Updated Madrid Principles Ready, Says Russian Co-Chair

russiancochairTAVUSH, Armenia (Combined Sources)—An updated version of the Madrid Principles guiding the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process has been finalized and is ready for submission to Armenia and Azerbaijan, the Russian co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group mediating the Karabakh conflict said on Tuesday, the Azeri Today.az news portal reported Tuesday.

“The Madrid principles have been updated. We have worked on this at a meeting of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs in Krakow in late July,” the Russian co-chair, Yuri Merzlyakov said.

Merzlyakov said he and his American and French co-chairs are scheduled to begin a visit to Armenia and Azerbaijan on October 1 where they will submit the updated document to each government and finalize a new meeting on Nagorno-Karabakh between Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian and Azeri President Ilham Aliyev. The meeting will likely take place in Chisinau on the margins of the CIS Summit set for October 8-9.

“I believe the leadership gave instructions to refrain from shooting and returning fire, even if there is any action by the enemy,” Kasprzyk said adding that the intensification of negotiations may help to calm down the situation along the contact line.

The co-chairs will arrive in Yerevan on October 1 then move on to Baku and Stepanakert, the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Andrzej Kasprzyk, told reporters Tuesday at the Armenia-Azerbaijan line-of-contact in Tavush, Novosti-Armenia reported.

The three mediators met in Washington on September 24 to discuss the details of their upcoming visit to the region among themselves and with two senior U.S. administration officials dealing with the South Caucasus. They also held separate talks with the Armenian and Azeri foreign ministers in New York the next day.

The mediators hope that Aliyev and Sarkisian will iron out their remaining differences over the settlement principles proposed by them. The two leaders failed to do so at their last face-to-face meeting held in Moscow in July. In an early August interview with RFE/RL, the Minsk Group’s outgoing U.S. co-chair, Matthew Bryza, insisted that they agree on the “fundamental concept” behind the proposed settlement and are “coming close” to working out its important details.

Speaking to reporters in Baku on Tuesday, Azeri Foreign Ministry Spokesman, Elkhan Polukhov, confirmed the upcoming visit of the co-chairs, adding that Baku was “waiting for that visit” and will express its “opinion” on the updated Madrid document during the discussions.

Polukhov also claimed that the co-chairs told Azeri Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov in New York that they were committed to resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict within the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.

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