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Old Conflict, New Armenia: The View from Baku
Old Conflict, New Armenia: The View from Baku
Briefing 60 / Europe & Central Asia

Bosna i Hercegovina: Vrijeme je da Evropa djeluje

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Pregled

Nakon godina oklijevanja, zemlje članice Evropske unije (EU) bi trebale učiniti 2011. godinom u kojoj će se vodeća međunarodna uloga u Bosni i Hercegovini prenijeti sa Ureda visokog predstavnika (OHR) na ojačanu EU delegaciju. BiH je prerasla OHR koji je uspostavljen 1995. nakon Dejtonskog mirovnog sporazuma i stvaranja Savjeta za implementaciju mira (PIC). Danas ovoj zemlji treba tehnička asistencija i političko vođstvo EU da bi postala kredibilan kandidat za članstvo u EU, a ne međunarodni nadzornik koji donosi zakone i održava bezbjednost. Zemlje članice bi trebale hitno napraviti sveobuhvatan plan da ojačaju prisustvo EU uključujući predstavništvo pod rukovodstvom jakog ambasadora, i ojačaju perspektivu članstva te izgrade lokalni kredibilitet. Ukoliko ne dođe do prijetnje miru, OHR bi se trebao povući iz domaćih političkih dešavanja i fokusirati se na reviziju prošlih odluka.

Zemlje članice bi trebale pojačati prisustvo EU dok BiH političke partije pokušavaju da formiraju entitetske i državne vlade više od tri mjeseca nakon Opštih izbora 3. oktobra 2010. Reforma je hitno potrebna kako bi se izbjegla politička i ekonomska kriza, ali OHR više nije organizacija koja može nagovoriti bošnjačke, hrvatske i srpske lidere na promjene. Perspektiva članstva u EU može bolje stimulirati stvaranje zajedničke vizije budućnosti BiH među njenim liderima i podržati ključne reforme potrebne za poboljšanje institucionalne efikasnosti. „Zamorenost proširivanjem“ i kriza Eura ne bi smjeli dozvoliti skepticima među zemljama članicama da potkopaju uspjeh Evrope u stvaranju stabilnosti na zapadnom Balkanu, što predstavlja veliki test sposobnosti nove Evropske Službe za vanjske poslove (EEAS) u pružanju efektivnije zajedničke vanjske i bezbjedonosne politike.

PIC je najavio svoju spremnost da zatvori OHR prije pet godina, ali ova mogućnost sada izgleda udaljena. Stalna pomjeranja rokova su 2008. ustupila mjesto paketu od pet ciljeva i dva uslova („pet plus dva“) – od kojih je BiH ispunila tri cilja i jedan uslov. Pošto su se preostala dva cilja – podjela državne i vojne imovine – oduprla svim pokušajima političkih rješenja, vjerovatno je da će OHR ostati otvoren tokom 2011. ako ne i duže. Prije nego predaju palicu, nekoliko članica PICa koje nisu zemlje EU također žele da vide jače dokaze vođstva od strane Brisela, posebno u vidu alociranja većih resursa.

Rješenje pitanja imovine ima malo uticaja na održivost države ali je postalo simbol mogućnosti lidera BiH da sami upravljaju zemljom. Ovaj simbol ne bi trebao zamagliti stvarnu situaciju: BiH lideri upravljaju svojim poslovima bez bitnije vanjske pomoći. Dok su PIC i BiH elite raspravljale o sudbini OHRa, veći dio tranzicije ka lokalnoj odgovornosti se već neprimjetno desio. Državne institucije u potpunosti koriste imovinu koja im treba bez obzira na nedostatak jasnog imovinskog statusa. Narodna skupština Republike Srpske u kojoj dominiraju srpski delegati je donijela svoj zakon o imovini u 2010., koji je sada na razmatranju pred Ustavnim sudom BiH. Oružane snage BiH imaju nesmetan pristup svim vojnim objektima i imovini. Vlasništvo će se prije ili kasnije morati uspostaviti kako bi se omogućile prodaja i investicije ali to nije hitno.

