The Illusive ‘Positive’ Outcome of Peace Talks

Armenian Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian speaks to reporters at the OSCE Ministerial summit in Athens on December 2, 2009.

Armenian Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian speaks to reporters at the OSCE Ministerial summit in Athens on December 2, 2009.

Public statements made by foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan at the OSCE Ministerial Council in Athens call into question the “progress” that was touted Tuesday by that organization’s Minsk Group Co-chairmen, who also pressed the sides to intensify negotiations to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

With the 17th meeting of the OSCE Ministerial Council as a stage, Azeri and Armenian foreign ministers Elmar Mammadyarov and Eduard Nalbandian presented conflicting views on the process with Mammadyarov characterizing Armenia as an aggressor, while Nalbandian condemning the terse military rhetoric directed toward Armenia by Azerbaijan.

“The Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict still remains a major source of instability and impediment to the economic development and integration of the entire region of the South Caucasus into the European and Euro-Atlantic architecture,” said Mammadyarov.

“As a result of this conflict almost 20 percent of the territory of Azerbaijan has been still occupied by Armenia, around 1 million ethnically cleansed Azerbaijani population has become internally displaced and refugees, thousands of Azerbaijani historical-cultural heritage items on the occupied territories devastated and looted,” the Azeri leader added.

Mammadyarov also said that “Providing self-governance for Nagorno-Karabakh within Azerbaijan will be a just and durable solution, as well as it can dramatically reduce tensions and challenges for peace and stability in the region,” and the “withdrawal of Armenian troops in a fixed time framework from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan will open a tremendous opportunity for the region.’

All of this came after Mammadyarov urged his international colleagues to fully adhere to the Helsinki principles, based on which the OSCE was founded in 1975.

“The pattern of non-compliance of one State, Azerbaijan, to the core arms control regime, particularly by substantially exceeding maximum levels of holdings in at least two categories of armaments set by the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe, combined with the war rhetoric, raises concerns about that country’s real intentions. Azerbaijan violates one of the basic principles of the OSCE – the principle of non-use or threat of use of force,” emphasized Nalbandian in his remarks to the Council.

“We [Armenia] are convinced that in order to create an opportunity for the progress in the peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the parties should commit to refrain from the steps that could hamper the peace process, including the attempts, which have been made here in the speech of the Azerbaijani minister, to misinterpret the essence of the conflict and of the ongoing negotiations,” added Nalbandian, who also blasted efforts to use the Karabakh resolution as a precondition for the Armenia-Turkey rapprochement process.

“Armenia is committed to a peaceful solution of the conflict, based on the norms and principles of international law, particularly the principles of non use or threat of use of force, self-determination and territorial integrity, which were reflected yesterday in the Joint Statement by the Heads of Delegation of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair countries, Armenia and Azerbaijan,” emphasized Nalbandian.

And then there was Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu who told the Council that Armenia-Turkey relations could not normalize without a resolution to the Karabakh conflict. He also expressed the same sentiment to Mammadyarov in a separate meeting, but, reportedly, did not discuss Karabakh while meeting with Nalbandian.

Nalbandian’s comments at the OSCE Council were a mere slap on the wrist for Azerbaijan, whose president Ilham Aliyev last week threatened war again ahead of a presidential meeting, which, according to conventional wisdom, should have never taken place in light of the threats.

Armenia’s position on the military threats has been soft, at best. If Mammadyarov’s remarks are an indication, Azerbaijan is unwilling to budge from its position and Turkey continues to insist that without a Karabakh agreement there will be no ties with Armenia.

We can analyze ad nauseam about which minister was more forceful in his diplomatic overture, but the truth remains that despite the illusive inroads in the talks, the true harbinger of things to come is the joint statement by the Co-chairmen, who unanimously call for the intensification process. This can only mean one thing: a deal on the conflict is imminent and Armenia, once again, will be cornered to sign an agreement that will compromise its national security.

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24 Comments

  1. John said:

    “Nalbandian’s comments at the OSCE Council were a mere slap on the wrist for Azerbaijan”. Reading this sentence one realizes that the Armenian diplomacy is too polite against the aggressor, Azerbaijan. So polite are the comments that one is forced to doubt the Armenian representatives’ knowledge of the real meaning of “diplomacy”which, among other things, include engaging in propaganda and making the other side look as bad as possible. Who are these amateurs representing Armenia and squandering golden opportunities to publicly “destroy” Azerbaijan and Turkey?

