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A new war in the South Caucasus will become a disaster for all: former US Ambassador to Armenia

Former US Ambassador to Armenia John Evans. Photo: aravot. am

A new war in the South Caucasus will become a disaster for all, so, it must be prevented. The OSCE Minsk Group is the best platform for peace talks on Nagorno-Karabakh. Only a blind will not see that in Nagorno-Karabakh there is always a real possibility of a new war, former US Ambassador to Armenia John Evans said in an online interview to Armenian and regional mass media.

Evans was dismissed in 2006 following his speech in California, when he termed the Armenian massacres in the Ottoman Empire as a genocide.

During the interview, Evans opined on most of Armenia’s urgent problems, reports Dalma News.

Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

For many years, the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group have closely cooperated to find a fair and long-lasting solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh problem. Evans sees no better alternative to this format but notes that the success of the Minsk Group process depends not so much on the mediators as on the conflicting parties.

Many observers are disappointed that the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process is so slow but, according to Evans, diplomacy is always a long process. Once the key elements are agree on, the talks may start moving much faster. Both parties will have to make concessions and neither of them will get all it wants. According to Evans, at some stage, the Nagorno-Karabakh authorities must be involved in the peace talks.

Evans hopes that both parties and Azerbaijan, in particular, will be restraint. Any incident may grow into a new war with even more devastating consequences than in the 1990s. A new war in the South Caucasus will become a disaster for all. So, the Minsk Group talks must be continued.

Evans is worried about the growing number of incidents on the border, especially, on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border (in Tavush and Nakhichevan).

Evans advises the parties to stop lobbying their interests in Strasbourg or Vienna but to take more specific measures to solve their problems.

Corruption

According to Evans, corruption is present everywhere but in Armenia there is also lack of transparency and justice. Evans would like to see more US and other foreign investments in Armenia but is sorry to note that corruption is one of the factors that keep investors away from Armenia.

Armenian-Turkish relations

Evans sees very few chances for Armenia and Turkey to improve their relations. The key reason why the Armenian-Turkish protocols failed was that their authors wanted too much and at once. Evans suggests just one step for the beginning – to restore diplomatic relations.

Protests in Yerevan

Some Russian and Ukrainian mass media tried to put a “Maidan” label on the protests against electric power prices in Yerevan. But the protesters managed to retort these charges.

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