Politička scena se također promijenila. Većina bošnjaka su glasali za umjerene partije na Izborima 2010, dok su oni koji su se u kampanjama fokusirali na stare teze odbrane države od srpskog izazova žestoko poraženi. U RS, vladajuća SNSD partija je sprovela nacionalističku kampanju ali je ostvarila slabiji rezultat od onog kom su se nadali. Mala hrvatska populacija je glasala za svoje nacionalne partije. Natezanja oko uspostave državne vlade i njenog programa su se nastavila i u 2011., kada se očekuje da će se vlasti na državnim i entitetskim nivoima – posebno u RSu – suočiti sa ozbiljnim budžetskim deficitima, i da globalna ekonomska kriza sa zakašnjenjem pogodi BiH. Kao rezultat takve situacije lokalni lideri imaju ograničen prostor za nepopustljivost. Sve vodeće partije sada barem deklarativno podržavaju ključne reforme i ubrzavanje EU integracija; ni jedna od njih ne računa ozbiljno da će im OHR intervencije pomoći kod teških odluka koje se traže.

Važne članice PICa kao što su SAD, Velika Britanija i Turska, zajedno sa nekim domaćim elitama, brinu da BiH političari nisu spremni da samostalno upravljaju (mada je suverenoj BiH povjereno mjesto u Savjetu bezbjednosti UNa) i da neće biti u stanju da formiraju funkcionalnu koalicijsku vladu, da će RS pokušati otcjepljenje i da će to rezultirati nasiljem. Oni se plaše da će zatvaranje OHRa pokrenuti cijepanje zemlje, ili barem ukloniti prepreku da se krene u tomn pravcu. Ali OHR više nije garant bezbjednosti kakav je nekad bio. U slučaju da dođe do prijetnje teritorijanom integritetu i uz savjete od strane njihovih predstavnika na terenu, EU, SAD i ostali u međunarodnoj zajednici mogu prikupiti političku volju i vojna sredstva da reaguju bez obzira da li je OHR prisutan ili ne; BiH političari koji djeluju neodgovorno bi bili podložni istim diplomatskim i ostalim međunarodnim mehanizmima uključujući sankcije ili u ekstremnom slučaju upotrebu sile, kao i bilo koji drugi nacionalni lideri.U međuvremenu prisustvo OHRa daje BiH liderima izgovor da prebace odgovornost za svoje propuste na međunarodnu zajednicu.

2011. može biti ključna godina tokom koje bi se postepeno uloga EU pojačala a OHRa smanjila. Za efektivnu nježnu tranziciju zemlje članice EU i ključni igrači u Briselu – prevashodno Visoki predstavnik EU za vanjsku politiku i Podpredsjednik za bezbjedonosne politike Evropske komisije (Ketrin Ešton) i Evropska komisija – bi trebali napraviti nekoliko paralelnih koraka:

  1. Ešton treba imenovati, bez daljeg produžavanja onog što je već šestomjesečno odgađanje, jakog ambasadora da vodi EU delegaciju (formalni naziv za njihovo predstavništvo) u Sarajevu, po mogućnosti bivšeg visokog zvaničnika zemlje članice sa dobrim EU iskustvom, a posebno u pitanjima proširenja;
  2. bitno pojačati kapacitet političke sekcije Delegacije da savjetuje ambasadora o dešavanjima u BiH, da komunicira sa višim partijskim i vladinim zvaničnicima o usklađivanju legalnih i institucionalnih struktura sa normama EU i da koordinira doprinose ostalih EU igrača;
  3. kreirati ili ojačati pravnu, komunikacijsku, ekonomsku i bezjedonosnu sekciju delegacije, oslanjajući se na ostalo EU osoblje koje je već u BiH i jačanje terenskog ureda u Banjaluci; jačanje budžeta Delegacije u skladu sa njenim novim odgovornostima; i
  4. pojačati finansiranje u okviru Instrumenta za predpristupnu pomoć (IPA) do nivoa uporedivih sa onima u susjednim zemljama i konzistetnim sa nevadenim ciljem EU da preuzme vodeću ulogu u BiH.

