The expert on the Caucasus Halbach, Uwe (Uwe Halbach) believes the danger of a new war between Armenia and Azerbaijan is quite a realistic scenario.
TAZ: Mr. Halbach, what is the difference of conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh and other conflicts in the former Soviet Union, for example, between South Ossetia and Georgia or Eastern Ukraine?
Uwe Halbach: Before the start of the clashes in the East of Ukraine, Donbass, all these conflicts were frozen. But Nagorno-Karabakh have shown that it can not be relied. The conflict constantly flashed, then faded, as, for example, in April 2016. It happened and now. And in between there were skirmishes on the ceasefire line. Therefore, the Nagorno Karabakh conflict cannot be considered frozen.
Another difference from other conflicts in the former Soviet Union: from external forces different interests.
— How do you assess Russia’s role in this context?
— Though Russia holds a military base in Armenia and is supplying weapons to both sides, but directly in Nagorno-Karabakh is not present — in contrast to the situation in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Believe the Kremlin in the conflict takes a rather neutral position. It is evident in the fact that Russia during the recent escalation urged both sides to show restraint.
— How to position themselves other forces in the region?
— The Russian position in the Karabakh conflict is not so far from the position of the United States or other Western players, such as France. This means that we are dealing here not with such acute geopolitical competition between Russia and the West, as in Georgia or Ukraine.
— A Turkey?
— She’s in Nagorny Karabakh is the only external player that supported one particular party. Ankara clearly sided with Azerbaijan and said he will support Azerbaijan in case of war.
— What are the prospects of possible solution of the conflict?
— First, you need to prevent the worst. Consistently call on the sides to show restraint and not get involved in a war. This danger is very real.
But a political solution to the conflict, as before, is not visible. The two sides have significant differences. Condition of Azerbaijan, withdrawal of Armenian troops from at least seven districts around Nagorno-Karabakh. The Armenian side insists on the guarantees of security for Nagorno-Karabakh. But they have not yet given.
Azerbaijan is opposed to the negotiating table was and Nagorno-Karabakh. While Armenia demands it.
I can understand the Armenian demand. Because Nagorno — Karabakh is definitely a party to the conflict, he addressed them. Until 1998 Nagorno-Karabakh has been at the negotiating table. Then it did not. But the Minsk group has not insisted on this change.