No Breakthrough Announced on Karabakh at Moscow Summit

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YEREVAN (Combined Sources)–The leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan were in meeting for more than three hours in the Russian capital Moscow late Friday afternoon in the latest round of internationally mediated negotiations over the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The two presidents met again Saturday for talks on the conflict with their Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev.

After two hours of face-to-face discussions, the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents, Serzh Sarkisian and Ilham Aliyev, were joined by their foreign ministers and the three co-chairmen of the Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

The two leaders will also have a joint meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Saturday, a Russian Foreign ministry source said, without giving further details.

Keen to burnish its credentials as a powerbroker, Russia has been mediating talks between the two countries over Karabakh. The three leaders last met in Saint Petersburg in June.

Meeting with Medvedev

Russian President Dmity Medvedev hosted “very constructive” talks Saturday between Aliyev and Sarkisian. No new developments, however, were announced after those talks.

“The meeting was long and as far as our side was concerned, very constructive,” Interfax news agency quoted Kremlin diplomatic adviser Sergei Prikhodko as saying. “There was a long and, according to our side, very constructive meeting during which some of the remaining open questions were discussed.”

“Presidents Aliyev and Sargsyan expressed their gratitude to Dmitry Medvedev for his efforts to bring together the positions of Armenia and Azerbaijan,” he added.

Prikhodko said that Medvedev, who has brought the two sides together four times since November, “confirmed the goodwill of Russia, as co-chair of the Minsk group, in efforts to find mutually acceptable solutions in the Karabakh conflict.”

‘No Agreement’

0719serjaliev2Armenian state-run television quoted Sarkisian as saying on Wednesday that “no document will be signed” in Moscow over the future of Karabakh.

Meanwhile, his Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian on Thursday traveled to Stepanakert where he had a two-hour-long meeting with Karabakh President Bako Sahakian.

After meeting Sahakian, Nalbandian said Armenia acknowledged that Karabakh, which has been removed as a direct party to the negotiations, should be a full participant in the process. “And this is a necessity and also a guarantee of the success of the peace process,” Nalbandian emphasized.

Armenia Under Mounting Pressure

The Moscow summit comes amid growing international pressure on Armenia to make unilateral concessions to Azerbaijan on the long-running conflict.

On the sidelines of the G8 summit in L’Aquila last week, the presidents of France, Russia, and the United States — the three countries that jointly co-chair the OSCE Minsk Group — urged the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan “to resolve the few differences remaining between them and finalize their agreement” on an updated version of the so-called Madrid Principles.

That joint statement listed six of those principles proposed by the mediators as a basis for further negotiations. They, in particular, call for the ceding of the liberated Armenian territories surrounding Karabakh to Azerbaijani control and a “future determination of the final legal status of Nagorno-Karabakh through a legally binding expression of will.”

But Karabakh’s self determination is being brushed aside for expediency as international mediators rush to secure a settlement of the conflict in hopes of saving the failed dialogue between Armenia and Turkey over the normalization of their relations.  Turkey has conditioned the opening of its border with Armenia to a resolution of the Karabakh conflict in Azerbaijan’s favor.

Growing Domestic Opposition

Domestically, Sarkisian is facing growing pressure over his administration’s failure to properly advance the interests of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh at the negotiating table and for what is being described as a shortsighted policy that has lead the nation into a difficult corner.

Earlier this week, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) called for the resignation of foreign minister Nalbandian and strongly urged Sarkisian himself not to sign any document based on the Madrid principles in Moscow. The ARF said it considered those principles as damaging to the interests of Karabakh and Armenia.

Those calls were echoed on Wednesday by an official statement from Karabakh’s Foreign Ministry calling on international mediators to reset the distorted format of the current negotiating process. That statement was followed by similar demands made by eight political parties in the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic—four of which are represented in Karabakh’s parliament.

The statement presented by the ARF of Artsakh, warned against “jeopardizing” the security of the indigenous people living in Karabakh and demanded that international mediators “respect the right to self-determination of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh,” and to secure its participation in the conflict settlement process as a full party. The statement also reiterated that Karabakh’s independent statehood and territorial integrity had been consolidated by the Nagorno-Karabakh constitution.

Last week, in addressing a large pan-Armenian conference in Stepanakert, Nagorno-Karabakh President Bako Sahakian forcefully called for the immediate return of his republic as a full-fledged party to the ongoing negotiations with Azerbaijan.

