Armenia should take actions to prevent the Artsakh Blockade becoming a new normal
13-02-2023 12:17:03 | Armenia |
Viewpoint with Benyamin Poghosyan
Analysis by political scientist Beniamin Poghosyan.
Today we will discuss the ongoing blockade of Latchin Corridor by Azerbaijan.
Blockade has just entered Third month passing the threshold of 60 days and unfortunately there is no clear path forward how and who can force Azerbaijan to stop the blockade. In these last two months we faced a lot of condemnations lot of statements from International Community starting from Russia and ending with West. The Secretary of
State Blinken several times reiterated its claims that Corridor should be opened. European Parliament made some statements and adopted resolutions a few days ago. The Foreign Relations Committee of the European Parliament made a resolution about Armenian relation in 2022, so-called annual report, and again in this report also demanded the end of the blockade of Latchin Corridor.However we see that Azerbaijan is not going to do that and frankly speaking we also have to accept that there is a no clear and mounting International pressure on Azerbaijan. Because here we have to distinguish between two things: statements, calls, wishes, desires and pressure. So four or five terms which are used initially statements, calls, wish, desire, arguing, etc. This is not a pressure. We know what does mean International pressure and once more we saw how at least the collective West may impose very strict harsh and mounting pressure on any country when the West believes that this country is violating international law or acts against the collective West interests. As a war in Ukraine which began on February 24, 2022 gave us an excellent example how the collective West is ready to put tough pressure on a country trying to force that country to change the course. Of course I'm speaking about Russia and let's not forget that Russia means much more for the collective West especially for the Europe than for example Azerbaijan. Yes many now are speaking about some dependence on Azerbaijani gas for few EU member countries ,like Bulgaria, probably Italy, some others who are receiving Azerbaijani gas and who want to receive more azerbaijani gas in next years. And we all remember July 2022 when European commission president visited Baku and signed a memorandum of understanding on strategic cooperation on energy related issues with azerbaijani president. But, however, of course, the Azerbaijan does not match Russia with its influence and with its role as energy supplier to the European Union. But we saw that within several weeks the European Union together with United States, of course, put very harsh sanctions on Russia and de facto said, that okay I'm going to abandon the Russian gas. And when we speak about the pressure, okay not about statement, about desire, about wishes, the real tangible thing which Collective West can use and which Collective West sometimes uses very effectively is the sanctions or at least threats of sanctions. Unfortunately, as of now two months after the start of the blockade we haven't heard anything from the collective West, NATO from United States, not from European Union or any individual EU member country or countries such as Canada United Kingdom that also part of the collective West. We haven't heard anything about not only sanctions but about threats of sanctions. Instead we hear that sanctions cannot be discussed, that sanctions are out of the table, that the collective West, EU, United States… Yes they are calling for Azerbaijan to stop the blockade but simultaneously they want to face Armenia and Azerbaijan negotiations resumed and they are interested in to see the final peace agreement to be signed between Armenia and Azerbaijan and again nothing about sanctions and nothing about even certain sanctions. Of course it's very difficult to assess if only threats will be sufficient to force or convince Azerbaijan to stop the blockade, but the 60 days proved very clearly that if there are no tangible threats of sanctions or sanctions themselves, it's very difficult to hope that Azerbaijan somehow will end this blockade if other demands are not met.
And other demands are very clear: first to establish Azerbaijani checkpoint on Latchin Corridor, second resignation of Artsakh Republic State Minister Ruben Vardanyan, third this bundle of Nagorno Karabakh Defense Army Force stop to functioning any miles in Nagorno Karabakh Republic. So Azerbaijan position is very clear. Okay you should accept all these four demands or at least maybe some of these four demands and then we can speak about the possibility to end the blockade. By the way it's interesting to say that Azerbaijan puts conditions to end the blockade and simultaneously Azerbaijan only official position is that there is no blockade. When we read the Press statements from Azerbaijan's side of the phone calls between numerous International bodies or representatives of several countries with Azerbaijani foreign minister or Deputy foreign minister, Azerbaijan argues that there is a no blockade, everything is okay, but simultaneously Azerbaijan tells, that, okay he has several conditions to end what's going on. So it's also interesting that Azerbaijan puts conditions to end something which from Azerbaijani point of view does not exist. But, of course, this peculiarities of Azerbaijani foreign policy. However so what can be done or what can Armenia do at least to somehow end the situation. Because unfortunately the blockade of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic becomes a new norm and we all know that when something continues too long it started to lose his interests. Even Ukraine war: there was much more interest about the Ukraine war in the West at least on the social level or public level in March, April, May 2022, than in mid-February 2023. Because people get to used, that okay there are different wars, there is ongoing war in Syria for more than 10 years, there is ongoing civil war in Yemen for approximately seven-eight years. So people are get used even to Ukraine war, which means that people and countries will get used also to the blockade of Nagorno Karabach Republic. And if there is a really no catastrophic situation, I mean if really people are not dying from Hunger, then people will say, okay, yes, maybe they are able to buy only one kilogram of rice, or buckwheat, or sugar per month, but, okay, they do not die, while there are many other cases in the world: in Somali, Sudan and other countries that the hunger situation is even worse.