During the negotiations in Vienna and Saint Petersburg, the sides of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict achieved certain results, Matthew Bryza, former US assistant secretary for South Caucasus and former US ambassador to Azerbaijan.
The talks not only reduced tension on the contact line of troops, but also led to the beginning of discussions on the conflict’s political points, said Bryza.
Azerbaijani foreign minister’s statement after negotiations in Vienna and Saint Petersburg also demonstrates that some progress has been achieved during the negotiations, he added.
A presidential meeting between Azerbaijan and Armenia, with the mediation of the OSCE Minsk Group, was held on May 15 in Vienna, Austria.
Another presidential meeting was held June 20 in St. Petersburg, Russia, with the mediation of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.
Speaking about Russia’s role in solving the conflict, Bryza said President Putin is really concerned that the April crisis was very serious and poses a great threat to the outbreak of a war, which is unfavorable for Russia.
The diplomat also noted that Putin can play a role of a peacemaker in this conflict.
Commenting on statements of some political analysts that the five Armenia-occupied districts may be returned to Azerbaijan until late 2016, Bryza said he did not think it could happen so quickly.
Such statements are a pressure on the process, said Bryza, adding he thinks it is not real to realize this step within several months.
Bryza also shares the views of some political analysts that the recent events in Armenia are aimed at disrupting the negotiation process on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
An armed group seized the headquarters of the police and interior troops in Erebuni, Yerevan, July 17, demanding the release of the participant of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, coordinator of the oppositional Armenian civil initiative ‘Founding Parliament’ Zhirayr Sefilyan. He was arrested for illegally purchasing and storing weapons. The government officials are holding talks with the armed group’s members.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts. The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.