The conference, organized by the ARF, brought together 135 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 to discuss the diplomatic crisis that has ensued as a result of the Sarkisian administration’s conciliatory policies toward Azerbaijan and Turkey. At its close, the conference unanimously adopted a resolution urging Armenia not to sign any agreement on Karabakh, 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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8 Comments

  1. Krikor Krikorian said:

    The self determination and independence of the Artsakh people is a divine right that can not be violatetd or neglected.
    Artsakh HAS to be part of the negocoations
    Krikor
    New York

  2. Danilo Fuligno said:

    The right of self determination of Artsakh people is the same of Kosovo.
    The solution will not come from France, Moscow, Washington: the people of Nagorno Karabakh must count on their own forces and their own people to state their rights.
    Me, as Italian, I fully support this right, with even more force than the rights given to Kosovo, because Kosovo was historically Serbian land, and Karabagh was always Armenian land, given by Stalin to Azeri people to keep them quiet and get the petrol in exchange.
    The Italian people is with Armenia, and Nagorno Karabakh is Armenia: that’s it.

  3. Antranik said:

    It seems to me that Armenia is nigotiating from a very weak position. As the country is diveded and political parties are too busy trying to score points againts each other, Azerbaijan is winning the propaganda war and to me that means half the battle won.

    The other thing that worries me as an Armenian is the fact that as the interntional banks lend us money ,they think we have to dance to their tune.This is why Sarkisian wrongly dances to their tune.

    In my possition I can only pray that there will be a shifft in foreign policy,ARF to be asked back and given a responsible role nigotiating our interests.

    Finally I would like to say that Armenia is safe only with ARF.God bless Armenia ,Garabakh,ARF.
    Antranik UK.

  4. Simon Papukyan said:

    We’ve lost too many parts of our historic Armenian lands to the predators.
    No negotiation can be finalized if it includes loss of lands.
    We suffered enough and learned lessons true our mistakes.
    We were too kind to many before….we will be kind if the same will be given to us.
    Every government needs to know that Armenian nation will be supportive to others that understand our needs and they will succeed with us.
    Examine our true history and you will learn and understand……..

  5. Simon Papukyan said:

    We’ve lost too many parts of our historic Armenian lands to the predators.
    No negotiation can be finalized if it includes loss of lands.
    We suffered enough and learned lessons thru our mistakes.
    We were too kind to many before….we will be kind if the same will be given to us.
    Every government needs to know that Armenian nation will be supportive to others that understand our needs and they will succeed with us.
    Examine our true history and you will learn and understand……..

  6. Evan said:

    We lost many brave lives getting our land back and no clown has any rights to give any land back by signing any documents and if they do let them prepare to be taken out of control ” by force ” .

  7. Vahe Mekertichians said:

    Finally ARF is on right track. The history shows that at critical times , we can rely only on ourselves and our sacrifices.
    Today is the crucial time for ARF with its full power to concentrate on Artsakh’s independence , survival and teritorial security .
    I believe in revolutionary action. Not always follow artificially set terms of international powers. And again today is the time for ARF to take the helm in its hands.
    This is not a call for taking paower away from Yerevan but` listening to the voices of Armenian Nation in Artsakh, Armenia and diaspora and lead unconventional strugle for our Just rights.

  8. Samvel Topchian said:

    It is tense situation in “Azerbajdzhan” with ethnic minorities there , right now . Talish organisation calls against the “Madrid principles” … They say , that it will give more rights to azeri0turks to violate their (talish) rights … Well , “Azerbajdzhan” is strangled , really , to do what they want to do and RA should pound on that .As far as ARFD and the rest of us , we should be more than ever pay attention to every small detail of the “principles” under we’ve been sold so many times …
    There was no agreement signed or any paper , just because there was a rumor about russian-azeri agreement (separate piece type of ) , wich would bring russian forces to Artsakh … Of course to protect azeri point of view … That’s why US and France disclosed the information about “New (added) Madrid principles” …
    They all still think about the oil and gas … They all would try to sell us once again …
    We can not trust to anybody … And stop negotiations with Turkey at once and as soon as possible . Armenia should declare the recognition of Artsakh …
    I don’t get one thing – how it was possible to sign joint declaration with Turkey a days before 24-th of April … Basically to cut of own fighting hand …

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