Following their visit to Yerevan and Baku, the co-chairs of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group, representing Russia, the US and France, have announced that a summit between Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azeri President Ilham Aliyev is in the offing.
Before that, Armenia and Azerbaijan had been advised to prepare their respective populations for peace, which meant that a compromise had been agreed upon, forcing the parties to accept painful concessions.
As optimism builds in the region through the announcements of major powers, their rosy outlooks are not corroborated by the Baku authorities. Indeed, the spokesperson of the Azerbaijani Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Layla Abdoullayeva, stated that these forthcoming meetings have to secure the liberation of “occupied territories and the return of exiled Azerbaijanis to their homes.”
This type of announcement only dampens hopes for a peaceful settlement.
As if this one-sided declaration was not enough, Ilham Aliyev himself felt the need to make a more incendiary announcement, stating that Azerbaijan today is more powerful politically and militarily and is in a position to settle the conflict in its favor. In his turn, Pashinyan, during his recent trip to Iran, stated that Armenia is ready to resolve the conflict peacefully, but that in view of Aliyev’s bellicose rhetoric, if Baku resorts to using force, Armenia is ready to respond in kind.
Though the OSCE and other regional powers have been at work to create an atmosphere of peace, the parties of the conflict are very far away from that mood. Since assuming power, Pashinyan has been trying to revive another agenda, which had been active until President Robert Kocharyan’s term, namely the participation of a Karabakh representative in the negotiations.