OSCE Astana Summit To Be 'Ineffective' On Karabakh

By Lala B.

News.Az interviews Azay Guliyev, a member of the Azerbaijani parliamentary delegation at the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly.
Will the "road map" for a Karabakh settlement, which the OSCE is planning to present to the conflict parties at its summit on 1-2 December in Astana, help to settle the problem?

Azerbaijani society still hopes for a peaceful resolution of the Karabakh conflict, but as someone constantly involved in OSCE events and reasonably informed about sentiment within this organization, I believe that the Astana summit will be ineffective, as the organization is not yet inclined to force the aggressor to peace. I think the OSCE summit in Astana will not take even a small step towards solving the conflict. The reason is that the superpowers which must take this step are not determined. This is primarily because Armenia is not an independent state and is backed by some forces. In this situation, the Karabakh conflict can be settled through consensus between these powers, on the one hand, and the world community, on the other.
Does this mean that it will not be possible to take any document to Astana that will promote a resolution of the conflict?

Of course, tough discussions will be held at the OSCE summit and, if the OSCE summit and its participants find the courage, then the document they adopt will at least have paragraphs from previous documents of international organizations on the Karabakh conflict.

In other words, we expect the OSCE document, like earlier documents adopted by international organizations on Karabakh, to include paragraphs condemning Armenia for its continued occupation of Azerbaijani land. We hope that the document adopted at the OSCE summit in Astana will set time frames for the withdrawal of forces from the occupied lands. These time frames must allow for the phased liberation of Azerbaijani land and gradually promote the return home of refugees and IDPs. The document should say that after liberation of the occupied lands and return of refugees, the Azerbaijani and Armenian communities of Karabakh will have to define the legal status of this region. Of course, all these processes must be executed within the framework of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.
How may the Astrakhan meeting of the presidents of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Russia influence the Astana discussions on Karabakh?

Russia sought to get the psychological advantage before the OSCE summit by organizing the meeting in Astrakhan. At the same time, it showed that Russia can always put pressure on Armenia and get any decision adopted. This state of affairs is at the same time a message to other Minsk Group co-chairing states. Therefore, I think the OSCE summit in Astana will become a specific point in the transition of the superpowers to the next stage of combat and competition in our region. This is also proven by the expected visit of French President Nicolas Sarkozy to Azerbaijan.
How effective is Azerbaijan’s policy in this regard?

Certainly, Azerbaijan’s diplomacy has recently shown the pointlessness of attempts to put pressure on Azerbaijan from outside. Azerbaijan shows that it will not make any concessions on the issue of its territorial integrity.
Is this policy useful?

I believe that when they come up against this Azerbaijani policy the superpowers will finally take determined action on a Karabakh settlement, though so far there are no signs or symptoms that these countries are aware of the need to take such steps. Nevertheless, this trend has recently been felt among the superpowers' leaders.
Is Turkey’s active participation in these processes useful?

I believe there is a great need for Turkey’s active participation in the Karabakh settlement. Turkish diplomacy should step up a gear before the OSCE summit in Astana. Turkey should help in any way it can to seize and develop the chance of ensuring the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.
Diplomatic sources say that the document that the international mediators will present at the OSCE summit will mention the need for NATO peacekeeping troops around Karabakh. How realistic is this and should Azerbaijan agree with it?

I do not think the location of NATO-led troops in the region is realistic, since the Karabakh problem is a conflict whose solution requires the formation of a peacekeeping contingent from among several troops. These forces are directly or indirectly interested in resolution, or on the contrary, protraction of this conflict. The Azerbaijani side can take only a temporary placement of international peacekeepers on a mixed basis in the conflict area. I think it is unrealistic to place peacekeepers, formed from among the NATO-led troops or Russian forces. It is desirable to form the peacekeeping contingent from NATO-led, Russian and Turkish troops. Though the latter is a NATO member, I would like to repeat that it is desirable for Turkey to be represented in the peacekeeping forces.
Kazakhstan’s chairmanship of the OSCE is coming to an end. Has Kazakhstan been able to do anything to help resolve the Karabakh conflict?

In reality, Kazakhstan’s chairmanship of the OSCE was a formality. Kazakhstan does not play a serious role in forming international policy. Kazakhstan does not have major influence in the world either that would make the conflict parties take its will or intention into account. The superpowers sometimes agree on the OSCE chairmanship of such countries as Kazakhstan, so that the world does not have the impression that only the big countries lead this international organization.