immediate withdrawal of
Karabakh forces from the controlled territories are baseless",
said First Deputy Commander of the Karabakh defense army
colonel Seyran Ohanian.

"There have been no wars in history, as a result of which the
winner returned territories, gained as a result of military
operations, with the conditions not satisfying them,
especially before final resolution of the conflict", Ohanian
said. In addition to this, he believes that territories
controlled by the RMK armed forces are unseparable part of
historical Karabakh.

Shushi and Lachin

During a press conference in Stepanakert on 20 February, in
response to the problem of Shushi and Lachin as a prerequisite
for political negotiations, RMK Foreign Minister said, "it
would, first of all, threaten the security of the population
of the RMK (Azerbaijan is unwilling to guarantee it), and,
secondly, after such 'suicide' step Baku will naturally give
up any thought of negotiations on Karabakh's status."

Concerning the problems of Lachin and Shoushi Seyran Ohanian
said, there could be no word about returning them, since
Shoushi and Lachin are the only districts, through which the
Republic of Mountainous Karabakh is reliably linked to the
rest of the world.

According to Ohanian, the problem of territories, which is
logically related with the basic problem of security
guarantees for the Armenian population of Artsakh, may only be
resolved in the background of resolving Karabakh problem in
general. (Azg 2/3/95)

Overall impression

RMK Foreign Minister said, "The Azeri side, regretfully is not
mature enough for a political resolution of the conflict. We
are not sure that the Azeri leaders are not intentionally
dragging on the issue in order to resume hostilities against
RMK. Judging by all, there is no leader in Azerbaijan capable
of taking the responsibility of passing a resolution to make
concessions." (NT 3/3/95)

Stepanakert is anticipating a major Azeri military offensive
in the near future.

---RUSSIAN POSITION

The OSCE Minsk group talks in Moscow was the first time that
Russia did not act alone as a mediator in the Karabakh
conflict. Russia has joined forces with the Minsk group,
having Vladimir Kazimirov as the co-Chairman of the
negotiating team.

At the end of CIS summit in Alma Ata (20 Feb.), an Azeri
journalist asked Russian Prime Minister Victor Chernomyrdin
during a press conference after the summit, how does he
understand the concept of joint defense, and what parallels
exist between wars in Karabakh and Chechnya. Chernomyrdin
replied there could be no comparison here, since the problem
of Chechnya is internal problem of Russia, but the Karabakh
conflict is not an internal problem of Azerbaijan. "Armenia
and Azerbaijan should solve the problems with each other,
whereas our task is the defense of the borders of former
Soviet Union", he added. (Azg 11/2/95)

"Azerbaijan and Armenia should come to an agreement among
themselves," Chernomyrdin said. "Our business is not to
determine the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan, but to
guard the external borders of the former USSR." (AAA 2/13/95)

Independence Of Karabakh

Russian "Kuranty" newspaper recently published an article by
famous publicist, member of the deputy group "Vybor Rossii"
("Russian Choice") Andrey Nuykin, where he explains his
position, why independence of Mountainous Karabakh is fair,
but independence of Chechnya is not.

"Aspirations of Chechnya are not convincing, whereas the
experience of Mountainous Karabakh could be completely
justified. Karabakh kept the legal demands even of the
Constitution of USSR. The whole problem is that Armenians in
Azerbaijan were subject of an obvious genocide. A similar
policy in Nakhijevan resulted in Armenians leaving this land.
If Armenians of Mountainous Karabakh would not start to
struggle for their independence, the same fortune would have
expected them. Here is why the international community and all
fair people should support this struggle, bearing in mind, of
course, that any change of borders contains a significant
potential danger today." (Aragil 13/2/95)

---TURKISH POSITION

Demirel 's advises to Libaridian

Following the visit of Armenian Senior Presidential Adviser
Gerald Libaridian to Ankara (1 March), the Turkish press is
giving extensive coverage to the improvement of Armenian-
Turkish relations. According to Jumhuriyet, Turkish President
Suleyman Demirel told Libaridian that if ethnic Armenian
forces withdraw from occupied Azeri territories and the city
of Shushi, Turkey will be more open to Armenia's requests.
Many believe that the purpose of Demirel's meeting with
Libaridian was to convince him to "agree with Azerbaijan."
Libaridian reportedly responded that Armenia expects certain
things from Turkey and did not make any statements or promises
about the withdrawal of troops from the captured territories.
Libaridian drew Demirel's attention to the fact that although
the Armenian-Turkish border is closed, trade continues and
Turkish goods are sold in Armenia. (Azg 2/3/95)
Foreign Ministry