  2. Hye4Life said:

    This Nalbandian such a woose, scared little boy.  he needs to go right away

  3. Lusik said:

    Agree with John. Right foreign minister can win a war. It seems, that Nalbandian’s problem is not being over-polite. The problem is rather about being a scholar instead of a practitioner. Yes, intellectually diverse and aggressive foreign minister can turn mountains. Now, our understanding of his problem does not solve the situation.

  4. Haro said:

    Excuse my language, I am quite polite in my verses, but this is a BULLSHIT!!!!
    Who are the Serj and Nalbandyan cronies fooling?
    The Armenian Nation is not going to eat any more of this Nalbadyan/Sargsyan BULLSHIT.
    After Aleiv’s bully, there should be no diplomatic meetings with neither Azeries nor their cousins the Turks. The signed Protocol papers should be burned publicly, and we should fire Serj and the entire Hanrabedagan party form office.
     

  5. katia K. said:

    I agree with John, that this would have been a perfect opportunity for Nalbandian to remind the Turkish and Azeri players, as well as put the OSCE players in their places, by asking them when are they planning on resolving the conflict of the Armenian Genocide and the thousands of Armenians massacred in Azerbaijan through the years.  If anything the Armenian Genocide is the number one destabilizer of the region because it has not been legally and justly approached.  He should have asked them, how can one “return” lands that belong to him?  He should have also said that to be fair, Turkey in turn should return all the Western Armenia lands.  The handful of Armenian fighters in Karabagh were able to ethnically cleanse “1 million” Azeris?  Outrageous?  Who told them to attack us in first place?  Wasn’t it their intention to ethnically cleanse us?  Who if not Nalbandian will articulate that Karabagh is historically Armenian, and that the Karabaghzis fought in self defense?  Truly, this was a golden opportunity lost.   The more the Armenian side does not show teeth, the more outlandishly aggressive the other side is getting.  Nalbandian should not be afraid to say it the way it is, because either way he is dealing with uncivilized and deceitful parties bent on destroying us any which way possible.  Whether we cooperate with them or not.

  6. arek avedian said:

    Why have our “leaders and diplomats” (I use those term very loosely) have been consistently been silent on armenian refugees and massacres perpetrated  by the azeris.  I am so sad to here what is going on, it seems we will be giving up artsagh and perhaps armenia by  these “diplomats”.   Its no surprise, the people in power are the same people that assassinated Monte Melkonian, our war hero that liberated  Artsagh, and the people that massacred the parlementarians 10 years ago.

  7. Cristina said:

    include engaging in propaganda and making the other side look as bad as possible. => yup, agree. they are doing just this, and it looks like it’s working…

  8. Lusik said:

    WHAT ARMENIA HAS AGAINST THIS?

    This year the Azerbaijani defense industry has manufactured four times as much military equipment and ammunition as last year, Minister of Defense Industry of Azerbaijan Yaver Jamalov stated yesterday, reported AzerTAG.
    According to him, renovation work has been carried out at the 21 enterprises occupying a total area of 133,600 sq meters. Minister Jamalov reported that the enterprises are producing defense goods of 350 types. Azerbaijan’s defense budget was recently published: the 2010 budget provides for 1,205,827,744 manats for defense, with 1,120,991,187 manats to be assigned to the defense forces. A total of 2,384,763 manats are budgeted for the Ministry of Defense Industry.
    Next year Azerbaijan will not allocate funds under the NATO Partnership for Peace Program and Individual Partnership Plan (IPAP) against 1,378,490 manats last year.
    The Echo newspaper (Azerbaijan) reports that Azerbaijan, Turkey and Israel plan to establish joint production of armored vehicles. In this context, the Azerbaijani Government reports that Azerbaijan is currently conducting negotiations with two Turkish and one Israeli company. An agreement is expected to the signed in the near future.
    Under the government program of defense industry development, in cooperation with the Azerbaijani Military of Defense, the Government plans to establish the production of track-type armored vehicles, bridges, trucks using the written off T-54 and T-55 tanks as raw materials.
    Jamalov also reported the Ministry plans to expand the range of defense goods. Beside, the Ministry plans to set up the production of pilotless vehicles a well as that of armored vehicles under a contract with the South African Republic, small arms, electronic equipment, ammunition for artillery and night viewers.
    Azerbaijan also plans to apply Pakistani technologies in producing aerial bombs.
    This March, the Rokestan Company (Turkey) and the Iqlim research and production association (Azerbaijan) reached an agreement on a joint production of multiple rocket launchers of 107-122 mm. calibers. The 107 caliber rocket launchers can be used for round-the-clock military operations in any weather conditions. Azerbaijan is also negotiating with the Aselsan Company to establish joint production of small arms, night viewers and electronic equipment, which requirement the export of special technologies to Azerbaijan.

