No Changes in Karabakh Peace Plan, Says Nalbandian

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–International mediators have made no changes in their proposed basic principles of a Nagorno-Karabakh settlement, Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian said on Monday, denying his Azerbaijani counterpart’s claims to the contrary.

The so-called Madrid principles were formally put forward by the mediators in November 2007 and are still being discussed by the conflicting parties.

Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov said after talks with Nalbandian last week that the U.S, Russian and French mediators have presented the conflicting parties with unspecified “certain changes” in the framework peace accord.

“Claims that the Madrid principles were amended do not correspond to reality. There is no such thing,” countered Nalbandian. He said the three co-chairs of the OSCE’s Minsk Group have only come up with “technical proposals on various issues, points included in the Madrid proposals.”

The co-chairs’ met Mammadyarov and Nalbandian on the sidelines of an annual OSCE meeting in Helsinki on December 4. The two ministers also held brief talks with Foreign Ministers Sergei Lavrov of Russia and Bernard Kouchner of France as well as U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Fried.

In a joint statement issued in the Finnish capital, Lavrov, Kouchner and Fried urged the parties to cut a framework agreement on Nagorno-Karabakh in the “coming months.”

Nalbandian’s remarks came during a joint press conference in Yerevan with the OSCE’s Secretary General, Marc Perrin de Brichambaut.

Discussing the Helsinki meetings, Perrin de Brichambaut referred to two documen’s adopted by the OSCE meeting, which he said are “targeted at the peaceful resolution” of the Karabakh conflict

One of those documen’s was signed by the 52 OSCE member states and the US, French and Russian Foreign Ministers co-chairing the OSCE’s Minsk Group, he said, noting that the document reiterated the organization’s desire to “resolve the conflict in a peaceful manner that maintains the cease-fire regime.”

Nalbandian, meanwhile, echoed Yerevan’s position regarding the ongoing peace talks, noting that the “documen’s show that it’s necessary to continue the talks on the basis of the Madrid Proposals to try and bring the positions of the parties closer.”

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