by Marianna Mkrtchyan
The second president of Armenia, Robert Kocharyan, is not optimistic about the prospects of final settlement of the Karabakh conflict.
When commenting on the recent meeting of the Presidents of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia, Robert Kocharyan says in his interview with Noyan Tapan that he lacks sufficient information to impartially assess the efficiency of the meeting. "However, the fact of the meeting after a long break and after the escalation of tension along the Line of Contact is positive. I would refrain from optimistic assessments of the final settlement prospects", he says.
When asked if the Karabakh conflict may complicate Armenia's accession to the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), Kocharyan replies that any of the EAEU countries may formally block the process and demand establishing a customs border between Armenia and the NKR, and this will unlikely be acceptable to Armenia.
"In the meantime, the NKR has no operating borders with other countries, and the NKR-Azeri border is the Line of Contact of the troops. That is to say, there is no threat of penetration of commodities into the EAEU territory via the NKR which can endanger the economic interests of the EAEU member states", he says.
As regards the issue of Armenia's isolation and the possibility to get out of the isolation without the final determination of Karabakh's status, Kocharyan points out that Armenia has closed borders with two neighboring countries, but it is not isolation.
"Armenia has never been in isolation and I am sure it won't. The situation with the borders was the same during my presidency and this did not prevent us from developing the economy at two-digit growth rates. There might be some positive developments. The sanctions against Iran may be softened. I suppose the Abkhaz section of the railway may be re-launched. A flexible formula is needed for the railway operation not to affect the sensitive aspects of the parties. I think Armenia must be the most active broker in this process, because it directly concerns its vital interests", says Kocharyan.