tv Inside Story LINKTV August 2, 2021 5:30am-6:00am PDT
aljazeera.com. ♪ midnight 30 g, these are your top stories, the first group of afghans who helped american forces has now arrived in the united states. the u.s. president, joe biden, calling it a milestone. thousands more are waiting to be resettled. >> we were fighting for the country that we had never seen, even in our dream. all of us, we had a flood on our shoulder. we were fighting for that flood. we thought we were american. we considered ourselves
americans, because we were serving this country. >> the u.n. is calling for an immediate cease-fire in syria's tehran province. hundreds rallied and several -- in several towns controlled by the opposition forces. peru's currency plummeted after leftist cabinet members were sworn in, appointed by the president, who has pledged to redistribute wealth in the country. israel's foreign minister is blaming iran for an apparent attack on is really oil tanker off the coast of oman. at least two people were killed. they called for a harsh response, but provided no evidence tehran was responsible. uganda's president, easing coronavirus restrictions following a drop in infection rates. neighboring kenya is extending
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dareen: armenia has called on russia to deploy troops along its border with azerbaijan. it comes after renewed tension between the two neighbors. but will moscow send soldiers, and how fragile is the ceasefire between armenia and azerbaijan? this is "inside story." ♪ hello, and welcome to the program. i'm dareen abughaida. the region of nagorno-karabakh has been disputed between azerbaijan and armenia for many years. it's led to several incidents of violence, including last year's conflict that killed thousands of people. and that's despite international efforts to bring peace to the region. armenia is now asking russia to
deploy troops along its border with azerbaijan. prime minister nicole peshanian says it's the only solution to allow border demarcation without further violence. russia has not made any promises yet, but the international community is urging all sides to respect the ceasefire that's in place right now. well, on thursday, a number of armenian and azeri soldiers were killed in the fighting. it happened in nagorno-karabakh, the disputed region where the countries fought a war last year. azerbaijan's defense ministry accused armenian forces of what it called provocations and said its army would continue to retaliate. so hostilities involving nagorno-karabakh go back decades. azerbaijan and armenia fought a six-year war that ended in a ceasefire in 1994. then in 2016, an outbreak of violence killed dozens of people during four days of fighting. and last year's conflict killed more than 5,000 people,
including both soldiers and civilians. the conflict has regional implications, as well. russia has traditionally been an ally of armenia and has joined other world powers in calling for calm, while turkey is backing azerbaijan, and its foreign ministry says it will stand by baku. ♪ let's discuss all of this and introduce our panel. in yerevan, richard giragosian is joining us. he's the director of the regional studies center, that's an independent think tank focused on strategic research and policy analysis. in moscow, stanislav pritchin, who's a senior research fellow at the center for post-soviet studies. and from baku, we have farid shafiyev, who's the chairman of the center of analysis of international relations. thank you so much for speaking to us on "inside story." richard, over to you in yerevan. why is armenia proposing that russian troops be deployed along the border with azerbaijan? what is the strategy there?
