YEREVAN — There has been a much higher probability of war in Nagorno-Karabakh lately, Alexander Skakov, Work Group Coordinator, Caucasus and Central Asia. RF Institute of Oriental Studies, told NEWS.am. Evidence thereof is a number of factors, including Azerbaijan’s incessant militant rhetoric and rapidly increasing military budget.
“If Baku were sure hostilities would succeed, they would have unleashed war,” the expert said. He pointed out that Baku is rather afraid of third forces’ interference in the conflict. “If Azerbaijan were sure no one – including Russia and even Armenia – would interfere in the conflict, they would attack,” Skakov said.
Since Armenia has not so far recognized Nagorno-Karabakh, Armenia’s interference in an Azerbaijani-Nagorno-Karabakh conflict will be viewed as aggression against Azerbaijan in the context of international legal norms. Recognition of Nagorno-Karabakh by Armenia would be a kind of guarantee in case of hostilities by Azerbaijan, the expert said.
As to whether such a step by Armenia would mean thwarting the peace process within the OSCE Minsk Group, Skakov said: “It would certainly be a blow. But what would be the target? The simulated talks – and no other definition for that. On the other hand, if Armenia recognizes independent Nagorno-Karabakh, it will have the right to ‘defend it’,” the expert said.
However, no one will allow hostilities to last for more than ten days. During this period Azerbaijan will at best be able to establish control over some front positions.
As regards RF President Dmitry Medvedev’s statement that the sides might reach an agreement before the OSCE Summit in Astana on Dec. 2, the expert said that two things are likely meant: a “road map” and signing of one more framework advisory agreement. A “road map” is unrealistic. As regards an agreement, let one more agreement be signed. “The sides’ positions are so different that no real progress should be expected,” the Russian expert said.
According to the expert, the following should be taken into account: “There will be war sooner or later, the status quo will be upset and all the sides, including Azerbaijan, will suffer.”

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