Karabakh Calls for Resetting of Distorted Peace Process

STEPANAKERT (RFE/RL)–The Foreign Ministry of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic issued a statement on Wednesday calling on international mediators to reset the current negotiating process that it describes as distorted.

“The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic stance on the Azerbaijani-Karabakh conflict settlement remains unchanged. It is impossible to achieve the conflict settlement, ignoring the existing reality. Any attempts to return the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic to the past are not only counterproductive, but are also fraught with new escalation of the conflict,” the ministry said, insisting that “real progress in the negotiations is possible only with the Karabakh party’s equal participation in all the stages of the negotiation process.”

“No agreement regarding the interests, fate, and future of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic can be adopted without the participation of its people and leadership, which bears the principal responsibility for it,” the ministry underscored.

The ministry also hopes that “all the actors interested in the peaceful settlement of the conflict will prevent any violation of the status-quo in the region.”

“We consider it required to reset the distorted negotiation process, to return the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic to the negotiation table as an equal party and to transform the basic principles of the settlement,” it concludes.

The statement comes amid worldwide Armenian apprehension following a July 10 statement issued by U.S. President Barack Obama, French President Nikolas Sarkozy and Russian Federation President Dmitry Medvedev calling on Armenia and Azerbaijan to “to resolve the few differences remaining between them” based on an updated version of the “Basic Principles” advanced by the international mediators working in the OSCE Minsk Group in the November 2007 Madrid Document.   Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian and Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev are set to meet on Friday July 17 in Moscow for what is being touted by the Minsk Group as a potential breakthrough meeting.

Concerns about the Nagorno Karabakh peace process were presented at a pan-Armenian conference held at the Nagorno Karabakh Republic’s capital, Stepanakert, on July 10-11.  Over 120 Armenian leaders from some 25 countries, representing a broad cross-section of the political, academic, religious, business and civil society leadership from Armenia, Nagorno Karabakh, and the Diaspora discussed the ongoing Karabakh negotiations and unanimously adopted a resolution urging Armenia not to sign any agreement on Karabakh and urging Stepanakert’s direct participation in the talks and calling for vigilance in the face of pressure to adopt a “hasty solution to the problem and Azerbaijan’s belligerent statements.”

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