>> well, the strategy is necessity, in terms of the loss of life in the past 48 hours, not in nagorno-karabakh, but in armenia proper. and with the incursion of azerbaijani military units in armenia, we do see a necessity to begin to stabilize the situation and deter attacks from azerbaijan by turning to russian peacekeepers. dareen: the prime minister says the move would allow border demarcation though to be carried out without the risk of military clashes. i mean, what is the likelihood that this move actually minimizes the risk of clashes, when it comes to demarcation? >> well, on the one hand, the real answer to the question depends on how azerbaijan reacts. the good news, however, on the other hand, is that the armenian government is also proposing a bilateral withdrawal, a pullback to reduce the risk of
hostilities and clashes, in terms of a dangerous proximity of forces. and to commit to diplomacy, engaging in diplomatic negotiations over border demarcation, and not necessarily under force of arms. and we do hope that azerbaijan accepts the offer. dareen: farid, how is azerbaijan viewing this offer by the armenians? >> i think, first of all, we should note and underline that the cause of all these problems at the border between armenia and azerbaijan, that for 30 years, this area was occupied by armenia, and they kind of lost the sense of where borders go, and after the war, azerbaijan proposed to start the process of delimitation and demarcation. and after that, it will be clear
on which line exactly armenians and azerbaijani troops should stay. unfortunately, so far, we have not received the response that, you know, the armenian side is ready. what we hear is that we should be withdrawing our troops, but you know, for 30 years, azerbaijan was appealing to the international community that its territorial integrity should be restored, and we have the united nations security council resolutions adopted in 1993, which reaffirmed azerbaijan over nagorno-karabakh and all our regions outside, which was occupied. i think we should move towards peace, and, i mean, this is not an easy process, but the first step is the limitation and demarcation of the border. dareen: right. okay. so does this step that the armenians are asking the russians to deploy along the border, does it forward the
prospects of peace? >> yeah, well, first of all, again, we should mention that the russians are already guarding the armenian border with turkey and iran now. it's kind of the third border with azerbaijan. the armenian can invite russians. it's very sovereign territory. but we believe that first should be the limitation, because where russians exactly will stay, you know, we are not in favor of getting some other foreign troops. i mean, we already have russian peacekeepers in nagorno-karabakh, but on our border, we would like to guard our border ourselves, and we are capable of that. i think first, we should start the process of the limitation, and then russians can be deployed on the armenian side, if they want. and actually signal from moscow -- just let me finish -- that the latest signal from moscow,
they also urge for the limitation to start the limitation process, and they rendered assistance with that. dareen: okay, let's get the view from moscow. stanislav pritchin, farid was just mentioning, and rightly so, that there are already some 2000 russian peacekeepers who are stationed in the area, and this was after the november ceasefire agreement that took place. so, what will russia get in return this time around? what is the russian strategy? >> so, the russian strategy, from the beginning of the conflict, was to try to keep peace in the regions in the early 1990's, russia played the major role as a mediator within the minsk group of the osce, on the trilateral level, and after the second nagorno-karabakh war, when the agreement of the peace was signed, among leaders of two countries, with the participation of vladimir putin, the main strategy was to stop
the war and try to keep the peace in the region. and today, yeah, we can see that unfortunately, this postpones the question of the limitation, the border between armenia and azerbaijan, which was under control during the last 30 years -- now the most the hottest and unfortunately the most problematic issue among all questions, which sites trying to resolve now to implement the agreement of the peace. and yeah, the question of sending russian bodyguards is an option, but i fully agree with dr. farid, that it's not clear how to send russian troops to the border, where this border exactly is, but additionally,
it's impossible to start the process of the limitation when the troops of both sides stand in front of each other with the heavy equipment and with a lot of small clashes, which now and then are leading to the real clashes, with using this weaponry. dareen: right, but stanislav, the end game here for the russians, i mean, do you think the russians are looking to stay? >> it will depend on the process of implementation. all aspects of the peace treaty. because if the question of integration and status of nagorno-karabakh will be decided by the next four years, by the end of the first period of russian deployment there,
russia, with the agreement of azerbaijan and armenia, will withdraw its troops from nagorno-karabakh. but there are several -- i assume it will be quite problematic to achieve such results in such a short period of time, after 30 years of full-fledged conflict between armenia and azerbaijan. dareen: right. richard, russia is allied with armenia, but it also has good relations with azerbaijan. is there a risk however that russia could be seen as intervening on the side of armenia, and this could undermine its credibility? as one of the chairs of the minsk group? >> i don't think so, because on the one hand, it's both much more basic and simple, but also complicated, in terms of the paradox. russia, through a unilateral military deployment of peacekeepers in november, was able to stop the fighting.
