Internet press conference with the expert on conflicts Natalia Mirimanova for the Armenian media (Belgium)

On September 28 an Internet press conference with the expert on conflicts Natalia Mirimanova for the Armenian media (Belgium) was held on the topic "Conflicts in the CIS countries against the backdrop of modern geopolitical processes".

The Internet press-conference was organized within the framework of the project "International press-center "Dialogue": Diversification of the sources of international news for Armenian media". These "first-hand" comments Armenian journalists will publish in their media outlets.

This project of the "Region" Research Center is supported by the OSCE office in Yerevan.

David Stepanyan, www.arminfo.am
 
Question – In the recent days, the Azerbaijani army has begun shelling with artillery the border villages in Tavush region, using missile systems, too. There are victims and injured among the villagers. To what extent do you think the geopolitical situation around the Karabakh conflict enables the Armenian leadership to solve this aggravating problem?
 
Answer - This situation is a blow to the prospects for a peaceful settlement of the conflict. The lack of commitment by both parties to the rules and regulations that might otherwise be expressed in the investigation of such incidents and to sharing the results of such investigations, strengthening control and interaction on issues of local security, does not enable the effective development of a large-scale negotiation process. If we do not trust each other in the small things, how can we trust each other in large matters?
 
Question - According to unofficial information, during his recent visit to Baku, Russian Foreign Affairs Minister Lavrov discussed the Karabakh conflict among other issues. What, in your opinion, can Moscow now offer the conflicting parties and what can Yerevan and Baku offer in return?
 
Answer – Today Moscow can offer nothing and no one since it is playing a dangerous game with an indefinite outcome, and, it seems to be losing. The escalation on other fronts can be a daunting task for her. Therefore situational cooperation is the political maximum.
 
Question – Only the US Co-Chair Warlick of the OSCE Minsk Group has so far responded to the attacks on Armenian villages responded, expressing concern and urging both sides to peace as usual. What can suchlike loyalty of Washington to the regime that fights peaceful villagers and, even more so, jails journalists and human rights advocates on trumped-up charges be accounted for?
 
Answer – The Karabakh conflict is on the periphery of international attention. The option of the escalation of the war is not considered. Hence the lack of response.
 
Question - Some Russian media have already characterized the statements made by the first Deputy Defense Minister David Tonoyan in Washington about the readiness of Armenia on strengthening the US role in the Karabakh conflict settlement as "an invitation to Washington to Nagorno-Karabakh". Do you share this opinion in favor of such prospects?
 
Answer - Armenia should certainly seek to diversify partnerships, and move away from the dominance of Russia in its foreign and domestic policy decisions. There are no anti-American sentiments in Armenia, the United States is co-chairing in the Minsk Group, so there is nothing extraordinary and unexpected in Tonoyan’s statement.
 
Question – In Baku they believe that against the background of mass purchases of the Russian and Israeli arms, the military balance of power between the parties to the Karabakh conflict is long gone. Share your assessment of the situation please.
 
Answer - No one from the camp of the South Caucasus can defend themselves against military aggression, but all three countries are persistently arming themselves instead of rising to a qualitatively new level of diplomacy and economy, and insuring investment and trade.
 
Question - The gradual settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue has significantly increased the geopolitical capitalization and opportunities of Armenia's southern neighbor. Does this, in your opinion, give any opportunities to Yerevan to level the Russian influence in Armenia and what are the prospects for the implementation of such a scenario?
 
Answer – Yes, Iran is becoming an economic partner for both Armenia, and Azerbaijan, and Georgia. This country needs technology, investments, and new markets. The entire region is important to Iran, and it is a positive factor.
 
Artak R. Barseghyan, Public Radio of Armenia, www.armradio.am
 
Question - In your opinion, what caused the escalation of hostilities in the conflict zone?
 
Answer - This is neither the first nor the last escalation. I do not know what served as the factual cause of the escalation, just, like many other people, but the intensification of the shootings may be either random or scripted.
 
Question - Do you consider the renewal of a large-scale war probable?
 
Answer – No, I don’t.
 
Question - How do you assess the possible effects of arms capacity building in the South Caucasus, as well as in Russia and in the West?
 
Answer - Negatively. Today the world has become dangerous for everyone and everywhere. Local wars have global consequences. None in the camp of the South Caucasus can defend themselves against military aggression, but all the three countries are persistently arming themselves instead of rising to a qualitatively new level of diplomacy and economy, and insuring investment and trade.
 
The Hetq Newspaper, www.hetq.am
 
Question - What are the real solutions to the conflict in Ukraine that would be acceptable to all the parties? And anyway, how do you feel about the disagreements in defining the parties to the conflict in this country?
 
Answer – There are probable solutions to the conflict in Donbas. However, there is no two way process in which it would be possible to find solutions. The Minsk process aimed at the cease-fire, but it was not created for the development of a peace plan and the search for the ultimate formula. This process is unique in that none of the parties (the Republics, Ukraine and Russia) has a clear purpose. For Kiev, it is important not to remain in the same camp with the republics as the Russian Trojan horse, the population is divided about taking back these formations. In the territory of Donbass that is not under the control of Kiev, there are not only supporters of the Donetsk Peoples’ Republic and Lugansk Peoples’ Republic, but also their opponents as well as people without a certain standpoint on the matter who are waiting for stability and security. The "New Russia" project was not a priority or a failure for Vladislav Surkov, and Moscow is not ready to receive a new package of sanctions for a dubious prize in the form of ruined Donbass.
 