Iako je EU dugo težila da preuzme vođstvo nad međunarodnim naporima zemlje članice i ostali igrači iz Brisela još uvijek moraju da razriješe različite stavove oko tempiranja, strategije, ljudskih i finansijskih resursa tog pojačanog prisustva i misije. Ako to ne uspiju početkom 2011. – počevši sa sveobuhvatnom diskusijom među ministrima vanjskih poslova na sastanku Vijeća vanjskoh poslova 31. januara – i ako BiH zvaničnici ne uspiju podržati proces poduzimanjem iskrenog napora u pravcu EU integracija, primopredaja može biti loše izvedena. BiH bi u tom slučaju bila ostavljena sa najgorim od oba pristupa: sa rivalstvom između oslabljenog OHRa i sa EU Delegacijom koja bi bezuspješno pokušavala da se nametne.

Da bi se to izbjeglo, PIC bi trebao:

  • promijeniti fokus OHRa na njegov nezavršeni posao, posebno vezano za slučajeve BiH zvaničnika kojima je zabranjen rad u javnim službama, istovremeno ograničavajući OHRovo korištenje izvršnih ovlasti samo na istinske kritične situacije;
     
  • podržati vodeću ulogu EU u BiH pristajući na transfer funkcije Specijalnog predstavnika EU (EUSR) koji trenutno vrši dualnu funkciju Visokog predstavnika i njegovog osoblja u EU Delegaciju; i
     
  • nastaviti se zalagati za teritorijalni integritet i suverenitet BiH, podržavati izvršni mandat vojnih snaga EU (EUFOR) koje su preuzele madat u zemlji od NATOa, te održati Savjet bezbjednosti UNa upoznatim sa bilo kakvim prijetnjama Dejtonskom sporazumu iz 1995. i relevatnim rezolucijama Savjeta bezbjednosti.

Jednom oslobođen svojih veza sa OHRom, diplomatski tim bi trebao biti u stanju da se fokusira na posredovanje u političkom procesu i pomogne podijeljenim zajednicama u BiH da nađu zajednički glas koji je neophodan za odgovornu interakciju sa njihovim evropskim susjedima.

Sarajevo/Istanbul/Brisel, 11. januar 2011.

Azerbaijani people stage a protest against Armenia's occupation of Azerbaijan's territory Nagorno-Karabakh at the Mehsul stadium in Baku, Azerbaijan on 29 September 2018. Resul Rehimov/Anadolu Agency

Old Conflict, New Armenia: The View from Baku

The April 2018 “velvet revolution” in Armenia has brought new meetings and helped improve the dynamics of the three-decade-long conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. Much more needs to happen to reach peace, but Azerbaijan’s old scepticism is giving way to cautious hope in diplomacy.

A series of direct contacts between Azerbaijan and Armenia have brought hope to the two countries’ decades-long impasse over Nagorno-Karabakh, a conflict that began as the Soviet Union collapsed. But while these meetings, on the heels of a change in power in the Armenian capital, bring new dynamism, much has to be done before true progress is possible.

The Azerbaijani and Armenian leaders, Ilham Aliyev and Nikol Pashinyan, last met in person on 22 January 2019 at the World Economic Forum in Davos, their third meeting since the latter came to power in Yerevan last April. Their January discussion, held without mediators, came just six days after the two countries’ foreign ministers met in Paris, where they agreed to take concrete measures to prepare their populations for peace.

Thus far, these meetings’ most significant outcome is a September agreement to build a ceasefire control mechanism and a communications channel between state representatives. These two measures have calmed the Line of Contact, leading to the fewest combat casualties there since 2013. Along with Armenia’s political transformation, the reduced fighting has yielded optimism about the prospect of more meaningful talks to come.