and even the west, even washington and brussels agree that it is this russian deployment that represents an accidental shared interest in post-war stability. and, in many ways, pressure is mounting against azerbaijan, which is still an open defiance of the moscow brokered ceasefire. and it's not just the border dispute. it's prisoners of war in azerbaijani captivity that have yet to be returned to armenia, making it much more of a state of war. but i am optimistic over the longer term, because in many ways, there is no military solution going forward. the return to diplomacy and moreover. -- the return to diplomacy. and moreover, armenia just accomplished yet another free and fair election, giving a rare degree of legitimacy to a democratically elected government in armenia that has the statesmanship and political will to make this ceasefire into
a lasting peace agreement, hopefully. dareen: right. farid, the minsk group released a statement in which the co-chairs said this, they reiterated the need for a negotiated comprehensive and sustainable settlement to all the issues. do you think that the minsk group established of course by the osce and chaired by russia, france, as well as the united states, could still be the relevant platform to solve the outstanding issues? >> you see, we have a new situation in the south -- after the war a lot of last year, and, you know, minsk group co-chairs, they elaborated so-called madrid principles for the peaceful resolution of the conflict, which by the way, stipulated the withdrawal of troops from azerbaijan regions outside of former nagorno-karabakh. unfortunately, the principle was not implemented, and the armenian government abundant -- government abandoned the
principles in the spring 2020. now we have a completely new situation. azerbaijan managed to liberate its occupied territories, and i think the if the minsk group should -- would like to be relevant, it should come come up with the new proposals, and these new proposals, i think, should reflect the reality. not even the reality, but the principles of international law, the basic principles of international law. i think the future of the region lies in the territorial integrity of both states. of all three states. basically georgia, azerbaijan, and armenia. but here, we're speaking about two states, armenia and azerbaijan. and of course, it's hard to imagine now, but in the future, it's about the original cooperation. about some sort of relationship. so far, unfortunately, minsk group co-chairs would like to revive the old, you know, sort
of status, the question of the status, which is now irrelevant after the war and after 26 or almost 27 years of unsuccessful negotiations. so they should come with the new ideas. dareen: right. and can you just elaborate briefly on what new ideas would -- ideas those would be. you talk about new proposals, like what? >> yeah, number one, territorial integrity of azerbaijan and armenia. that means sovereignty, reconfirmed sovereignty of azerbaijan over nagorno-karabakh, as it was stipulated in the united nations security resolutions and charter. -- and u.n. charter. the second is the opening of the communication lines, as stipulated by the trilateral agreements between armenia and azerbaijan, brokered by russia. we have two documents, a declaration dated november 10th
and an agreement signed in moscow on january 11th. and of course, the overall -- the original cooperation is based again on a number of values, a set of values, you know, like mutual respect for borders, some sort of trade, but again, this is, i would say, free directions, the security and territorial integrity, the communication lines, and economic cooperation. dareen: okay, stanislav, you would you agree with that, stanislav? is that something that you agree with? the new proposal that are put forward by farid? and also, do you think that the minsk group is still relevant enough to solve this decades-long conflict? >> of course, the minsk group unfortunately didn't play an active role during the, for example, for april, short war, in 2016, during the second karabakh war, the minsk group also was not the player which played the real important role
for resolving this conflict. and now, yeah, we see some activities of this organization. and somehow, yeah, it might help in the future to promote some ideas, for example, trust building steps to each other, because, of course, russia is trying to do it within the trilateral government's commission, in order to implement the economical parts of the treaty, of the ceasefire, but of course, on the ground, there is a need of steps to each other between societies. and here, of course, taking into account a huge experience of western countries in this here, it might be quite effective,
additional help, and work towards the final peace treaty between armenia and azerbaijan. dareen: richard, both sides obviously accuse each other of breaking that russian-backed ceasefire. the flare-ups are not new. they've been going on for decades. but what has happened in the last few days to trigger this particular confrontation? >> well, actually, we have two separate conflicts, the war for nagorno-karabakh, which was initiated by azerbaijan, with turkish support, that was last year, but since may, consistently, we see an incursion by azerbaijani military forces into the republic of armenia, which has little to do with the nagorno-karabakh conflict. but a reasonable way forward is actually a return to the soviet borders, and the beginning of at least trilateral negotiations over border demarcation, similar to a precedent that is working.
