Marat Terterov: Armenia’s long term security will be better served by strengthening economic security, rather than defining national security on the basis of the Tsarist Russian catch-cry “armiya i flot”
ArmInfo’s interview with Vladimir Kazimirov, First Vice Chairman of the Association of Russian Diplomats, head of the mediation mission of Russia, member and co-chair of the OSCE MG (1992-1996), Ambassador.
by David Stepanyan
Participating in the Karabakh peace process, Azerbaijan keeps arming intensively and took the 38th position in the world in terms of arms procurement. Given the significant difference in the military budgets of Baku and Yerevan, the relative military balance is fading away. What mechanisms are needed to moderate Baku’s unjustified hot temper?
Azerbaijan's leadership explains the aspirations to increase its already bulging military budget with the fact that military spending is proportional to the state budget and not more than the military budgets of a number of other countries. That is, Azerbaijan presents it as something quite natural. This would be perceived as such, but for a 'trifle' i.e. permanent trigger-happy policy of Azerbaijan in the Karabakh conflict. It is becoming anomaly: the country is in the unresolved armed conflict. That country regards the ceasefire agreement as not termless like it was signed under Heydar Aliyev but a pause for rearming and resuming the war that is allegedly 'still unfinished'. That country allows resolution of the conflict by force and actually calls for that. It is not just 'innocent' growth of defensive military potential, but direct preparations for resumption of offensive conflict.
It is improper use of funds that could be so useful for the Azerbaijani people in the everyday life. I think that all this is too abnormal to be neglected. All these abnormalities are explained with another abnormality - "occupation" of seven regions of Azerbaijan by Armenians. Why do they conceal how that occupation happened? Who avoided reconciliation and peaceful resolution of the conflict through negotiations? And, finally, who breached short ceasefires trying to gain by force? Occupation is not good, indeed, but occupations vary. Allies had to become occupants of Germany, but who was guilty? The truth is not abstract, it is specific, and every phenomenon has its origination and history, which some people very easily forget about.
What do you think does Azerbaijan’s election as UN Security Council non-permanent member moderate Aliyev’s aspirations to “restore territorial integrity?”
Besides a series of meetings of the Russian, Azerbaijan and Armenian presidents, an extremely relative truce on the line of contact of the Azerbaijani and Nagorno Karabakh armed forces is connected with Azerbaijan's election to the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member for 2012-2013. Yerevan and Stepanakert perceived that success of Baku's diplomacy with jealousy and even negatively, without proper assessment of the emerged positive deterrent effect.Over the last years the Karabakh peace process has been more often discussed at the level of the presidents, especially, the leaders of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia. Although the termless truce achieved in 1994 has been repeatedly subjected to the threat of resumption of military actions because of the incidents, arms race and the trigger-happy policy of Baku, it were the efforts of the OSCE MG co-chair- states that helped deterring hotheads from unreasonable steps in the heavy region. Generally, Yerevan and Stepanakert welcome the Minsk process, unlike Baku that makes quite contradictory assessments. The authorities in Baku are extremely careful in their assessments, while Mass Media lever harsh criticism at the OSCE MG for fruitless activity. Over the last years Baku has been more frequently urging the mediators and international organizations to exert pressure on Armenians in order they "leave the occupied territories." These calls to press Armenians are not effective, because the mandate of the co-chairs do not allow any pressure on the parties regarding the core of the negotiations.
Nevertheless, one should not forget that pressure in the disputable issues is hardly possible, but pressure regarding undisputable issues is quite grounded, for instance, against forced resolution of disputes or non-fulfillment of commitments. In this context, Baku's positions are quite vulnerable. Advocating the forced resolution of the Karabakh conflict, Baku yet long ago stopped fulfilling the agreement on securing the ceasefire-regime dated Feb 4 1995 at the same time concealing that it was signed by the direct order of the 'nation-wide leader' Heydar Aliyev. Thus, the policy of "giving no peace to Armenian occupants" has become an obstacle to constructive policy condemning official Baku to negativism, to refusal from useful proposals, which do not bring them advantages in the eyes of the mediators, other countries and the public. How else can one assess detraction of the ceasefire, the statements like "war is not over", sabotage of the agreement dated Feb 4 1995, unwillingness to withdraw snipers from the frontline, avoidance of confidence building measures, especially in the military sphere, as well as protraction of the inquiries into incidents on the frontline etc..?
Many analysts think that Turkey is the only country to “allow” its satellite Azerbaijan to unleash a new war against the Karabakh people. What are Turkey’s real possibilities in this context?
I'd not like to believe in direct incitement of military actions in Karabakh by Turkey. Despite numerous drifts in Turkey's foreign policy in favor of Azerbaiian, for instance, ignoring of the Zurich documents and their
linking to the Karabakh issue, claims to replace France in the OSCE MG etc, in Ankara they are well aware that serious complications that a new war over Karabakh may create are hardly within the interests of Turkey.
What may be the possible roles of all the recognized and, especially, the unrecognized countries in the South Caucasus in case of the US-Israel operation against Iran?
It is better opposing such an extremely dangerous "operation" in such sensitive region already now. It is much better than to discuss what the recognized and unrecognized states may do when the operation is already launched. Its aftermaths will be painful not only for the region, they will actually have a wide response in the world.
I have got an impression that formally participating in the talks, neither the leadership of Armenia nor of Azerbaijan is striving for final settlement of the Karabakh conflict because of certain local reasons and as any settlement on the basis of a compromise is a blow to their image. Don’t you think so?
This is a problem not only of the parties to the conflict but also of public conscience, including the role of mass media. Of course, it is easier, grounding on sober understanding of the national interests as well as irrational approaches, to raise the level of demands to the opposite party up to the situation when a compromise cannot be reached and turned into reality. This is easier than realistically to explain to others the long lasting though mild benefit of peace and cooperation with today's enemy. Self-deception is more available than making oneself and other people understand reality.
The point is if the leadership of the parties to the conflict and the press itself have been explaining the people that a compromise is more important than a victory, as there are no everlasting and absolute victories, they are always accompanied with shortcomings. The rational compromise is more balanced as it has already put aside all extremity. For this reason, the sooner societies start preparing to peace not to war, the more effective will be the talks on Karabakh conflict settlement. It is obvious that in Baku they have not started such a process. They still go on preparing to the war like before. This should be not only condemned, but also "shown" to those who "have not yet noticed", although it is hard and simply impossible not to notice that.