Since from the very beginning the independence movement in the Donbass or accession to Russia was constructed in no way similar to the national movement in the early 90s, they have no ideological, ethnic or other bases. The leadership of the Republics declares willingness to be part of Ukraine, but is also seriously concerned that Kiev will not agree to a contract with them.
 
Question - Do you consider the Abkhaz and South Ossetian conflicts exhausted in connection with Russia's recognition of the independence of these state entities and the signing of agreements on the integration between Russia and Abkhazia, as well as Russia and South Ossetia?
 
Answer - If by "exhausted" you refer to the "solution", of course, I do not. The resolution of the conflict is possible if the conflicting parties find a solution acceptable to all. Since 2008, the process of finding solutions in the bilateral format has stopped. From the Russian-Georgian war in Georgia till the elections of 2012, won by the "Georgian Dream"coalition, the conflict was officially considered purely Georgian and Russian, and the format of talks with Abkhazia and South Ossetia was blocked by Tbilisi. Sukhum(i) and Tskhinval(i) blocked this format, considering it exhausted after reaching their goal of recognition. Currentlythe Georgian-Abkhaz dimension has become topical in Georgia once again, but there is no response from the Abkhaz side. The Treaty on Cooperation (Abkhazia) and Integration (South Ossetia) does not change the positions of Georgia and the international community. The conflict persists, Russia is now added as an active party.
 
Gagik Baghdasaryan, www.newsarmenia.am
 
Question - Natalia, good afternoon! Do you think it is in principle possible to achieve a compromise in the Karabakh conflict, taking into account the diametrically opposed positions of the parties?
 
Answer - Resolving conflicts of this kind is possible, but it requires the commitment of all parties to the non-resumption of hostilities and the ongoing peaceful process of search for solutions. The Karabakh conflict, not by its essence, but by its dynamic and the level of mistrust resembles the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The fluctuations of the political pendulum from moderate to radical positions, constant violations of the agreements, including a ceasefire, and, most importantly, a very weak "peace party" compared to the "party of war" on all sides, only reinforce the militarist discourse and " erase"calls for the search for compromise and concessions, and their sources are ostracized and persecuted.
 
Question - Is the violation of the status quo in Nagorno-Karabakh beneficial to any of the global or regional superpowers?
 
Answer - No, all the world powers are trying to cope with enormous challenges, global catastrophic consequences.
 
Question - Can Azerbaijan, just by itself, decide to start a large-scale war, not having secured a guarantee from at least one of the several global powers?
 
Answer – No, it can’t.
 
Question - Do you agree with the opinion of some experts that the fall in oil prices and a reduction in hydrocarbon production could push Baku to unpredictable moves?
 
Answer – No, I don’t.
 
Karine Asatryan, www.a1plus.am
 
Question - Do you see any relationship between the conflicts in the CIS countries, and can the solution of conflict lead to the probable solution of another?
 
Answer - Russia as an explicit or implicit party is present in all conflicts. There is a possibility that the Transnistrian conflict will undergo a major transformation in the near future due to the need to address the issue of economic orientation, whereas in the case of closing the border with Ukraine, through which Russia had access to the republic, the choice will most likely be in favor of the European Union, and therefore, Moldova. This will have an impact on other conflicts, too.
 
Armen Minasyan, www.panorama.am
 
Question – Do you think the incidents on the frontline will lead to large-scale hostilities in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict?
 
Answer – No, I don’t.
 
Question - In your opinion will there be an escalation of frozen conflicts in the post-Soviet space, in particular, will there be an escalation of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict?
 
Answer -
 
Question - Do you expect any serious progress in the settlement of the Karabakh conflict as a result of the meeting of the Presidents of Armenia and Russia?
 
Answer - Moscow cannot promise anything to anyone today as it is playing a dangerous game with an uncertain outcome, and, it seems lost. The escalation on other fronts can be a daunting task for her. Therefore, situational cooperation is the political maximum.
 
Question - What are, in your opinion, the prospects for Azerbaijan's accession to the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), and is such an option probable without the final resolution to the Karabakh conflict?
 
Answer - Azerbaijan will never join the EEU, it is not an economic, but a political union, to the detriment of the economies of the participants. Azerbaijan has no reason to enter into a political alliance with Armenia.
 
Question - It is no secret that during any confrontation among the major global players it is the mostly small countries that incur losses tending not to get into or not to be involved in global processes. In your opinion, is there an algorithm as to how the small countries should behave in order to possibly avoid losses or minimize them?
 
Answer - Pragmatism, democracy, economy, and human rights are all guarantees of stability in the country, its integration in the regional and global economy, and as a result, its non-participation in a proxy war.
 
Mariam Grigoryan, www.1in.am
 
Question - How do you assess the Armenian-Azerbaijani relations? It seems that instead of reconciliation, they gradually enter into deeper deadlock, and instead of reaching a compromise the situation on the border is periodically exacerbated. Do you think the parties have the necessary will to resolve the conflict or do external players hinder it?
 
Answer - Resolving conflicts of this kind is possible, but it requires the commitment of all parties to the non-resumption of hostilities and the ongoing peaceful process of search for solutions. The Karabakh conflict, not by its essence, but by its dynamic and the level of mistrust resembles the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The fluctuations of the political pendulum from moderate to radical positions, constant violations of the agreements, including a ceasefire, and, most importantly, a very weak "peace party" compared to the "party of war" on all sides, only reinforce the militarist discourse and " erase" calls for the search for compromise and concessions, and their sources are ostracized and persecuted.

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