by Seymur Mammadov
We would like to present an exclusive interview by defence.az with the Army General, former director of the Foreign Intelligence Service of the Russian Federation (1996-2000), First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation (2000-2004) and Ambassador Plenipotentiary and Extraordinary of Russia to India (2004-2009), Vyacheslav Trubnikov.
- Mr. Trubnikov, should we expect serious headway in the negotiations process around Karabakh after the presidential elections in Russia and Azerbaijan?
- I believe the Nagorno-Karabakh problem is quite dangerous in such frozen, I would even say, hot state. This is why we should employ all means to find a way to resolve this conflict, of course through diplomatic means. The Armenian side should probably think rather hard in this regard.
I think, fundamentally the Armenian side should be the one to show initiative. It should make a compromise, not speak a language of pressure and not use the Azerbaijani territories under Armenian control as a lever of pressure on Azerbaijan. The sides should look for a compromise and ways to regulate this conflict.
When it comes to the Russian position, we are all for finding a way out of this situation, the sooner the better.
- Do you think the escalation of the Karabakh conflict is possible?
- You know, the West finds this conflict interesting exactly in the state it exists at the moment. As it is not fully frozen, there are still intermittent shootings much to my regret. As a former member of the OSCE Minsk group I was completely impartial both towards Azerbaijani and Armenian sides. Each year our group traveled to Baku through Yerevan and Khankendi and to Yerevan through Baku and Khankendi. We tried to do everything to bring the positions of the sides closer.
- Nowadays the OSCE Minsk group does not live up to the hopes of the Azerbaijani side. Is there a necessity to change the MG format?
- I find it hard to pass any judgment on this issue. The Minsk group was rather functional and efficient in the format I remember it in. I do not deal with this problem anymore. But I remember that period of time with pride, as we tried everything together and worked with full rapport – the American, Russian and French sides. This is very valuable. But at the moment the relations between the West and Russia, especially between Russia and the USA, are on such a low level that it is hard to speak of any constructive cooperation, even in such formats as the Minsk group. On one side the Americans do not want to speak to us, on the other the English speak of boycotting the World Football Championship. This only speaks of toxic relationship and unwillingness to communicate.
- By the way, the leaders of UK, France, Germany and the USA have issue a joint statement against Russia, blaming Kremlin for poisoning the former spy Sergei Skripal. How should Russia react to that?
- You know, if President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, decided to demonstrate a harsher position, this means the reactions will also be harsh. In any case, the fact that Americans, the English and the French have banded together against Russia, this shows their shortsighted position. The calculations that these provocative steps targeted personally against the administration of the RF, primarily against Putin, will isolate our leaders lack any grounds. Quite the contrary, this will lead to a consolidation around Putin and strengthening of his position. That is certain.