Baku Denies Turkish Mediated Karabakh Plan

BAKU (Combined Sources)–A spokesman for the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry Thursday dismissed as “nonsense” recent reports from the Turkish Hurriyet Daily that Yerevan and Baku had agreed to a Turkish mediated solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

"The details of the negotiations on the settlement of Nagorno Karabakh conflict reported by the Turkish Hurriyet newspaper are nonsense,” Foreign Ministry spokesman, Khazar Ibrahim, told the Azeri Press Agency, adding that the reports were not true.

The rebuttal came a day after similar statemen’s by the Armenian and Turkish Foreign Ministries dismissing the reports as untrue.

“No negotiations have taken place on the Karabakh issue with Turkey,” said Armenian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Tigran Balayan Wednesday in response to an Itar-Tass reporter’s inquiry on the Hurriyet report.

Balayan reaffirmed Armenia’s longstanding position that negotiations for a resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict were strictly “taking place with the mediation of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs on the basis of the Madrid principles.”

Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Burak Ozugergin echoed his Armenian counterpart, telling the Anatolian News Agency that “there is no discussion of Turkey’s inclusion in a Nagorno-Karabakh plan.” Turkey, he said, is “just gathering information from both sides.”

Hurriyet reported Tuesday that Armenia and Azerbaijan had reached a partial agreement on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The newspaper alleged that the agreement was a result of Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan’s shuttle diplomacy with his Armenian and Azeri counterparts and the new peace plan would be mediated by Turkey.

The paper alleged that, under the agreement, Armenia would hand over five of the six liberated districts surrounding the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic to Azerbaijan in a specific timetable and repatriate Azeris who were forced to leave the regions. It furthermore, claimed that the administration of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic would be given to a provisional body, while the sixth district, Kelbajar, would be given to Azerbaijan after the status of the region was determined.

Hurriyet also added that the railroad and highway between Azerbaijan and Armenia would be opened under the alleged agreement, while an international peace force would be deployed at the border region between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh.

"As regards the deployment of peacekeeping forces between Nagorno Karabakh and Armenia, I would like to mention that we have repeatedly said peacekeeping forces can be deployed in the region in any stage,” Ibrahim said. “But this contingent can not consist of the servicemen of neighboring or co-chairing countries.”

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