During Key West Talks
For the Resolution of the Karabakh Conflict

Trans-Caspian Project
Whirligig is Spinning: A Meeting in Konch Came to Nothing

by Albert Freedman

April 11, 2001

The last, sixteenth, negotiations between the presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia on the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement held in the U.S. in Florida, have not led to any concrete agreements. American diplomats, however, who have sponsored the Armenian-Azerbaijani summit, are satisfied with the results of the meeting, which they believe consist in "the strengthening of the mutual tendency to find a peaceful solution of the conflict".

The majority of experts are convinced that such a position of the United States rides on the fact that the Americans have attained their major object - that is strengthening their impact on in the process of the Karabakh settling, which has been recently influenced actively by France and Russia.

According to the information received from Key West (South Florida), the international mediators, as well as the presidents of Armenia and the Azerbaijan themselves, have agreed to proceed with the negotiations. The next round of the Karabakh negotiations will be held in Geneva. In the beginning of June a large group of American, Russian and French experts will arrive there along with Heidar Aliev and Robert Kocharyan, to present a new, already the fourth plan of the conflict settlement, based on the results of the Florida meeting.

The "negotiations whirligig" will start another go, most likely not the last, in the course of which each side will play just another round of "its own game", which does not correspond at all with the general logic of achieving consensus. The majority of political analysts both in Azerbaijan and Armenia adhere to such an opinion. Experts in Baku and Yerevan consider the establishment of lasting peace in Karabakh region highly unlikely today, just as it was two or three years ago.

It is obvious that the U.S. State Department, whose efforts to organize a "symbol-rich" meeting of the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents have not led to making peace, has to resign to this circumstance. In Key West, which is, by the way, located on the territory of the self-proclaimed republic of Konch, not a single document has been signed, while Aliev and Kocharyan, who were for a week staying in the historical residence of President Harry Truman, were left tete-a-tete only for twenty minutes. At the same time, their weekly proceedings in Florida have not remain without reward. The U.S. president George Bush has after all agreed to receive the eminent guests from Azerbaijan and Armenia. Which passes for a "great victory" of the Azerbaijani and Armenian diplomacy.

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