  9. Mihran Keheyian said:

    Nalbandian is the worst foreign minister to date,a traitor just like his master Serzh,he should be thrown out along with his deputy Arman Kirakossian the architect of the protocols whos wants to ride on his fathers reputation ignoring his own which is nothing but treachery. 

  10. Haro said:

    Arek Avedian is precisely true, there are so many evidence for this fact. The whole cronies included LTP, Oscanyan, Manoukyan, Kojaryan, Serj, many of the HHSh and HHK (Hanrabedagan). I also know that ARF knows about it, but was put to silence very easily (back then, the assasin, Yunanyan had been chosen for that purpose, to make ARF silent). I have friends to the slain parliament members that have relayed this information to me. The assassination of Monte is kept very vague. Why is that so? Also, what happened to the first president of Artsakh? Did he really shoot himself? I invite everyone to get back to 1989 – 1993 events and recheck everything in details. The prove is very obvious even in the videos on YouTube.
    Of course all of these cronies are puppets of the West, USA and Russia, so they acted on commands given from outside.
    The only surviving commanders of Artsakh are either under the umbrella of LTP (even if they don’t like LTP), Artsakh military or ARF, and all of them are more or less silent.
    When I asked some relatives of parliament members about this issue, they answered “we all know the truth, but knowing and pursuing the evidence will create more problem for Armenians by destroying our unity”. This may be true, but given the current situation after the Protocol signing and the selling of our Dignity and Fatherland, I have no option but to bring this issue back on the table.

    We must clean the entire government system in Armenia from such cronies, and ARF’s recent roadmap is a positive step in this direction.