According to a Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman, Ferhat
Ataman, "Armenia must withdraw from occupied Azeri lands and
respect Azerbaijan's territorial integrity and inviolability
of its frontiers. Only under these circumstances can
diplomatic ties with Armenia be established. "We explained
that Armenian failure to withdraw from Azeri lands would have
grave consequences in the Caucuses", he said. (Reuters
1/03/95)

Azerbaijan's Response

During a short interview with the Hurriyet correspondent, the
representative of Azerbaijan, Vafa Gulizade, said that he did
not support the softening of relations between Yerevan and
Ankara, since in that case Armenia would not pull out of
occupied territories. Gulizade guarantees that Azerbaijan will
raise the issue of Turkey's stake in development of Azeri
oilfields, but at the same time Azerbaijan is confident that
Iran also has its place in the western consortium, since the
latter is Azerbaijan's neighbor and is also a country of oil.
(NT 3/3/95).

Radical Turkish Groups

The Chairman of the Turkish "Grey Wolves" organization,
Iskander Hamidov, stated in a press conference convened by the
Council of National Democratic Parties that Azerbaijan will
not turn over its lost territories peacefully. According to
Hamidov, the conflict can only be solved militarily. Hamidov
was critical of the political situation in Azerbaijan, which
he blamed on the current authorities. (Lragir 28/2/95)

---US POSITION

Kazimirov And Lozinski Unofficial Visit to Washington

The Azeri Foreign Ministry reported, quoting Russian "Nega"
agency, that Russian President's envoy and co-chairman of the
OSCE Minsk group, Vladimir Kazimirov and Valentin Lozinski,
left for Washington with an unofficial visit.

During negotiations at the US State Department, the Russian
envoys raised the question of whether it is appropriate to
station UN peacemaking forces instead of the OSCE forces in
Karabakh and the conflict zone. (Azg/Nega 1/3/95)

2-5 March, US representative to the OSCE Joseph Pressel
visited Baku, Yerevan and Stepanakert.

While Pressel was in Armenia, Baku declared that despite
efforts of the Azeri side, Joseph Pressel refrained from
discussing the problem of liberating Lachin and Shoushi. He
declared in Baku that the status of a side of the conflict
should be assigned to Mountainous Karabakh. He added that
Washington is not going to send its troops within peacemaking
forces, and will limit itself to financial-technical support.
(Azg/HH 4/3/95)

Pressel stated that "The cease-fire regime is still fragile".
He suggested direct talks between Azerbaijan and Armenian,
without any mediators. (Turan 28/2/95)

During his meetings, the political solution to the Karabakh
conflict was discussed, including various obstacles which
emerged during recent talks in Moscow.

In Baku, Pressel held talks with Azeri President Gaidar Aliyev
and Foreign Minister Hassan Hassanov.

Hasanov discussed the possibilities of lifting of the economic
sanctions imposed against Azerbaijan by the US Congress

Hasanov, in response to Pressel's comments at a news
conference, said: "The [US] proposals must not be based on the
facts suiting neither Armenia nor Azerbaijan, they must be
based on the international principles, on the principles of
the OSCE, UN, and resolutions of the UN, Azeri". (Turan
28/2/95)

---Update

OSCE MINSK GROUP TALKS IN STOCKHOLM

Following the Moscow negotiations, it was decided to hold the
next round of talks in Stockholm on March 20. However, it was
postponed because "no conditions for constructive
negotiations have been created". The Co-chairmen of the Minsk
were "sorry having to accept such a decision. Reportedly, in
the coming few weeks, they will "take urgent measures to
continue the course" of negotiations.

Recently, Russian Foreign Minister Andrey Kozyrev met with his
counterparts from Sweden and Great Britain in Stockholm. The
peaceful resolution of the Karabakh conflict was one of the
central issues discussed among the ministers.

A representative of Russian Foreign Ministry reported that
Kozyrev also carried out closed negotiations with co-chairman
of the OSCE Minsk group Ian Eliasson, and Chairman Anders
Byurner. The sides discussed joint approaches to the sides of
the conflict and several aspects of activities by the two co-
chairmen of the Minsk group. (Turan 22/2/95)

Hratch Tchilingirian
2012-05-29
e-mail: info@hrach.info
Copyright © 2018 Hratch Tchilingirian. All rights reserved.