A week ago, the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev granted pardon to murderer Ramil Safarov. The discussions about how it will affect the NK negotiation process and what changes official Yerevan should make in its position have not stopped since then.
For example, former FM Vardan Oskanyan thinks that it is a convenient time to change the accents and focus attention on fixing the de-facto realization of Nagorno Karabakhi people’s right for self-determination. Mr. Oskanyan did not explain whether it should be done through the recognition of NKR by Armenia or in any other way. For his part, Foreign Minister Nalbandyan said this week that Armenia is not going to withdraw from the talks and it’s is Azerbaijan that rejects all the proposals of the Co-Chair states.
In reality, the negotiation process has been actually frozen for almost over a year. After the Azerbaijani leader had denied the previously reached agreements in Kazan last summer, the Co-chairs do not mediate actively, focusing on efforts to maintain the process in a more or less “vivid” state. There were no big hopes for progress even before Safarov’s release and today only the hopeless optimists can speak about such hopes.
Yesterday, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan reproached the international community, saying that one of the reasons for Safarov’s release was the fact that the world has been demonstrating “political correctness” towards Azerbaijan for many years and always puts an equality sign between the sides.
Since the hopes that the international players will ever give up that “political correctness” are not big, I would like to propose to the Armenian President to do it himself. How?
Armenia should initiate a Sargsyan-Aliyev meeting through the Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group. The first 1-2 minutes of such meetings are open for the reporters for protocol shooting. Usually, during this time the Presidents and the mediators exchange polite smiles and say nothing but: “how are you?”, “it’s a nice weather today” etc.
I propose to the President of Armenia to break this tradition and ask a question to Ilham Aliyev just during the protocol shooting:
- Mr. President, how do you sleep after granting pardon to a murderer who had axed a sleeping man 16 times?
And let Mr. Ilham [Ramil] Aliyev answer this question before the cameras.
Ara Tadevosyan is the Director of Mediamax.