Was Heydar Aliyev Ready to Make Territorial Concessions in Karabakh?

Previous to the famous meeting in Key West, the leaders of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh were very close to settling the issue, said Vyacheslav Trubnikov.

The former President of Azerbaijan, Heydar Aliyev, was ready to resort to territorial concessions. This sensational revelation about the negotiation process for reconciliation on Karabakh was made by the former head of the Russian Federation’s Foreign Intelligence Service, former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, General Vyacheslav Trubnikov, who, in 2000-2004 was also the Russian co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group.

In an interview with the news agency Baltnews, Trubnikov announced that previous to the famous meeting in Key West, the leaders of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh were very close to settling the issue.

“Over the course of four years I was a participant in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Minsk Group, which worked to resolve the issues of Transnistria and Nagorno-Karabakh. This was very difficult. But regarding Karabakh I was in a very positive situation. The late Heydar Aliyev and Robert Kocharyan (ex-president of Armenia – ed.), plus the leadership of Nagorno-Karabakh, had very much the right attitude on everything,” said Vyacheslav Trubnikov.

The former Russian co-chair explained that, about 15 years ago, the sides in the Karabakh conflict worked out a variant for resolving the issue, but this variant fell apart because of resistance from Aliyev’s circle.

“In April of 2000, we met in Key West, Florida. We found a formula: for money from the World Monetary Fund, we could provide a corridor from Azerbaijan to the south, and from Armenia to Stepanakert. But Heydar Aliyev… from the beginning, he didn’t confide in anyone, and when he told his close colleagues, they bristled: “What, we’re going to give away chunks of our territory?” explained Trubnikov.

The former deputy head of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs noted that, according to the plan, CIS peacekeepers were to be sent into the conflict zone after peace had been achieved. All of them should have been “friendlies”, said the ex-co-chair of the Minsk Group.

In one article, while recalling those same years, the former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia, Vartan Oskanian wrote: “Aliyev Senior had a serious desire to relieve his son of the Karabakh problem and to hand over to him a country that would been free from the threat of a possible war. In a complex resolution of this sort, Aliyev saw a path to creating an uninhibited connection with Nakhichevan in exchange for ceding Nagorno-Karabakh, with the Lachin corridor, to Armenia.”

“Having consented to this in Key West, President Aliyev returned to Baku and rejected this agreement. The process reached an impasse”, said Vartan Oskanian, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia.

***

This article was originally published in Russian on Radio Azadliq.

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