Notes From Hairenik
February 13, 2006
Apparently the talks between Armenian President Robert Kocharian and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliev about approaching a peace deal regarding the dispute over Karabagh have resulted in failure. They could not come to agreement, mainly on the status of Karabagh and whether Armenia would be willing to pull out its troops from Kelbajar, the region that was fought over and won by the Armenians. Incidentally most of the territories around Karabagh were occupied/liberated without any force, since the Turks fled their own homes and Armenian troops just walked in--Aghdam as one example. I have previously voiced my opinion about Kelbajar on this blog, that it is for strategic reasons a region Armenia should not immediately relinquish control over, if not ever. It seems that in the end President Kocharian realized this as well.

There is more information in an Associated Press article that can be read here.

Onnik has also been discussing what's been going on regarding the peace deal. He has been covering the situation in Karabagh in his photostories off and on since 1994 and thus has plenty to say. Read his take on all this here and here.

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Anonymous Onnik Krikorian said...
My understanding is that while the issue of Kelbajar was one of two obstacles to overcome, it wasn't the main one. From what I've read, the problem with Kelbajar was not so much if Armenia should relinquish control, but rather when. Armenia wanted to return it when a referendum had been held. Azerbaijan wanted it sooner.

The main stumbling block, however, is perhaps the most significant, and in fact, what the war was about in the first place. Azerbaijan refuses to allow Karabakh to become an independent state or unified with Armenia.

Had it done so, and agreed to a referendum acceptable to the Armenian side, I'm sure Kocharian and Aliyev would have had no choice but to agree to the framework agreement. As it is, it looks like Azerbaijan will instead look to increase its military to a size large enough to force Armenia to agree to any deal on its terms, or to threaten to take Karabakh by force in the future.

I can only hope that when the mediators meet in Washington next month that they recognize that pressure must be applied on Azerbaijan to allow Karabakh Armenians the right to self-determination. In any case, with the exception of all or part of Lachin, it looks like all the territory will be returned when a peace deal is finally signed which I believe it will be.

When, of course, is another question.

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