The former Foreign Minister of Armenia, Vardan Oskanian, provided the media with his article on the Karabakh negotiations. The article is below.
Perhaps we do not need additional facts to record that the authorities of Armenia formed in 2018 were far from basic knowledge of diplomacy and international relations and continue to be so. Despite the conspiracy theories, I am still sure that this circumstance is the main reason for the human and territorial losses we have had and are still continuing.
Nikol Pashinyan’s first diplomatic mistake was that he made an agreement with Aliyev not to fire on the front line in order to stabilize and strengthen the positions of the newly created authorities inside the country, which the Azerbaijani side fully fulfilled.
At first glance, it may seem that this was an innocent, even ingenious step. However, it was the first diplomatic blunder, which created expectations of significant concessions by Armenia in a short time in exchange for peace on the border with the Azerbaijani side.
The cause of wars is always the consistent formation of the expectations of the conflicting parties and in the end their delay, violation or non-satisfaction.
Pashinyan’s second mistake was that he completely disregarded all the stages of the negotiations and the relevant documents, announcing that he would start the negotiations from his zero point. This was precisely the desire of Azerbaijan, which created an opportunity for it to get rid of the unwanted provisions and fundamental principles found in the negotiation documents, but accepted by the mediators, such as the right of self-determination of Artsakh, while at the same time demonstrating to the mediators and a wider range of countries the lack of seriousness and unreliability of the Armenian side. to the agreements reached.
Pashinyan’s third diplomatic failure was his lack of a clear position and policy on the Karabakh issue, on the one hand, and his conflicting and contradictory statements on the other hand. At first – vague and chaotic thoughts, then – the assertion that the solution of the issue should be acceptable to the people of Armenia, Artsakh and Azerbaijan. And finally, the phrase “Artsakh is Armenia and that’s it.” I think that it was the deep contradictions of his thoughts that gave Azerbaijan a reason to justify the impossibility of resolving the issue through negotiations and to a certain extent to justify the incitement of the war.
There is no war that cannot be avoided. Claiming the opposite is a false and dangerous assumption that justifies political impotence and inaction. If a war has started, which we would like to avoid, then the leadership of Armenia made a mistake in simple political calculations and failed in the negotiation process.
Unfortunately, this trend and the parade of diplomatic mistakes continue, causing us new but definitely avoidable human and territorial losses.
The fatalism of being powerless in the face of force and the lack of basic diplomatic skills lead to the “let’s agree to everything, let’s get away” thinking. There is no other way to explain how the five points of the further negotiation agenda proposed by Azerbaijan in the post-war period could be considered completely acceptable at the level of the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister, without even starting negotiations.
Meanwhile, the answer could be formulated very simply in the interest of Armenia. Approximately like this.
“It is your right to bring any issue to the negotiation agenda and the Armenian side will not avoid discussing them. Therefore, based on the same logic and having such an expectation from you, we present the issues on the agenda of the Armenian side.
- the future status of NKIM,
- The fate of Shushi and Hadrut as an integral part of Nagorno-Karabakh,
- the issue of the return of Armenian prisoners of war held in Azerbaijan,
- withdrawal of Azerbaijani armed forces from the sovereign territory of Armenia,
- The possibility of restoring the Minsk Group negotiation format,
- The issue of the terms of the peacekeeping forces stationed in Karabakh,
- other questions.”
In this proposed agenda, there is no question that could provoke unexpected diplomatic and military opposition. This agenda is definitely understandable and comprehensible to the mediating parties. It is the absence of this that causes surprise among all those who still do not believe that the current government does not even have the skill to formulate this.
Today, the primary task of Armenian diplomacy is to enter long-term negotiations with a balanced agenda.
Diplomacy is a platform of endless possibilities. Even in the most hopeless situations, it is possible to correct something, proofread. Fatalism has nothing to do with real powerlessness. It is the combination of lack of skills, knowledge, experience and stubbornness of not admitting one’s own mistakes and not listening to advice. This is exactly what we have been witnessing for more than three years. And exclusively for this reason