Expert: U.S., Russian and French president's statement on Nagorno-Karabakh is Azerbaijani diplomacy's great success

Trend conducted interview with the Moscow State University History Faculty Deputy Dean, Internet portal "The Bulletin of the Caucasus" Chief Editor and Trend Expert Council Member o Alexei Vlasov, especially for the Yeni Azerbaycan newspaper.
Trend: How much are the rumors of imminent release of the Kalbajar and Fizuli regions of Azerbaijan, deployment of the U.S. military forces in the Fizuli region and the Russian forces in the Kalbajar region true?

Vlasov:  I think that the issue of the two regions will be soon resolved. Speaking in the near future, I mean 2010-2011. I am convinced by the OSCE Minsk Group co-chair countries presidents' statement made at a summit in Toronto.

However, I do not think that peacekeepers will be deployed in the conflict zone, because neither Azerbaijan nor Armenia have no interest in their appearance in the Nagorno-Karabakh territory, regardless of  whose contingent it is. Since the signing of a ceasefire agreement in 1994, the specifics of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is that there have not been placed peacekeepers in contrast to Transdniestria and South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The appearance of peacekeepers on the contact line of the troops will create a fundamentally different situation, to which Baku or Yerevan is not ready, it is impossible to calculate the result of this step.

The issue of security of Azerbaijani and Armenian population after the resettlement of refugees is likely to be considered at the bilateral level that is directly between Armenia and Azerbaijan. This is a difficult step, but if agreement is reached and a relevant document signed - it will be greater break than the return of the two regions.
Q.: How do you assess the presidents' statement? How much does it correspond to Azerbaijan's positions?

A.: The statement mostly - at 90 percent reflects the position of Baku, and of course, it is a great success of the Azerbaijani diplomacy. On the one hand, there were a lot of statements and declarations on the Nagorno-Karabakh. But here we can talk about that the mediators put a full stop and made a clear and definitive position on the parameters for a solution. In this regard, this document is a breakthrough.

Now the ball is on Yerevan. Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan's reaction will depend on many factors and not only inter-Armenian, but also on the factor of the Armenian world diaspora and the position of Khankendi. This subjectivity in the question of Armenia's foreign policy does not allow me to say with certainty that this breakthrough will be supported by Yerevan.
Q.: How do you assess the outcome of U.S. State Secretary Hillary Clinton's visit to the South Caucasus, particularly to Azerbaijan? Can we expect that this visit would give momentum to the negotiation process on Nagorno-Karabakh?

A.: Clinton's visit was important from the standpoint that she repeated the American position that it was important to hear for the Azerbaijani leadership. Securing a more positive attitude towards Azerbaijan is also very important. Regarding the Nagorno-Karabakh, all that could be expressed, was reflected in the president's statement. Further, focus should be on mechanisms to implement this idea. But it seemed to me that it was not included in the format of the visit. Apparently, this issue will move in a different form and at another level. Perhaps, concrete steps to implement it will be announced at the two sides' meeting in the near future.