YEREVAN (Armenpress) — New military operations in the Nagorno Karabakh conflict zone won’t be a surprise for the sides: both sides are well protected after the April War, and in case of military operations a greater escalation will happen this time, British expert on Caucasian affairs Thomas De Waal told reporters.

“2016 was a very dangerous year. There is still probability of escalation, in any case this year can be more dangerous in terms of engaging new armaments. Therefore, once again we underscore that there is no alternative for diplomacy”, Thomas De Waal said.

According to him, the sufficient involvement of international diplomacy is important. In his view, a serious actor is necessary, who will be committed in implementing this work. He underscores that today the main issue is strengthening the OSCE Minsk format.

“It is necessary to review the agreements reached after the April War, if we don’t want the conflict to re-start. It isn’t only Russia that must solve the issue, the trilateral format is very important for the US, France. This is an opportunity for Moscow and Washington to effectively cooperate”, he said.

Thomas De Waal mentioned that Azerbaijan isn’t open in terms of presenting public opinions. Official opinions are mainly visible. According to him, it is obvious that in Azerbaijan, people talk with their friends and family that they don’t want their sons to get killed.

“The society must understand that political negotiations are the best tool on the path of settling the conflict. It is obvious that Karabakh will eventually have a status. When I speak about sovereignty, I mean a status of independence or confederation, along with Azerbaijan. But I don’t speak about a part of Azerbaijan, I don’t think we will see Nagorno Karabakh as a part of Azerbaijan in the future. I don’t think that will happen, let me clearly mention it”, he said.

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