Adding Another Seat to the Table

As I discussed earlier on the Baker rules regarding the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, I feel that all sides should be included in the negotiating table. This means Artsakh should be included and Armenia should not have to act as a proxy for the interests of Artsakh. Fortunately, the chairs of the Minsk Group have said that Artsakh could join “sometime in the future.”

The Baker rules were setup to achieve a form of equality: Armenia and Azerbaijan were principal negotiators while the Armenian population and the Azeri population of Nagorno-Karabakh were secondary. Adding Artsakh to the table should not be viewed as attempting to disrupt that balance. If there is a generally accepted representative of the Azeri IDP population, that organization should be given a seat as well. The point is not to impose a sort of absolute equality on the negotiators (which can promote absolutism and harm negotiations) but to bring all relevant parties to the table.

The Azeri IDP population and Artsakh have some differing perspectives than their “host” state, which could catalyst new discussions and lead to a break through. I don’t mean Armenia is willing to throw Artsakh under the bus for a lucrative deal, Armenian Presidents have learned not to do that, but as two “separate” nations, they must have some different interests. A wedge issue could cause Armenia or Artsakh (and Azerbaijan and the Azeri IDP population if the IDP population is politically strong enough) to be less absolutist in their negotiating demands and actually lead to constructive negotiation. A possible wedge issue is the opening of the Turkish border with Armenia. Of course, with the Armenia President coming from Artsakh, it’s unlikely he would allow any issue to publically become a wedge.

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