Four-Day War Fallout: Armenian politicians insist on Karabakh’s becoming full party to talks

Armenia’s political forces have responded to the news of a ceasefire between conflicting parties in Nagorno-Karabakh that was reached on Tuesday after several days of deadly fighting.

The ceasefire came into effect on April 5, in the afternoon, though sporadic shootings from the Azerbaijani side were continuing with lower intensity.

Later, Russian President Vladimir Putin urged his Armenian and Azerbaijani counterpart to ensure “full cessation of hostilities and observance of the truce regime” as he had separate telephone conversations with Serzh Sargsyan and Ilham Aliyev.

The Russian president stressed the importance of the resumption of the negotiation process between Yerevan and Baku with the assistance with the OSCE Minsk Group with the aim of a further search of ways of a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh problem.

On Tuesday, the OSCE Minsk Group strongly condemned the outbreak of “unprecedented violence” along the Line of Contact in Nagorno-Karabakh, and called for an immediate negotiation on a comprehensive settlement.

The political forces in Armenia reacted to the call for the resumption of the negotiation process insisting on having Nagorno-Karabakh around the negotiating table as well.

Opposition MP Alexander Arzumanyan, former foreign minister, considers dangerous the thoughts voiced by Russia that a new agreement should be signed.

“If the offer is being made on signing an agreement between Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh, I am in favor of it, but Armenia has nothing to do here. The ceasefire agreement signed in 1994 is a result of serious discussions, negotiations and compromise. Both sides realized that they need to move forward according to the text and essence of the agreement.

Unfortunately, Azerbaijan continues to violate the agreement. They simply need to force Azerbaijan not to violate it. There is no need for a new agreement,” said Arzumanyan.

Deputy Parliament Speaker Eduard Sharmazanov, representing the ruling Republican Party of Armenia, said that it is important to enforce peace on the rival. “If we are talking about a ceasefire, we should not speak about a new truce, but about moving the armed forces to the positions that existed in the morning of April 1, thus, in accordance with the ceasefire on May 12, 1994.”

But many believe that even if a ceasefire is established under the status quo, there are no guarantees that there will be no new escalation shortly.

Opposition MP Nikol Pashinyan, who has just returned from Karabakh, said in the National Assembly that people, discussing the new situation everywhere, understand that Azerbaijan has to suffer very serious and significant territorial losses.

“A concrete task has been set: Nagorno-Karabakh’s armed forces must take control of a rather significant town. It should be clear that we are not going to hold any talks on the Karabakh issue any longer within a format in which the NKR is not a party.

Armenia does not have anything to say at the negotiating table around which the Karabakh issue is discussed without the NKR’s representative,” said Pashinyan.

Stepan Safaryan, a political analyst and founding head of the Institute for International and Security Affairs, told that, as Baku has actually attacked the NKR, the former will have to sign a ceasefire agreement with the legally elected authorities of Artsakh.

Referring to yesterday’s bilateral agreement on ceasing the fire along the line of contact between Karabakh and Azerbaijan, the analyst said that it can be considered positive, if one of the parties involved in signing the agreement is the NKR.

“I do not believe any word and signature of [president of Azerbaijan Ilham] Aliyev, but if the ceasefire agreement is respected, if [that document] guarantees peace for Karabakh, then there is a sense in the existence of that agreement, otherwise it will be a piece of paper, the conditions of which will not be respected by Azerbaijan itself, then it will become a complete nonsense,” he says.

Margarit Yesayan, a Republican Party MP, issued a statement in which she said that negotiations must be restarted, but this time from a double winner’s position while the main condition should be returning the NKR to the negotiation table.

“He [Aliyev] will have to talk to people from Karabakh, to Artsakh and recognize the NKR’s independence. Blitzkrieg makes sense when you win, but when you lose, it is a political capitulation. This is Aliyev’s capitulation, the beginning of his end. The sooner he realizes it, the fewer casualties there will be on both sides. This is on today’s military, diplomatic and political agenda of Armenia and Artsakh,” said Yesayan.