Karabakh Says New OSCE Plan Could Be Way Out of Deadlock

STEPANAKERT (RFE/RL)–The new peace proposals–put forward by mediators from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe may break the continuing deadlock in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process–officials in Stepanakert said at the weekend.

Naira Melkumian–the foreign minister of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic told Karabakh state television that the OSCE Minsk Group’s idea of a "common state" with Azerbaijan "could allow us to get out of the deadlock."

She said the new proposals–presented to the conflicting parties last week–constitute "serious progress" in the Minsk Group’s efforts–spearheaded by Russia–the United States and France.

The mediators last week toured the region to propose that Azerbaijan and Karabakh should form a common state. Details of the plan are being kept secret pending official replies from Armenia–Azerbaijan and Karabakh.

"In effect–the mediators take into consideration geopolitical realities in the region," and the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic’s existence in particular–the Karabakh minister said.

"We are ready to reach an agreement with Azerbaijan and establish horizontal ties with it." She did not mention what Stepanakert’s official reaction to the plan will be. But Melkumian made it clear that any internationally sponsored peace deal will have to be approved by a referendum in Karabakh to be deemed finally accepted.


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