Expectations as well as doubts abound regarding the forthcoming summit in the Russian city of Kazan, which will bring together the presidents of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia June 25-26.
The same presidents have walked the same road in the past, raising hopes for a breakthrough, but disappointment has followed each and every meeting. After issuing declarations and verbal commitments, the Azeri leaders have raised the ante upon returning home. Most significant violations happened especially right after the Meindorf declarations where the parties had agreed to refrain from military solutions and concentrate on the negotiations. But the ink was not yet dried on that declaration, when Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev provoked a border skirmish, claiming many victims.
Based on this kind of checkered background, neither the pundits nor the negotiating parties seem hopeful for a positive outcome. Although the Kazan summit is ostensibly called to negotiate on the basic principles worked out by the co-presidents of the OSCE Minsk Group, symbolism still matters if a positive outcome will be ascribed to Russia whose president, Dmitry Medvedev, will be mediating between President Serge Sargisian and Aliyev. Certainly the other parties do not wish to lose the limelight. The summit has already claimed one casualty, which was Iran’s president’s visit to Armenia; it was supposed to take place on the eve of Kazan summit, but was mysteriously postponed indefinitely. Although the Armenian government presented the lame excuse that the documents were not ready to be signed, another possibility which may not be ruled out is that should there be any tangible results at the summit, Iran should not share any credit.