Notes From Hairenik reported yesterday that Presidents Sarge Sarkisian and Ilham Aliev are to meet again to find a solution to the Karabagh conflict. The meeting will take place on the sidelines of the Davos world economic summit to be held from January 28 to February 1. Apparently the mediators are hoping that a deal can be signed by the summer.

Matthew Bryza, who is the OSCE Minsk Group US co-chair, as usual enthusiastically told reporters what he thought would be accomplished at the meeting. One statement that really surprised me was the following regarding the likelihood of a deal being reached:
It depends on, number one, whether the presidents have found a way or can find a way to build on mutual understanding and positive feelings they have about each other and turn that into concrete steps.
I am guessing based on this quote that Bryza is hoping the two presidents will finally announce they are madly in love with each other. Otherwise, finding a solution to the Karabagh conflict will continue to be problematic, unless they come to terms with their true feelings for one another. Makes perfect sense.

Bryza went on to say that:
It also depends on whether the society is understanding what’s being proposed.... Because if they do understand it they will support it. So we’ve got some work to do.
Armenian society certainly will not accept losing control of Karabagh, and Azerbaijan has been threatening the renewal of war to take it back. So what the hell is he talking about regarding the "proposed," whatever that may be finally revealed to be?

These two statements clearly demonstrate how incompetent Bryza has been during his term as a Minsk Group mediator. He seems to be out of touch with reality although he is supposedly directly engaged with both sides as a mediator. When he voices such opinions, he is conveying a profound sense of aloofness, a lack of comprehension about what is and has always been at stake since the very start of the conflict, that is the self-determination of the Armenian people of Karabagh, free from Azerbaijani rule and influence. To put it mildly, he's evidently clueless.

This may be Bryza's last chance at helping to broker a peace deal. It's likely that he will fail. Judging from the silly comments he has made before the press during the last couple of years, like once stating that a "gentlemen's agreement" had been met between the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents for the framework to end the conflict, it's high time that he be replaced by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. I for one am looking forward to it.

UPDATE: The meeting between Presidents Sarkisian and Aliev took place on January 28. What actually was discussed between the two leaders is not clear judging from the report I read, which appears in full below. We know that they met for an hour and could have talked about anything during that time--the weather, the fresh Swiss mountain air, their admiration for the city of Moscow... even their true feelings for one another, as Bryza hoped they would confess. 
By Emil Danielyan

President Serzh Sarkisian signaled further progress towards the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict after holding talks with his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliev in Zurich on Wednesday. 

The talks began in the presence of the Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers and the American, French and Russian diplomats co-chairing the OSCE Minsk Group. According to Sarkisian’s office, the two presidents then spoke one-on-one for an hour before being again joined by their top diplomats and the mediators. They made no public statement after the meeting. 

“The Armenian side assessed the results of the Zurich meeting as constructive and positive,” the office said in a statement. It said Aliev and Sarkisian instructed their foreign ministers, who met in the Swiss city on Tuesday, to continue the negotiating process. 

It was also agreed that the Minsk Group co-chairs will again visit Baku and Yerevan soon in an attempt to help the conflicting parties overcome their remaining disagreements on the basic principles of a Karabakh settlement proposed by the mediators, added the statement. 

The mediators already toured the conflict zone last week. They said they hope to broker a framework peace accord on Karabakh in the first half of this year. 

Aliev’s office and Azerbaijani diplomats did not immediately comment on the Zurich talks. (RFE/RL)

Labels: ,

Blogger nazarian said...
What do we want from the peace agreement? What is the maximum concession acceptable to us in a compromise solution? How about the Azeri-s?

The maximum concession for me is to allow the Azerbaijani refugees to return to their homes, which have not been populated by Armenians, in the liberated territories and allow lightly armed ethnically Azeri police to protect them. Another concession would be free communications through Karabakh and Armenia. In return, Karabakh would be an independent nation with the borders they Karabakhis recognize currently, and free communication through Azerbaijan.

The problems with hastily crafted and forced upon peace deals is that they are a recipe for a future disaster.