  11. Lusik said:

    REMEMBER HAMLET ASKING HIS MOM, HOW SHE COULD EXCHANGE THIS NOBLE PROFILE BY THE ANOTHER SO BAD!?
    Now read the thinking of an Armenian FM:
    “Turkey has always had its share of decent folks.
    One close example is the righteous family who, during the great genocide and national dispossession of 1915, risked its own to save my grandmother Khengeni from certain death in the coastal town of Ordu. The stories of thousands like them have not been told because of the Turkish state’s official dialectic of denial. –
    Apart from the remnant 50,000 of the established Armenian community, at least two million people in today’s Turkey draw lineage from an Armenian grandparent who was orphaned, stolen or saved–but in all cases turkified–in the killing fields of Ottoman-occupied historic Armenia. Voiceless and in another kind of denial, these progeny of mixed marriages are only now taking their first tentative steps in search of their real identity.
    In the wake of Hrant Dink’s still unsolved assassination by Turkey’s deep state and its racist speech laws, a new class of conscientious and independent-thinking Turks has begun to form amid a belated realization that Turkey can never graduate to the free world unless it faces the unprecedented evil in its historical closet. Still far from the mainstream, these brave new Turks know that their republic was founded not only on the deaths of millions of Armenians, Assyrians, Greeks and Kurds, but more viscerally on the systematic and complete erasure of the Armenian nation and its civilization from their ancestral heartland. They deserve full faith and credit in their quest to liberate their country from nearly 90 years of false pretense, fraudulent education, and exclusivist nation-building.
    That is why the world’s movers and shakers have little ground for the kind of euphoria that they have widely been deploying to applaud the recent signature by the Turkish and Armenian governments of two protocols that promise, upon parliamentary ratification, to lead to Ankara’s ultimate agreement to open diplomatic relations with Yerevan and then to lift its long-standing blockade against it.
    Superficial and feel-good formulations about the historic import of this development, whether they issue from Washington, Brussels or Moscow, seem purposefully to hide a few fundamental truths.
    The current Armenian administration has no legitimate public standing to speak in this seminal matter on behalf of the Armenian people. Having come to power in 2007-08 through fraud, forgery, and the blood of scores of citizens, it now seeks to shore up its legitimacy deficit by reference to foreign-policy offerings which sound good to Western ears but which in fact seek surrogate rewards for authoritarian demeanor. Once again, the “international community” has moved dangerously to trump democratic principles and due process by its strong-armed resort to problem-solving geopragmatism.
    The current Turkish administration is the successor to the Young Turk government that premeditated and executed the Armenian genocide and the corollary killing of homeland under the cover of World War I. It is the successor to the Kemalist movement which in 1920-21 entered into a creative complicity with Russia’s Bolsheviks to overturn US President Woodrow Wilson’s arbitral award respecting Armenia’s de jure frontiers through their occupation and partition of the newly-independent Republic of Armenia; to delimit a de facto boundary between Soviet Armenia and Turkey which amounted to a surgical usurpation of most of the Armenian patrimony; and to alienate the Armenian territories of Karabagh and Nakhichevan to Soviet Azerbaijan. This was the precursor to Molotov-Ribbentrop a generation later.
    The Turkish-Armenian draft protocols presently being considered and congratulated include references to asserting the illegal de facto border without simultaneously resolving issues of redemption, restoration, and return which arise from the underlying crimes against humanity: both the Genocide and the ensuing Turkish-Russian conspiracy. Hence, they are ab initio invalid, immoral, and impolitic.
    Most unfortunately, the papers on the table, as well-intentioned as they might be, and the PR posturing and point-scoring associated with them do not constitute the basis for a full and enduring regulation of the Turkey-Armenia relationship and a truly historic reconciliation between their peoples. They are pleasant–and deceptive–window dressing and nothing more.
    When Turkey, Armenia, and the community of nations grow up to the gravity of the watershed challenge at hand, they will shift their gears, deliver on democracy and the rule of rights, and confront and correct history and its legacies of injustice. In this spirit, and far from positing resolution on Mountainous Karabagh as a precondition to Turkish-Armenian normalization, they will ultimately recognize its God-given, legitimate right to post-stalinist decolonization, liberty, and sovereign statehood.
    And only in this way will we forge and then witness the region’s first post-genocide partnership.
    Now is the time for the distinguished Turkish prime minister–and the American president whom he is set to visit shortly in Washington–to grasp that this is the final solution. Not the other one.

  12. Haro said:

    Lusik, this is a great article, but it is unfortunate that Turks do not understand such language. Their language is ONLY FORCE…
    I urge everyone to instead of wasting our collective efforts on trying to fix the errors of the current government of RoA, we try to find ways to legally fire this government from office.
    Armenia must put its governing in the hands of ARF and their coalition. So far, ARF is the only able body of government that can take care of Armenia, Arstakh and the entire Armenian Nation. I was never an ARF member (i.e. not a partisan), but if I must be a partisan, then I will gladly become and ARF member.

  13. Haro said:

    Why is Asbarez not reporting anything about Dr. Ayvazyan’s case against Genocide Denialist inside Armenian proper: check Stepan Sargsyan’s comment above, or follow the link here:
    http://www.ardarutyun.org/?p=703 
    Յարգելի Աբօ՝ ին՞չ է կատարուում, ինչ՞ու ոչինչ չէք գրում այս նոյթի մասին։

  14. krikor said:

    haro with all respect, the past and history shows us ARF”S bad experiance of governing a country and leading a nation, sorry ARF is not the only able body of government that can take care of Armenia! ARF may lead a coaltion and I think it would be a great idea, I was never an ARF member too, but today I SUPPORT ARf  ALMOST %100     

  15. Armen said:

    I absolutely agree with Haro. This government has to go. If they are not getting the message and they can stand the daily verbal abuse and public humiliation, then they will have to be gently pushed out. I don’t think Armenians got rid of  the Soviet regime to allow Soviet style despots to take charge of the destiny of our nation. 70 years of soviet domination has killed their Armenian nationalism. It is time for charismatic visionary leaders to replace the two lifeless preachers that we currently have.
     