Baku appears to believe that the peace process can now move forward even without the help of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group, created in 1992 to help resolve the conflict. In December, Aliyev gave the clearest signal to this effect, saying “2019 can be a breakthrough year”. His statement received little global attention but reverberated at home. But just what breakthroughs may be possible remains uncertain.

Expectations Great and Small 

For the government, the hopes of progress represent a break with the recent past. Clashes erupted in Nagorno-Karabakh in April 2016, marking a low point in relations between the two governments. Both before and after the exchange of fire, ruling elites in Azerbaijan felt that Pashinyan’s predecessor, former President and Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan, was negotiating in bad faith. Today, they seem to regard their Armenian interlocutors with newfound respect.

The government has matched its rhetoric with actions, making important personnel changes that seem to be laying the groundwork for direct talks with Armenia. Specifically, high-profile appointments in state agencies overseeing displaced persons show that Baku is taking that basket of issues more seriously. In April, Baku named a new chairman of its State Committee for Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons, Rovshan Rzayev, an outspoken advocate for meeting the needs of the displaced in education and housing. In December, it designated a capable career diplomat, Tural Ganjaliyev, as chairman of the Community of the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan – a government institution representing Azerbaijanis displaced from the former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast. Previously, the Azerbaijani leadership had not considered the Community a priority. Civil society leaders had criticised the Community for its poor public relations, at home and abroad, which allowed the voices of Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians to dominate the discourse. 

The Azerbaijani authorities hope that economic pragmatism will make Armenia amenable to considering Baku’s plan for a comprehensive peace agreement.

The move to strengthen the Community may also be a reaction to Pashinyan’s demand that Armenians from Nagorno-Karabakh – who run the de facto authority in the territory – be officially represented in negotiations. By putting a senior official in charge of the body, Azerbaijan is channelling the statement of the 1992 OSCE Council of Ministers meeting that Karabakh Azerbaijanis are “interested parties” in the conflict just as Karabakh Armenians are. If Armenia demands the de facto Nagorno-Karabakh authorities’ participation in negotiations, it appears, Azerbaijan will counter by insisting that Nagorno-Karabakh Azerbaijanis also have a seat at the table. But crucially, these actions imply expectations that the table will, in fact, exist. 

Much of the shift in sentiment is rooted in the change in leadership in Yerevan. Azerbaijani officials see good omens in the new Armenian government’s stated desire to introduce structural economic reforms and raise living standards. To boost its economy, they believe, Armenia would need to participate in regional economic projects. This is impossible as long as conflict persists. Not only is open trade with Azerbaijan precluded, but Turkey, which is central to the energy and transport networks that fuel the region, closed its borders with Armenia in 1993, after the UN Security Council adopted a resolution demanding the withdrawal of local Armenian forces from the Kelbajar district and other recently occupied areas of Azerbaijan. Baku refers to this state of affairs as the “self-isolation” of Armenia, and believes that the new government in Yerevan wants to end it.

The Azerbaijani authorities hope that economic pragmatism will make Armenia amenable to considering Baku’s plan for a comprehensive peace agreement – a step-by-step approach they call the “six D formula”: de-occupation, de-militarisation, demining, deployment, dialogue and development.

Amid the official optimism, some independent Azerbaijani experts have expressed doubts to Crisis Group researchers. They dismiss the recent spate of contacts as just one more round in two decades of on-and-off negotiations. As they see it, the discussions have failed to move beyond basic principles since 2007 – and there is no reason to think that they will now. They argue that the April 2016 clashes, which actually achieved some territorial gains for Baku, raised popular hopes in a military solution to the standoff.

Sceptics of the official optimism also argue that Armenia does not see its economic “self-isolation” through the same lens as do Azerbaijani authorities. Armenia has expressed readiness to open its borders with Turkey, but without pre-conditions tied to conflict resolution in Nagorno-Karabakh. Armenia’s economy, although limited by isolation, has not been destroyed by it, in part thanks to Russian support. This suggests that economic benefit alone may not be sufficient incentive for the Armenian side to compromise on its core concerns in Nagorno-Karabakh. As for the “six D formula”, authorities in Yerevan have never discussed such grand ideas.

