Azerbaijan Rejects New Karabakh Peace Plan

Azeri President Ilham Aliyev.

BAKU (RFE/RL)—After repeated denials, Azerbaijan on Thursday confirmed Armenian claims that Russian President Dmitry Medvedev presented his Armenian and Azerbaijani counterparts with a new plan to end the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict at their meeting in Saint Petersburg last month.

Elkhan Polukhov, a spokesman for the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry, was reported to say that the “working proposals,” which have been essentially welcomed by Yerevan, are unacceptable to Baku. Unlike Armenian leaders, he claimed that Russia drafted them single-handedly without consulting with the United States and France, the two other co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group.

“Those working proposals were prepared only by one party, and the Minsk Group format was thus not observed,” Polukhov told the Day.az news service. “In essence, the proposals that were made in Saint Petersburg [on June 17] change the whole philosophy of the negotiating process.”

“They thereby cause damage to the work that has been done in the last six years and to the shaky structure that has been built during those six years,” he said.

Armenia’s President Serzh Sarkisian and Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian have described Medvedev’s proposals as a “new version” of the basic principles of the conflict’s resolution which the mediators had first formally proposed in Madrid in 2007.

Other government figures in Yerevan have claimed that Azeri President Ilham Aliyev cut short his visit to the Russian city and ordered his troops to attack a Karabakh Armenian army outpost the next day to demonstrate his frustration with the latest turn in the negotiating process.

“Only various approaches were discussed in Saint Petersburg,” Polukhov said on July 5. He insisted the ongoing peace talks continue to center on another version of the Madrid principles that was submitted to the conflicting parties. Azerbaijan claims to have largely accepted it.

The mediating powers have so far declined to explicitly confirm that what Aliyev and Sarkisian received in Saint Petersburg is the Minsk Group’s newly modified peace plan. But in a joint statement with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov issued on Saturday, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg did praise Medvedev’s efforts to “bridge the differences between the parties.”

The statement was issued immediately after the apparent collapse of negotiations between the Armenian and Azeri foreign ministers held in Almaty, Kazakhstan. The mediators had hoped that the talks will mark decisive progress towards the signing of an Armenian-Azeri framework peace accord.

Sarkisian said late on Wednesday that the peace process will remain deadlocked unless Azerbaijan follows Armenia’s example and accepts the Saint Petersburg proposals as “a basis for negotiations.”

“There is only one question today: Does the Azeri side accept the latest proposals by the Minsk Group co-chairs or not?” he told members of an Armenian pro-government youth organization.

“When Azerbaijan says that it accepts, we will continue negotiations. If it says it doesn’t accept, then we will probably have to look for other solutions,” he added.

There have been indications that Baku is now unhappy with not only Russia but the United States and France. In a series of interviews with Day.az this week, several pro-government members of Azerbaijan’s parliament have accused all three mediating powers of pro-Armenian bias.

One of them, Fazail Agamaly, claimed that Baku is now dealing with an “anti-Azerbaijani coalition” formed by Washington, Moscow and Paris. “The limit of trust in the Minsk Group co-chairs has long been exhausted,” he said.

“Despite all their efforts to give their activities a shroud of objectivity, the co-chairs have adopted an anti-Azeri position,” charged another lawmaker, Fazil Mustafa. Azerbaijan should therefore pursue a “tougher policy towards both Armenia and the mediators,” said Mustafa.

In what may have been a related development, Aliyev on Thursday bestowed the title of “national hero” on Mubariz Ibrahimov, an Azeri soldier killed in the June 18-19 firefight with Armenian forces in northern Karabakh. He also ordered his government to name a school and a street in Ibrahimov’s native Bilyasuvar district after the soldier.

Ibrahimov was shot dead in Armenian-controlled territory, a fact presented by Karabakh and Armenia as further proof that the fighting, which also left four Armenian soldiers dead, was provoked by Azeri forces. The Karabakh Armenian military has still not handed back his body.

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16 Comments

  1. HartR said:

    OK, Azeries need to build 1000’s of new schools and streets, because war will start soon, and they need to name them by so called “national hero”!

  2. Minas said:

    Russia is trying to make a Karabagh deal on its own, to benefit itself.
    It will sell out Armenians as it sees fit.

    • Arn. Sweden. said:

      HMMM – THERE WILL BE A NEW LEADER FOR RUSSIA,
      ACCORDING TO PROPHESY,
      AN MILITARY DICTATOR,
      HIS NAME WILL BE –

      “””VLADIMIR””” “!!!.

      Arn.Sweden.

  3. John K. said:

    The international community should recognize Artsakh’s independence like they did in Kosovo. Only then the problem will be solved. What will Azerys do. Refuse selling oil to Russia and EU. Attack Armena and Artsakh?
    They will be powerless to do anything. End of the problem, like in Kosovo…

  4. Stepan said:

    How refreshing to hear that Azerbaijan is complaining about pro-Armenian views by the Minsk Group. It seems that Russia is ecerting its influence and Armenia is warming to their leadership. Of course, putting this in the correct context, “pro-Armenian” is probably simply a balanced view being expressed by the co-chairs. I am sure that privately they are appalled by the crude outbursts by A;iyev. I am sure that many are tired of his rhetoric; given the fact that they were the oppressor, agggressor and loser of the war. Not to mention that he runs a feudal state. I am sure there will be more ups and downs before this is completed, but the trend is cautiously encouraging. Armenia is slowly emerging as the liberator and maybe, just maybe self-determination is lining up just above “territorial integrity” on the depth charts. Keep the faith my brothers and sisters.

    • Arn. Sweden. said:

      LET IRAN OR THE RUSSIANS TAKE CARE OF BAKU,
      ARMENIAS MISSION IS ELSEWERE.

      BEVERE OF TURKEY AND THE US AND NATO !!!.

      Arn.Sweden.

  5. J. Derderian said:

    I won’t live to be around for the next 100 years, but I have a felling that this stupidity will still be going on. The next time the Azeri break the truce and cease fire, why don’t we get to the point of an all out counter attack and war with the taking of Baku and the imprisonment of its leaders as a goal.

    I would like to see something happen before my time is up.
    All that is happening now is that Armennia is being held hostage by Turkey and the Azeri.

    • Arn. Sweden. said:

      I would like to see something happen before my time is up.

      THIS YEAR OR AND THE NEXT – YOU WILL SEE IT !!!.

      Arn.Sweden.

  6. Nerses Gevorgyan said:

    It is time for Armenians to demand return of Nakhijevan. Enough of this SerJ Sarkisian’s kissy-kissy relatioship with Azerbaijan. As for Aliev one has to tell him to go and fly a kite… Artsakh is free and independent and not a centimeter of liberated Armenian lands will be returned to Azerbaijan.

  7. zohrab said:

    azeris are turks they have orders from turkey never to except no matter what.so armenians dont waste time consolidate be strong ignore do what u want next time they attack hit them twice as hard every time more

  8. Viken Karapetian said:

    At one point will our United States Government grow a moral backbone and punish the Azeri Government, which was the first dynastic succession in the post-Soviet Union?

    • Arn. Sweden. said:

      THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT WILL GROW EVEN WORSE,
      AND SUPPORT THE TURKS EVEN IN A WAR.

      BEVERE OF THE US !!!.

      Arn.Sweden.

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