"Clearly the Minsk Group led negotiations are in trouble, the high hopes that existed before the Kazan meeting in summer 2011 have been dashed, and violations of the cease fire regime are on the increase. There is a real threat that the conflict will spin out of control as Armenian and Azerbaijan get involved in a tit-for-tat exchange of fire. Once this occurs it will be very difficult for one side or the other to pull back from the brink or to win a quick war", said Dr. Sabine Freizer, Director of the Europe Program of International Crisis Group commenting to Turan news agency regarding the recent visit of the US State Secretary Hillary Clinton.
"It is highly positive that Hilary Clinton brought up the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in all three countries to the South Caucasus that she visited during her recent tour. Coming right after a series of clashes between Armenian and Azerbaijan forces, that brought 3 deaths on the Armenian side, and possibly five on the Azerbaijani one, raising the conflict is extremely important", - said Freizer. Hilary Clinton, in Baku, said: "I've pledged that to both presidents - to help facilitate a resolution and the end of the deaths of anyone around this tragic situation." This is the first time that the Secretary of State has been so publicly explicit about her intention to get involved. It is a highly positive statement, Freizer said.
"Since Fall 2008 Russia, and especially former President Medvedev, has been taking the lead in the negotiations process. Today after the Russian elections, and the failure by Russia to secure a deal, it is essential that the US, Russia and the EU cooperate on mediating a solution. The OSCE Minsk Group provides that format but it requires an engagement by all three co-chairs at the highest level to be most effective. I hope that the US will now be playing a more prominent role", noted the expert.
"Ultimately Azerbaijan and Armenian need to want a peace deal, the agreement cannot be imposed by the US, EU and Russia. The deaths of the last days should not be a prelude of things to come; yet they clearly show that any resumption of armed conflict will bring significant and probably equitable casualties on both sides. Nobody can ride into this conflict and hope to win quickly and easily. If the fighting re-starts it is likely to be drawn out over time and territory. Even Georgia feels that in a war situation it will be the first to lose out. It's an opportune time to work amongst neighbors and big powers to find a way to a peace settlement. Withdrawal from one or two occupied territories and return of IDPs could be a start to build on", - thinks Sabine Freizer.
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