'No prospects' for imminent Karabakh resolution

Wed 06 Jul 2011 01:55 GMT | 05:55 Local Time

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News.Az interviews Henry E. Hale, director of The George Washington University's Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies (IERES).

What do you thing about Azerbaijan, its policy and place in the region?

Azerbaijan is certainly an important player in the Eurasian region with great potential to influence developments in the Caucasus and beyond.

How can you explain the fact that there is so much talk in the West about the importance of Azerbaijan and its energy resources but no one want to get involved in the Karabakh settlement?


There are a lot of people (and governments) in the West who are deeply involved in trying to resolve the Karabakh conflict, including through the most recent round of negotiations.

Their hope has been to find a settlement that can somehow satisfy all people involved in the conflict itself, and that has proven impossible so far.

The presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia did not sign any agreement on Karabakh at the Kazan meeting on 24 June, despite the hopes of the US, Russia and France. Do you believe that the conflict will be settled soon?

Unfortunately, I do not see prospects for the conflict being settled soon.

None of the sides appear prepared for meaningful compromise on the core issue of Karabakh's status. I hope I am wrong.

What do you think about the possibility of a new war in the region? What would be the reaction of the super-powers?

I do fear that a new war is possible, and think that the outcome would likely be a tragedy for all concerned. Perhaps the biggest question is whether Russia would intervene on the side of Armenia, assuming Armenian troops are involved. I would expect that there would be serious internal debates within Russia about whether to become directly involved, and I am not sure what the outcome of those debates would be.

I would expect the American government not to want to become directly involved in yet another war, though history has taught us never to rule anything out entirely, since events can take unexpected and unwanted directions.

Henry E. Hale is director of IERES (the Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies) at The George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs.

F.H.

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