Baku ‘Accepts’ Karabakh Peace Principles

BAKU (News.az)—Azerbaijan accepts the latest draft of a Karabakh peace plan proposed by international mediators but with “some exceptions,” the Azeri Foreign Ministry said Friday.

“Azerbaijan considers that it accepts the renewed Madrid principles with some exceptions and has in fact voiced solidarity with the principles of the Karabakh conflict settlement proposed by the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Elkhan Polukhov.

Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov has said that the updated Madrid document is acceptable to Baku “with a number of exceptions” and that further progress in the talks hinges on its acceptance by the Armenian side. One major “exception” for Baku is the status of Nagorno-Karabakh. Azerbaijan rules out self-determination or independence for Nagorno-Karabakh, insisting that it be part of Azerbaijan.

Armenia’s Foreign Minister has dismissed Azerbaijan’s statements as misleading and has accused Baku of seeking to “distort the essence of the negotiating process.”

Armenian leaders insist that the proposed basic principles upholds the Karabakh Armenians’ right to formalize the region’s independence from Azerbaijan in a future referendum.

Polukhov’s remarks come days after international mediators visited Armenia and Karabakh. The American, French and Russian co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, however, did not visit Baku.

Polukhov downplayed that fact, saying the co-chairs didn’t travel to Baku during their last visit to the conflict zone because “they have nothing to discuss on the issue with Azerbaijan.”

“Everything today depends on the whether the Armenian side can be constructive,” he said. “If Armenia accepts these principles, the parties can start working at the preparation of a greater agreement.”

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