    The issues we are facing today must also involve the 7 million living in the Diaspora through a Pan-Armenian Referendum, potentially outsourced to an independent non-Armenian Management Consultant. It is not the right of one or two people to decide about them as they proudly put it; ‘because we have majority in Parliament’.  These kinds of statements should not be pronounced by leaders whose first role should be nation building, unifying and reaching out to all Armenians.

  16. Vacheh said:

    Nalbandian, Serj Sargsyan, and Tigran Sargsyan are all members of the Republican part of Armenia. I have asked several people in Armenia as what are the ideology and vision of this party in terms of  politics, our national liberation issues, economy, culture, defense, etc. The only answer that I have got is that they are the followers of Garegin Njdeh. Garegin Njdeh is a national hero who saved Zangezour from falling into Azeri hands and if I am not mistaken Garegin Njdeh was a member of ARF. Zangezour, by the way, is the part of the Armenian territory where the modern pan-turkists have their eyes focused to grab away from us. If anyone knows about the ideology of this party, please share with all.
    I would like to see ARF to put forward one of its well-qualified politicians (either from Armenia or from Diaspora) to be nominated to become our foreign minister, thus all of us can see an immature, low-qualified, and low-informed person like Nalbandian brushed aside for good. Nalbandian behaves like the same Armenian politicians in 1914-1915 who couldn’t see the genocide coming with full force on us.

  17. Lusik said:

    Joghovourd, should we consider Vacheh’s posting as a call for nominations?  Today is December 7. How many days will take ARF to put forward the man? How many days will take whole Armenian community to decide Yes, No? How the process will go? Should the candidate present his Plan? Describe the details of securing the implementation? Display the recommendations from all-Armenian-known, respected referees? What means “respected referee”? Charles Aznavour failed his the chance! Should be some tele-marathon go? Should the Armenian embassies be involved? In what capacity?  How the Diaspora will be equated with non-Diaspora Armenians? How “Armenian” will be constituted?
    Many other questions. What is the deadline? Because February is few weeks ahead. It is going very tough in February-March.

  18. gregmelkonyan said:

    We need a wholesale government shake up in Armenia starting with removal of Serz Sargsyan and Eduard Nalbandyan  and appointment of honest and devoted ministers in governmental positions.
    If our government is represented by crooks and traitors such as Serzh Sargsyan and Eduard Nalbandyan the Armenian nation is doomed to exist. They have sold out Armenia, Artsakh, the Armenian cause and the pride of our beloved people. Armenians will not let the current leadership sell out Armenia and Artsakh. The Armenians will not be deceived anymore. We do not trust this leadership anymore.

    • Armen said:

      Easy to say, but hard to find the right candidates. I believe they are all the same more or less, because all have a soviet era background. Just consider what we had so far:
      1) Ter Bedrossian: who was and still is such an arrogant and angry man, whose demeanor does not reflect confidence. He brought the tanks out to support his second elections, do we remember? He bluntly warned Diaspora Armenians to “stay out of Armenian politics unless you want to move to Armenia, and that the best way to help Armenia would be to get elected to public office in your own respective countries and help Armenia that way”. He was kicked out of office when Vazken Sarkissian told him to leave over Karabakh issue.
      2) Then we had Kocharian/Voskanian duo which had some relative civility because of the presence of Voskanian, but then we had the dual killings in parliament of our two most charismatic leaders…?
      3) Then we have the current duo. Two lifeless preachers. A total disaster.
      4) I’ve been told Arkadi Ghukassian is being groomed to take over? He looks more like a normal human being, but he’s spending his time with Sargsyan?  Is that a good reference?
      5) Do we have candidates that are intellectuals and lawmakers?  Not business tycoons or past police chiefs. Unfortunately with 20+ parties competing for power, Armenian politics is like a circus type environment.

  19. KRIKOR said:

    totaly agree lucik, we are very good in talking, dreaming and suggesting indeas from far away, we sit here in peace and quite, well fed and enjoyinh our life of luxery, asking and demanding this and that, we are asking switzerland in Armenia with talks!!!!! we need to be realistic in our demands and thinking toward Armenia and its problems in curent sutuation nand circumestances, what is the ideal way? any idea?

  20. manooshag said:

    Hye, as following WWII, the government of Germany was dissolved… so too shall be the present
    Haiastan leaderships and its cohorts.  Manooshag

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