Crisis Group research suggests that the dramatic changes in Armenia in 2018 and the Azerbaijani authorities’ positive spin have led to growing openness among the Azerbaijani public to a diplomatic solution.

Past attempts to find a solution sound a cautionary note. Most recently, the Lavrov plan-proposed by the Russian foreign minister to the Armenian and Azerbaijani sides in 2015 (and again after the 2016 April escalation as a peace proposal) – postulated the return of some lands to Azerbaijani control, return of Azerbaijani IDPs to their homes, and a peacekeeping mission to Nagorno-Karabakh. It would have left the status of Nagorno-Karabakh unresolved for the time being. In Azerbaijan, the plan was criticised by both independent experts and government officials as “minimalist” and “defeatist” because it would have recovered only five of seven Armenian-controlled territories for Azerbaijan and would bring Russian peacekeepers to the conflict zone. Armenia also strongly opposed the Lavrov plan, because it provided no clarity on the future legal status of Nagorno-Karabakh. These positions underline the maximalist goals both sides retain for any negotiation, and bode ill for slow, step-by-step processes. 

These challenges aside, Crisis Group research suggests that the dramatic changes in Armenia in 2018 and the Azerbaijani authorities’ positive spin have led to growing openness among the Azerbaijani public to a diplomatic solution. This feeling is particularly pronounced among IDPs, the people most affected as the conflict continues. But while public support may make it easier for Baku to come to the table, high public expectations combined with a history of maximalist positions can also constrain government options, particularly if negotiations prove arduous.

Hope or Fallacy

The Azerbaijani authorities should take care to manage public expectations of a process that, no matter what the parties’ intentions, lengthy and incremental. The key will be to reach intermediate understandings with the Armenian side that the government can present as tangible progress without exaggerating these achievements.

Already, local media in Azerbaijan misinterpreted the 16 January commitments of Elmar Mammadyarov and his Armenian counterpart to “prepare the population for peace”. That wording does not mean that the parties have already reached an agreement. The misperception stems in part from the fact that the U.S., French and Russian presidents used similar language at a summit in 2011, which seemed on the verge of a peace deal before talks failed. By recycling this formulation, Baku and Yerevan sent the message that peace once again was close at hand. As Rauf Mirgadirov, a well-known expert, said, “if the sides have not agreed to some elements of a peace agreement, then there is nothing to tell people. Ultimately, you are not preparing the population for anything’”. Should the great expectations – especially among IDPs – be dashed, the damage to public faith in diplomacy might be long-lasting.

In fact, the Azerbaijani leadership has not said how it plans to prepare the population for peace. Nagorno-Karabakh Azerbaijanis have expressed the view that such preparation should include contact between Karabakh Azerbaijanis and Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians. But the Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians have long rejected the notion of “intercommunity dialogues”.

The fact is that preparation of the public for peace implies preparation of the public for long negotiations and the potential for compromise. This includes both public debate and more transparency about what is happening at the negotiating table. More engagement of Azerbaijani and Armenian civil society groups alongside official negotiations could also be valuable to underscore the simple proposition that peace is possible with the other side, preferable to a military solution, and should involve some gains for Armenia as well. Moreover, given the likely long-time frame for talks, a symbolic, humanitarian gesture such as an exchange of detainees could help keep the momentum going. As one Azerbaijani official told Crisis Group: “Notwithstanding the population’s decreased trust in diplomatic negotiations, if they see a tangible result, even a minimal one, it could dramatically change their thinking about possibility of resolution via talks”.

Azerbaijan has begun taking necessary steps forward, such as the personnel changes noted above and the marked adjustments to government rhetoric. These tactical shifts, however, sidestep the elephant in the room: both parties must understand – and make sure the respective populations understand – that to succeed, a peace process will be painful and protracted and must at least begin as open-ended. 

This commentary is co-published with Italy’s Istituto per gli Studi di Politica Internazionale, which first published it here on 6 February 2019.