Neil MacFarlane: “All the States, Involved into the Minsk Process, are a Bit Annoyed with the Current Situation”

By Makhir Mamedov

An interview of1news.az with the Head of Department of Policy and International Relations of Oxfrord University Neil MacFarlane.

- Can we expect any changes in a foreign policy of Great Britain towards the CIS states after the coming of a new Government to power in Your country?

- I doubt that, as the policy, led by London within the given direction recently, doesn’t call disputes.
- And talking strictly about Azerbaijan, which is connected with Great Britain with a long and firm partnership in a number of spheres, including energy. Can Prime Minister Cameron anyhow change the approaches of British Government towards our country?

- I don’t foresee any changes in these approaches. We should take into account, that the new Government is really new (i.e. it is a coalition). In a modern British history there has been no recent practice of coalition. The new Government of the country is going to take a bit time to figure out how to work. And within such conditions the main priorities include internal policy, but not a foreign one. The main foreign priorities – the USA and the European Union.
- Definite circles often used to blame former Governments of Britain that London focused too much on energy issues. How do think, which will be the policy of the new Government on this issue?

- If you mean, whether British Government will change its policy towards human rights protection in Azerbaijan, then it’s hardly, I don’t think something will be changed here greatly. Deviation from a verbal support of human rights may incite troubles within the coalition. In addition we know that the kind of critics in reality is not that significant.
- This or that, Great Britain has great energy interests in Azerbaijan. Can London somehow assist in solution of Karabakh problem to assure security of energy supply ways?

- It’s unlikely. I think that the states, involved into the Minsk Process, are a bit annoyed with the current situation, and this most is connected with the evident collapse of the process of normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations. And then, here we should note that the energy carriers export through the territory of Caucasus is in fact a pretty small part of a world energy market.
- And in early 1990-s Great Britain was actively engaged with the solution of military-political problems in South Caucasus and even within Karabakh regulation. Do you think that those times when the British fought, sometimes even literally, fought for Caucasus has gone?

- Yes, the probability of participation of British Government in peacekeeping in Caucasus is quite miserable.
- And to your mind, what are the main threats to security and stability within the region of South Caucasus and the preconditions for the normalization of the situation here?

- Main threats include a possible resumption of conflicts in Georgia and directly in Karabakh, the probability of growth of dissatisfaction among the population of the region with economic conditions and the probability of violence in the coming three years referred to election process.

As for the preconditions, then this is an improvement of Georgian-Russian relations (which is temporarily is quite unreal), progress within Nagorny Karabakh conflict solution (which is also very unlikely), and also stable economic growth, which will lead to the establishment of new jobs without inflation intensification (which is also complicated to accomplish, considering the current state of global economy).
Translated by EuroDialogueXXI  from 1news.az