by Emmanuil Mkrtchyan
The Karabakh conflict now constitutes the biggest risk of an escalation, Dennis Sammut, Director of LINKS Analysis, said at the NATO Parliamentary Assembly's Seminar in Baku. For years now all have been waiting for a miraculous transformation of the Minsk principles into a road map for peace. "Not surprisingly this has not happened", he said.
He thinks that three major issues hinder the quest for this peace, security and prosperity: the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the impasse in Turkish-Armenian Relations, and Georgian-Russian relations and the consequences of the 2008 war. "Certainly each one has its own specifities and dynamics yet in dealing with all three it is clear that trying to solve them in isolation of the wider regional and European context is extremely difficult, if not outright impossible" Sammut said.
"The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict constitutes a real danger for peace in the region and in Europe. We are often told that a solution to the conflict depends on the sides having the political will to resolve it. Yet if this political will failed to materialise in the last twenty years it is not clear where it is going to come from in the next twenty months. A more proactive approach by the international community is therefore necessary", he said.
"During his recent visit to the region the Swiss Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE spoke of a "new meeting between the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan that would mark "the starting point of a structured negotiating process on a peace agreement". The international community needs to find a way of keeping the spotlight on the negotiations. One way is to convene the long awaited Minsk Conference in a time tabled format. The much desired "political will" is not going to fall from the sky, and if the international community wants to see it, it needs to help create it", he said.