Swiss Ambassador to Armenia Lukas Gasser: Switzerland will try to contribute to a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict without questioning the established formats such as the OSCE Minsk process
ArmInfo’s Interview with Masis Mailyan, Chairman of the Public Council for Foreign Policy and Security of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic
by David Stepanyan
Do you think Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Azerbaijan will mark the beginning of Moscow’s new strategy regarding Azerbaijan and the region in general? What are its key vectors? There is an opinion that the President of Russia visited Baku on the threshold of the presidential election in Azerbaijan to support another term of office of his Azeri counterpart. What can Baku offer Moscow in exchange for that support?
There has been no reliable information about the Kremlin’s new strategy regarding Azerbaijan yet. I think that Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to Azerbaijan, as well as the recent visits of the leaders of the Turkic-speaking countries to Azerbaijan had a purpose to demonstrate their support to the incumbent president and candidate for president of Azerbaijan. Taking into consideration that the Russian President's visit had a specific goal to support Aliyev on the threshold of the presidential election in Azerbaijan, one should not wait for sharp changing of the Russian policy after Putin's visit to Azerbaijan.
Baku believes that Russia has got enough influence upon Armenia to persuade Yerevan to agree to the unilateral cession of positions in the Karabakh peace process. Do you think it is possible after achievement of new arrangements between Moscow and Baku?
Actually, the relations between Moscow and Yerevan have different layers and are defined by many factors. These relations are many-sided and there is no need to simplify them. They have been always thinking in Baku that "the key to Karabakh" is in the hands of Moscow, but they are wrong. Such understanding of the reality hinders Azerbaijani politicians to hold direct negotiations with the NKR.
The latest delivery of Russian military hardware worth 1 bln USD to Azerbaijan has given another trump card to those who are against strengthening of Russia’s influence in Armenia. What do you think Moscow was guided by when making this decision that runs counter to the interests of Russia’s only strategic ally in the Caucasus?
Russian functionaries and pro-Russian experts explain this step of Russia by the business interests of Moscow. I think that all the countries and force centers interested in peace in the South Caucasus region, especially the international intermediaries in the Karabakh process, have to refuse the steps which may break the created military balance, which the fragile stability of the region is based on.
What do you think the NKR Vice Premier Artur Aghabekyan’s Aug 14 partnership offer to Azerbaijan means? Does it mean that Stepanakert has decided to be independent in the foreign policy issues, first of all, in the Karabakh conflict settlement that Yerevan officially deals with?
The idea of joint using of the hydro resources of the river Terter is not a new one and was offered to Azerbaijan through international intermediaries even by the former government of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic. More than ten years ago, a border working meeting of hydro engineers from the NKR and Azerbaijan took place through the intermediary of Ambassador Kasprzyk. I think that by the statements about readiness to regional cooperation the Karabakh authorities tried to show the world their constructive intention against the background of the Azerbaijani position that is hardening day by day.