"It's not clear whether Medvedev twisted Ilham Aliyev's arm to get him to sign the declaration, or whether Ilham's advisers pointed out to him that he could score brownie points by doing so both with Russia and with the United States given that the last thing the U.S. wants, or the EU for that matter, is another war in the South Caucasus.
"It also makes Ilham look good -- a responsible mature statesman -- by contrast with Saakashvili, whom Ilham reportedly loathes. And strictly speaking the declaration affirms a shared belief that the Minsk Group is the only workable format for reaching a solution.
"In other words, Medvedev wasn't acting to subvert or circumvent the Minsk Group in any way, but simply taking advantage of a window of opportunity to pose as a peace-broker. The declaration doesn't enumerate or contradict the precise provisions of the draft peace deal now on the table, it simply narrows the existing loopholes."
-- Luke Allnutt