Karabakh Mediators ‘Update’ Peace Plan

co-chairs-updated principles

KRAKOW, Poland (RFE/RL)–International mediators have modified their proposed framework peace agreement on Nagorno-Karabakh to increase chances of its acceptance by Armenia and Azerbaijan, a top U.S. official said on Monday.

The three co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group representing the United States, Russia and France met in the Polish city of Krakow at the weekend to discuss ways of pushing the Karabakh peace further forward following fresh talks held by the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents in Moscow on July 17-18.

In a joint statement issued ahead of those talks, the presidents of the three mediating powers said they have instructed the co-chairs to present the conflicting parties with an “updated version” of their basic principles of a Karabakh settlement that were formally put forward in Madrid in November 2007.

“As directed by our three presidents in their joint declaration of July 10, 2009, we prepared an updated version of the Madrid Document,” the U.S. co-chair, Matthew Bryza, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service, commenting on the Krakow meeting. He described the meeting as “productive and creative.”

“We now have a chance to finalize the Basic Principles,” said Bryza. He praised Armenia’s and Azerbaijan’s leaders for being “constructive” and making “significant progress” in the long-running peace talks.

“The co-chairs also express their thanks to former President [Robert] Kocharian and Foreign Minister [Vartan] Oskanian whose thoughts and efforts helped lay the foundation for the Madrid Document,” added Bryza. “We have now moved beyond that document under Armenia’s current leaders, President [Serzh] Sarkisian and Foreign Minister [Eduard] Nalbandian, who have helped elicit progress in tough but constructive negotiations over the past year.”

Sticking to the confidentiality of the long-running peace process, the U.S. official did not specify whether the basic principles underwent significant changes. He said only that he and fellow co-chairs Yuri Merzlyakov and Bernard Fassier “carefully considered the views expressed by the sides since we presented the Madrid Document in November 2007.”

Contrary to the mediators’ expectations, Sarkisian and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev failed to bridge their remaining differences over those principles during their July 17 one-on-one discussion in Moscow. According to Merzlyakov, the two leaders made more progress when they met in the presence of their Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, the next day.

“There are interesting solutions which the presidents found in the trilateral format,” Merzlyakov told the Azerbaijani Trend news agency on July 22. “I think that this could produce a positive result in the future.” The Russian diplomat did not elaborate.

The Madrid principles call for the return to Azeri control of the liberated Armenian territories surrounding the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. They also envisage a future referendum of self-determination in Karabakh. Karabakh’s status will remain unchanged and a corridor linking it with Armenia will be maintained in the interim.

According to some sources familiar with the negotiating process, the main stumbling block so far has been the return of Kelbajar and Kashatagh (Lachin), two of the liberated districts sandwiched between Karabakh and Armenia. They say former President Kocharian insisted that their return to Azerbaijani control happen only after the Karabakh vote. This condition was rejected by Aliyev. Sarkisian’s position on the matter is not clear.

Meeting with Sweden’s visiting Foreign Minister Carl Bildt last week, Sarkisian indicated that the conflicting parties also have yet to fully work out all practical modalities of the proposed referendum that would presumably require Karabakh’s indigenous Armenian population, who voted in 1991 for independence from the Soviet Union, to again legitimize its status as a sovereign state.

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5 Comments

  1. John Keusseyan said:

    I would not return an inch of the liberated lands until NKR republic is recognised as an independent state and the security of the people of NKR is guarranteed. Remember the treaty of SERVES! We can not trust the Turks nor the Azeries.

  2. manooshag said:

    Hye,
    Borders are scratched
    across the hearts of men
    By strangers wit a calm
    judicial pen
    And when the borders bleed we
    watch with dread
    As the lines of ink along the map
    turn red.
    Marya Mannes

    copied from:
    WHEN THE BORDERS BLEED/THE STRUGGLE OF THE KURDS
    by Ed Kashi
    Introduction by Christopher Hitchens

  3. Katia K said:

    It is amazing how the territorial integrity and borders of all the neighboring countries of Armenia are respected and acknowledged, except Armenia’s. Never mind that Karabagh was historically our land and Stalin gave it to Azerbaijan. Never mind that Azerbaijan attacked Karabagh and its Armenian civilians, and because to the war that the Azeris started the territories around Karabagh were won. The Territories that we won by war, the Azeri cowards want to now take back with flaud, oil drenched negotiations. How about the six historical Armenian provences in Turkey? I guess when you have oil and other “strategic” advantages, you can massacre an entire population, take their homeland and draw your own borders. How can Turkey negotiate the opening of its “so-called” borders? These are phoney borders, which have not been historically acknowledged that Turkey has been brainwashing the world with. The real borders start at the old Sivas provence in Turkey, as drawn in the Sevres Treaty by President Woodraw Wilson himself. Except there was no population left to take the lands back and negotiate at an international level. The Severe Treaty was quickly brushed aside to be replaced by Oil Treaties that bartered our homelands for oil revenues. Turkey wants the current Armenian government to accept “its borders” and agree to a phoney “historical commission” that will find the Armenian Genocide “inconclusive”, so that it can put the final nail on the coffin of our nation, history, lands, archeological treasures and civilization. HOW CONVENIENT! WE ARE CRAZY IF WE FALL FOR THIS! Wake up everyone! They are denfending their misdeeds and portraying them as legitimate, and we are neglecting to defend our LEGITIMATE rights! This is the time, and maybe the only one, where we need to find the courage, to stand together, and tell it to the world the way it is.

  4. ALBERT B. AVANESSIAN, GLENDALE CA said:

    KATIA K, YOU SAID IT ALL!! I WISH OUR LEADERS WOULD PAY ATTENTION, THERE ARE MILLIONS OF US WHO THINK THE SAME WAY, WHY IS THAT THE SEVERE TREATY IS SHOVED ASIDE, THAT IS A LIVING DOCUMENT AS ANY PHONEY DOCUMENTS “CREATED” AFTERWARDS WHICH THEY WANT TO FORCE UPON US….. I AM IN MY SIXTIES AND I HAVE PROMISED TO MY FAMILY THAT, IF A NEW WAR BREAKS UP I WILL VOLUNTEER TO GO TO THE FRONT AND DO ANYTHING IN MY ABILITY TO FIGHT BACK.
    THANK YOU KATIA, PLEASE KEEP WRITING……

  5. MGL said:

    The question is why Armenia’s government officials don’t remember and use all these historical facts?

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