– Dr. Novikova, in your opinion, whether a formula “the status in exchange for the territories,” supported by the OSCE Minsk Croup Co-Chairs, is still urgent, or not, taking into consideration that in the reintegrated territories there is already the Armenian population?
It is possible to find some analogies between the Nagorno Karabakh and Palestinian-Israeli conflicts. Without getting into the details I would like to note that the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations were based upon a formula “the status in exchange for security guarantees.” Israel was ready to withdraw its army and the settlements from the part of the territories, in particular from the Gaza region in exchange for security guaranties for the State of Israel and its population. Thus, the Israeli settlements that still remain in the West Bank have a defensive function, first of all.
In the Nagorno Karabakh conflict settlement there is an attempt to combine the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan with the right for self-determination of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic. In accordance with some of the Madrid Principles, the following steps should be implemented: return of the regions surrounding the Nagorno Karabakh to Azerbaijan control; ensure the security and self-government of Nagorno Karabakh by granting a temporary status; the final status of Nagorno Karabakh will be determined by a popular referendum which would have legally binding power.” However, the given formulations do not mean at all that in exchange for the territories the Nagorno Karabakh Republic will be granted the status of an independent state entity. Furthermore, Azerbaijan has been stating unequivocally that the only status for NKR can be autonomy inside Azerbaijan.
In case of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict settlement, a reasonable compromise, based upon mutual concessions, is unavoidable. However, for me as for the Armenian researcher, a phrase “ensure the security” is a key point. It is obvious, that against the background of the bellicose statements of the Azerbaijani leadership and the lack of international guaranties, the security of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic and its population can be ensured only by keeping the territories that provide the strategic depth of the NKR defense under Armenian control.
– In your opinion, could Armenia give in its place in the negotiations to the NKR, but keep its status of the security guarantor for Nagorno Karabakh?
Armenia cannot and must not keep away from the negotiations. Do not forget that it represents both itself and the NKR in negotiations for several years now. However, Armenia should insist upon the re-inclusion of Nagorno Karabakh into direct negotiations, definitely preserving its status as a guarantor of the security of the NKR and its population.
Translated from Russian