Markov touched on the situation regarding the solution of the conflict, as well as on the extraordinary presidential election in Azerbaijan while commenting on the negotiations on the settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
- Last week OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs' paid visits to the region. They held meetings with Azerbaijani and Armenian presidents. How do you evaluate OSCE MG co-chairs visit to the region and what are your expectations?
- I suppose the OSCE MG co-chairs deal with the evaluation of the situation in the conflict zone and stimulation of negotiating process. However, they cannot fully handle this job. Currently, the co-chairs hold negotiation r the sake of just holding negotiations, not for the sake of solving the conflict. The current situation allows me to say that the co-chairs hold simulation of negotiating process instead of real negotiations. In this regard, I do not highly appreciate the efforts of the OSCE Minks Group co-chairs on the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. We do not know whether they can achieve success in this direction or not. The reason is that the Armenian government, which is interested in the freezing the conflict in current stage, demonstrates a tough stance on the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict.
- The interesting point is that Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan will hold presidential elections in 2018. How can the presidential elections to be held in these three countries influence the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict?
- I guess, it is very difficult to achieve the stimulation of the negotiating process in terms of elections. It is essential to compromise in order to reach an agreement. On the other hand, compromise is difficult for the conflict sides. However, public opinion is characterized with patriotism in both Azerbaijan and Armenia. This tendency intensifies during elections and politicians become hostages of this patriotic spirit. They sometimes try to create such spirit themselves. Therefore, reaching a compromise is not convincing during elections.
- Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev signed a decree on holding extraordinary elections last week. Local political commentators suppose that early elections is related to negative factors. How do the processes occurring in Azerbaijan seem from Moscow? Which external factors may affect South Caucasus region as well as Azerbaijan?
- Firstly, this decision is evaluated as sovereign right of Azerbaijan in Moscow. Secondly, reasons of early presidential elections are not very clear for us. As a specialist, I understand that early elections is probably related to foreign powers’ plans. The state authority prevented enemy’s attempts to escalate tensions by changing the date of the presidential elections. People do not have any doubt about Ilham Aliyev winning the presidential election of Azerbaijan regardless of the date.
- How do you see the direction of relations between Azerbaijan and Russia following the elections in both countries?
- I believe that the current government will win in both Russia and Azerbaijan. Consequently, the relations between countries will develop as usual. Existing respect and positive trend in economic, technical and other spheres will remain. Within the international organizations, Azerbaijan and Russia support each other. In my view, this tendency will also continue in 2018. I do not expect any revolutionary changes.
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