The conflict which began several weeks ago in Karabakh between Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan was foreseeable; in fact, until the Karabakh conflict is not resolved in the region, such incidents are anticipated and prevalent. Here, it seems that the present conflict shall continue as Azerbaijan appears to be more determined than the past. That country is seeking to liberalize seven cities occupied by Armenia and then sit on the negotiating table with Yerevan over the Karabakh. This is in fact the demand of the public opinion inside Azerbaijan and for the past year the Azerbaijan media, public and political parties have been calling on President Elham Aliyev to resolve the issue of Karabakh. The Azerbaijani people have also announced readiness to go the war fronts and are therefore exerting a lot of pressure on President Aliyev to recapture the seven cities. Elham Aliyev consequently tried to defuse the pressure by replacing the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Defense. However, the public demand continues to pressure Aliyev. Notwithstanding, on Saturday 10 October 2020, Sergey Lavrov, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia declared that the Republic of Azerbaijan and Armenia have agreed to a ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh region from the midday. The ministers of foreign affairs of Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan met and negotiated a truce in Moscow on Friday 09 October 2020 after two weeks of tough conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh region. The ceasefire agreement was reached early Saturday in Moscow after 10 hours of negotiations between the foreign ministers of the Republic of Azerbaijan and Armenia with the presence of Sergey Lavrov. However, the ceasefire maintained only for half an hour. And in this short period, there were many negative reactions in Azerbaijan. Therefore, the conflict continues and Azerbaijan claims it has gained more victory and has released two of its cities and more than 20 villages and so it has the upper hand in the war. In fact, no one can prevent Azerbaijan from its efforts to liberalize lands occupied by Armenia because these seven cities are considered as part of the Azerbaijan soil and constitute its territorial integrity and any states enjoys the right to defend its territorial integrity.
I do believe that the conflict shall continue in future should mediation efforts fail and no solution is identified for the settlement of the issue. Now, the Karabakh conflict is divided into two parts: one is the Karabakh itself which declared independence after the collapse of the former Soviet Union. This independence has not been accepted from the legal point of view. Therefore, no country even Armenia has recognized the independence of the “Republic of Karabakh”; However, in order to prevent Azerbaijan from attacking Karabakh, Armenia occupied seven cities located between Karabakh and the Azerbaijan Republic. Armenia has stationed forces there. These seven cities are considered entirely part of the territorial integrity of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Their occupation should be terminated and then legal talks should begin over Karabakh. The main legal question is: Does this region have the capacity in terms of population, territory and resources, to become independent or not? However, until the problem of these seven cities is not resolved, such conflicts shall re-occur even if a ceasefire is declared.
Inter alia, in my belief, the best place for the settlement of the Karabakh issue is the Security Council of the United Nations which has the necessary executive mechanism for resolving the problem as it has issued four resolutions so far on the Karabakh issue, asking Armenia to evacuate seven cities of the Republic of Azerbaijan; however, Yerevan has refused to withdraw. Therefore, the Security Council should convince Armenia, perhaps through the current mechanisms such as Chapter Seven of the Charter of the United Nations, to return these cities to the Republic of Azerbaijan.
Moreover, neighbors of Azerbaijan and Armenia such as Russia, Turkey and the Islamic Republic of Iran would be interested, out of efforts to establish security and stability in the region, in taking measures to resolve the conflict. However, these countries lack the mechanisms owned only by the Security Council of the United Nations. In fact, the three countries can only urge and recommend the parties to the conflict to show self-restraint and accept truce. Therefore, the countries of the region, while continuing their mediation efforts, should ask the Security Council to actively deal with and find a solution, within the framework of its responsibilities, for the Karabakh issue. Without doubt, the Islamic Republic of Iran, considering its good relations with Azerbaijan and Armenia, which has the experience of mediation between them in the past, can consult with officials from Russia, Turkey, Azerbaijan and Armenia to play a constructive and effective role and find a proper solution to the problem.