‘There Needs to Be a Discussion of the Return of the Territories Surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh, but There also Needs to Be an Honest, Frank Discussion of the Status of Nagorno-Karabakh’
YEREVAN (Armenian Weekly)— United States co-chair of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group Ambassador James Warlick said he believes that all elements of a comprehensive settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) conflict need to be a part of the ongoing discussion, during a press conference at the U.S. Embassy in Yerevan on October 25.
“There needs to be a discussion of the return of the territories surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh, but there also needs to be an honest, frank discussion of the status of Nagorno-Karabakh. And there are other issues here as well. We need to talk about the return of refugees and internally displaced persons; we should talk honestly about what an international peacekeeping force would look like and what its mandate should be; discussion of the corridor. These all make up the elements of a comprehensive settlement,” Warlick said at the press conference.
Warlick was in Yerevan on Tuesday along with his Russian and French Minsk Group counterparts for meetings with the Armenian authorities after traveling to Baku and Stepanakert.
During his time in Baku, Warlick welcomed Azerbaijani President llham Aliyev’s statement which ruled out a status for Nagorno-Karabakh higher than an autonomous republic within Azerbaijan, reported RFE/RL’s Armenian service azatutyun.am.
“Azerbaijan’s leadership had better stop engaging in self-deception and misleading the Azerbaijani society,” Armenian Foreign Ministry spokesman Tigran Balayan said in written comments to azatutyun.am on October 18, following Aliyev’s statement. “The Azerbaijani leader already publicly acknowledged a week ago the real content of [Karabakh peace] negotiations when he said that Baku is being urged to recognize Nagorno-Karabakh’s independence.”
“President Aliyev opened up a discussion on the issue of status for Nagorno-Karabakh. This is something that we should all welcome—we should have a frank discussion about the status of Nagorno-Karabakh. Positions may not line up between the parties, but it’s important to put these issues on the table and in public—For consideration by the people of Armenia and Azerbaijan, and by the population in Nagorno-Karabakh itself,” Warlick added during his Yerevan press conference.