Nalbandian Says Madrid Principles are ‘Mere Suggestions’


STEPANAKERT—The so-called Madrid Principles as presented by the presidents of the Minsk Group Co-chair countries last week are ‘mere suggestions’ to guide the Karabakh negotiation process, said Armenia’s Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian following a meeting with Nagorno-Karabakh Republic President Bako Sahakian Thursday.

Based on a transcript of the press conference provided by the Armenian Foreign Ministry press service, Nalbandian said that details which have been publicized recently are serving as guidelines, some of which are not being discussed, while there are already negotiations being conducted around other provisions.

He called last week’s announcements by presidents Barack Obama, Nicolas Sarkozy and Dmitry Medved as a reiteration of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chair countries commitment to the peace process and an effort to bringing the parties closer to a resolution.

“I would like to call attention to the fact that there are three principles, which Armenia has on numerous occasions articulated as being its driving principles for the peace talks,” said Nalbandian.

The foreign minister delineated that the legal status of Nagorno-Karabakh must be determined based on the expression of the will of Karabakh’s population, the unequivocal demand for a land corridor between Armenia and Karabakh and international security guarantees as the principles guiding Armenia in the negotiation process.

Nalbandian pointed out that while Azerbaijan continues to proceed in the process guided only by the principle of territorial integrity, Armenia has always advocated for the right to self-determination and territorial integrity and has refused to resort to military threats or rhetoric. This, the foreign minister, said is exactly what the publicized principles have called for and correspond to Armenia’s posturing on the matter.

Nalbandian also assured that there were no discussions on the return of so-called Azeri refugees to Karabakh, since that type of negotiation should be held after a final resolution to the conflict in a broader context, given that there are more than 400,000 Armenian refugees as a result of the Karabakh conflict.

The foreign minister also said that Karabakh’s participation in the negotiation process was, and has always been, imperative and will guarantee a productive peace process.

“It is natural that Karabakh, in some instances, has differing approaches. However, I would like to stress that the opinion of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic plays a large and important role for us, and Armenia not only cannot ignore that, but it will not reach any agreement without the consent of the people and leadership of Karabakh. My presence here today is proof of that reality,” said Nalbandian.


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  1. jerry sabounjian said:

    The final status of Karabakh must be the core issue of the negotiations, after all this was the main reason for the war. Armenians will refuse to be fouled any more, we just can not afford to. We have to negotiate from the stand point of how we want to shape the final outcome of our lands and how and where our people want to live and under what type of status they want to have.

  2. Armenian Realist said:

    The whole situation is outrageous. The Armenian people, who for centuries have been oppressed, massacred and driven from their homeland, are now faced with making concessions with respect to their own historic lands which they liberated with their precious blood. The Artsakh government should create a miltary reserve force comprised of diaspora Armenian volunteers (an Artsakh Foreigh Legion of sorts) to train and serve in Artsakh for two weeks a year. