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Expectations and disappointments of the Sochi meeting

08 / 11 / 2022

On October 31, after the tripartite Putin-Pashinyan-Aliev meeting in Sochi, a joint statement was adopted. The text of the announcement brought another wave of a disappointment for those who had expectations from the Russian side and strange delight in Russophobic circles. Both sides probably forgot that the Armenian side was represented at the negotiations by the de facto Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, who has never stood out for pursuing pro-Armenian decisions.

Another diplomatic defeat for us was confirmed by the absence of any mention of Artsakh in the text of the statement. There was no mention of Artsakh even in the section on the deployment of the Russian peacekeeping contingent.

There was also no mention of the violation of the territorial integrity of the Republic of Armenia. There was only a general agreement “to refrain from the use of force or the threat of its use, to discuss and resolve all problematic issues solely based on mutual recognition of sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of borders, by the UN Charter and the 1991 Alma-Ata Declaration.” In other words, if the side is more persistent, it will stick even to this general formulation, but as we can see, it is not the Armenian side.

Another important issue was missing any mention. We are talking about the issue of prisoners. Presumably, it was included in this obscure sentence; “We agreed to make additional efforts to urgently resolve the remaining issues, including the block of humanitarian issues.”

This meeting was important for Russia in the region and in particular in the Armenian-Azerbaijani relations, to restore its weakening positions as a mediator. For the Russian side, the activity of the Western side against the background of Russia’s passivity is particularly unacceptable. However, it is important to realize one thing: as long as the representatives of the de facto authorities go to negotiations on the Armenian side, there will be no significant difference for us as to who the mediators are. Because even in the case of the mediation of a strategic ally, the de facto authorities manage to completely defeat the negotiations.

Let’s remember what the representatives of the de facto authorities say about Artsakh. They have stopped raising questions about the status of Artsakh, being the guarantor of Artsakh’s security, because as they say, “Unfortunately, as a result of the 44-day war, the Republic of Armenia no longer has the ability and resources to ensure the rights and freedoms of the people of Artsakh, including security… And, perhaps, we think that in this matter we should rely on the tools of the international community and do our best to bring to the international community… the dire, existential, if you will, problems that our compatriots in Artsakh are dealing with… And we should, therefore, record that… the only resource that is available for ensuring the rights and security of the people of Artsakh and the realization of all possible rights is available only and only in the case of pressures and specific positions of the international community. Unfortunately, the Republic of Armenia does not have any other resources – military, economic, or political, if you like… Our positions should be maximally harmonized with the positions of the international community, which are related to the people of Artsakh and the developments going on in and around Artsakh in general… I don’t think that the international society in the 21st century can tolerate any form of ethnic cleansing.”

As long as the de facto authorities rely on the amorphous international community, we will continue to lose at the negotiating table. Meanwhile, just a few days ago, the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, himself said: “If the Armenian people and the Armenian authorities believe that Karabakh has certain characteristics, and these characteristics should be considered and discussed, that is also possible.” And the Armenian people showed their decisive will on October 30 during the powerful rally held in Stepanakert’s Revival Square. Now the question arises: what are the de facto authorities doing, and where is their political will…

Click to view the article in Armenian.

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