there is a trilateral working group on regional trade and transport that can be replicated, where a legal institutional foundation for border demarcation can serve as the first step in a return to diplomacy. and again, the danger here is renewed hostilities, in terms of escalation and expansion. the only way out of this dilemma is a return to negotiations. dareen: do you have any concerns, richard, that what's been happening over the past few days can turn into another full-blown military confrontation? >> well, unfortunately, yes, because not only does it constitute and contribute to a state of war, but it makes this cycle of revenge and retribution very difficult to challenge. dareen: farid, is the political establishment in azerbaijan right now willing to compromise? is there political will to
compromise? or is there simply too much at stake for the azerbaijanis to do so? >> you know, the political establishment, not only , but -- not only the political establishment, whole public was speaking about peace, about the restoration of azerbaijan's territorial integrity for decades. unfortunately, we have not heard the proper feedback from the people and from the countries which were involved in the peace process. so we're speaking now about the need to respect -- the need for the territorial integrity of azerbaijan. azerbaijan is not interested in further escalation. we need peace. we need to restore totally devastated areas. infrastructure, mosques, cultural heritage. i mean, for 27 years, everything was pillaged and destroyed. now, the international journalist, the media representative has a chance to
to see -- have a chance to see what's happened with the occupied territories of azerbaijan. we need peace more than anything else. but peace should come, as i said, with the respect for territorial integrity of azerbaijan. this is what both the political establishment and the wider public wants in azerbaijan. dareen: both sides, as we're hearing and discussing, accuse each other of, you know, separate incursions into each other's territory. how fragile is the ceasefire? how would you describe it? >> from russia, from moscow, it looks like both tides have rights to accuse each other, because on the one hand, if we speak about may, yeah, probably on the border, the more active player was azerbaijan. and it was obviously because there was substance of progress in negotiations on a trilateral basis, and because of parliamentary campaign in
armenia. any negotiations almost stopped in such circumstances. azerbaijan needed to have some progress and try to affect or to [indiscernible] its partner through sending troops on the border. after the victory of nicole p. and his party on the 20th of june, we could see the opposite situation, when armenia started to create more pressure on azerbaijan. and the source of the crisis. especially, it was mentioned after the visit of, for example, the representative from the european union. some renegotiations with france and the united states, which
sent clear signals to paschinand that they are ready to support its position. and of course, this is a problem, because any clashes, any violations against the agreement from november last year, this is a serious risk for the process of negotiations. and each such clash influence on the duration of their negotiation process, it's violating the atmosphere of negotiations. unfortunately, yes, each new clash, it's a new risk for their final negotiations on the peace between armenia and azerbaijan. dareen: richard, for the prime minister, how is this playing out domestically for him? because he came to power, really, as a revolutionary. that's how he had campaigned. so is this the biggest test of his political career?
>> well, yes, but it's a test he's already passed by winning re-election in a very widely hailed free and fair election. the real challenge here for a beleaguered embattled democratic leadership in armenia is the interlocutor, the azerbaijani side has been ruled and governed by a father and son for over a quarter of a century. so i do think there is a discrepancy here, and a contradiction. at the same time, armenia is in a state of war, and whether it's the prisoners still in azerbaijani captivity, or the presence of azerbaijani military forces on armenian territory, i do expect the situation, frankly, to get much worse before it gets better. dareen: okay, we'll have to leave it there. thank you so much for speaking to us, richard giragosian, stanislav pritchin, and farid shafiyev, thanks so much. thanks for watching. you can see the program again anytime by visiting our website, aljazeera.com. for further discussion, you can go to our facebook page. that's facebook.com/ajinsidestory.
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