Experts comments CACDS - Southern Caucasus

Rafik Aliyev: "Azerbaijan has nothing to give up - the ball on the side of Armenia and the OSCE"

© Photo: Press office of the MFA of RA

Interview with the ex-first chairman of the State Committee of Azerbaijan on Work with Religious Education, Director of the Center for Islamic Studies, Irshad, Ph.D., Professor Rafik Aliyev.

Rafik Aliyev

A meeting of the OSCE chairman and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev met in Baku not so long ago. Is it worth to expect from this meeting a breakthrough in the settlement of the Karabakh conflict?

OSCE Chairs change frequently. Any new chairman must objectively get acquainted with the tasks and problems of the organization's agenda. Do not forget about his interest in being somehow different from the previous leaders. Ideally, the end of some protracted years of business, having earned, roughly speaking, points on the political and diplomatic field.

Familiarity with the protracted unresolved conflicts, one of which is Nagorno-Karabakh, is obviously the basic task for Miroslav Laichak.

We must understand that in the history of the OSCE there has not yet been a case of a positive solution to the artificially frozen conflicts (including those of the OSCE itself!). I remind you that the Nagorno Karabakh conflict has the 4 decision of the UN Security Council as the most influential international organization. But they are not fulfilled, they are ignored by Armenia, and there is no longer any question about their repeated consideration by the UN Security Council. The OSCE Minsk Group did not do all these 20 years of concrete, trustworthy people. Therefore, I personally do not expect any breakthrough in resolving this conflict on the backdrop of the marked OSCE activity.

Efforts can be made to persuade both sides to make concessions to each other. And such a position, I must say, is satisfied with Armenia. And it seems to me that there is nothing to give way to. The biggest concession - to postpone the beginning of the war to liberate our territories - we have done it for a long time. Expecting when both the leadership of Armenia and the OSCE will mature. The ball, as they say, is on their side. If the current OSCE chairman can at least touched this ball, it will be a great success.

OSCE MG is increasingly promoting the issue of settlement in the run-up to the meeting of the leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia? Does such a meeting really take place?

Prerequisites for the meeting are created, they are relevant. However, the attitude and approaches of the parties to them are different. Yerevan systematically declares the inadmissibility of any compromises in principle. Let's not forget that in Armenia there was no longer a period of internal political turbulence. Relations with the main owner of the situation in Karabakh, Russia, are tense with Yerevan.

Therefore, I do not think that the leaders of the two countries can in the current situation offer the world coordinated and acceptable options for solving the Karabakh issue on both sides.

The thesis about "the preparation of peoples for peace" is being voiced ...

You know, I see it as pure water political blackmail ... Questions arise immediately: To which world? What kind of compromise? What, in fact, to prepare? The military-political thesis of Yerevan is intended to influence the consciousness of the Azerbaijanis so that they reconcile themselves with the need to give the aggressor at least part of their historical territory. Somebody can resign, but the absolute majority of Azerbaijanis will not agree with this formulation of the question. Just as the leadership of Azerbaijan will not even agree to discuss this vicious in terms of politics and the common sense of the thesis.

And so the population of Azerbaijan is definitely ready for peace, which will ensure the return of the occupied territories. Therefore, I do not really understand, in fact, when the OSCE gentlemen pronounce the word "peace", what exactly do they mean? Let them publicly propose the conditions of their variant of the world, so that they could be discussed. It's not known to humans what the world is talking about. There is no subject for public discussion.

In turn, the Armenian society is not ready for a just peace based on the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. Therefore, as it seems to me, in the current circumstances, it will be easier for the OSCE to agree with the Armenian society regarding its thesis of "preparations for peace". But not with Azerbaijan ...

What, in your opinion, are the interests in the South Caucasus of the main regional players, first of all, Russia?

Russia has historically, since Peter I, dominated this sensitive region. The influence factor of Moscow here not only survived, but also multiplied. For the last 4-5 years of the war in the Middle East, Russia's military successes in Syria, with the rapprochement of Moscow, Ankara and Tehran's positions on many issues of the Greater Middle East, the South Caucasus became even more valuable for the Kremlin. For him, Russia will hold firmly. Today in the South Caucasus there is no stronger and more influential player. This is a fact with which everyone has to be considered.

Azerbaijan is building today relations with Russia in the format of strategic partnership, Baku's role in the creation and functioning of the triangles Russia-Turkey-Iran, Russia-Turkey-Azerbaijan, gives us the basis to rely on the priority in Russian politics in the South Caucasus. Azerbaijan today is the only de facto true ally of Russia in this sensitive region. I hope that this is well understood in Moscow, despite a number of misunderstandings, which from time to time are thrown out by the mass media into society, both in Russia and in Azerbaijan.

Still, closer to the Karabakh problem - is it worthwhile to expect a resuscitation of the famous "Lavrov Plan"?

This plan, which envisages the de-occupation of Armenia by 5 from the 7 of Azerbaijani regions, has long been a secret, it has not gone anywhere, has been discussed many times at different levels.

In my opinion, at the time when this plan appeared, Baku was still ready for its discussion and adoption - as one of the phases of the phase of the step-by-step solution to the problem. When it would begin with the liberation of 5-them districts and should have continued with the negotiations on the status of Nagorno-Karabakh as part of Azerbaijan. Certainly, the release of the 5-districts would also be a success for both the OSCE Minsk Group and, most importantly, Russia.

Today, as we see, such a step-by-step plan for resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict can not be discussed with anyone in Yerevan, there it is rejected in principle. The current leadership of Armenia is not ready or ready to discuss and solve the fate of Nagorno-Karabakh and 7-and occupied areas. This is from one side. On the other hand, in my opinion, such a plan could only be realized if Russia really had a firm intention to solve this frozen conflict, taking into account the preservation of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.

That is, there is no need to wait for a peaceful settlement of the Karabakh conflict?

I still do not exclude the peaceful resolution of the conflict. Of course, I am very hopeful for him, like most Azeris. Otherwise, it was necessary to wait for so many years, to endure, to worry, to take coffins from time to time with the line of contact with the aggressor. People patiently and with anxiety are waiting for a peaceful solution to be found. But at the same time, I can not exclude a military option. I just come from historical experience that the seized land often came back through the blood ...

Interviewed by Iskender Guliyev, Azerbaijan, specially for CIACR-South Caucasus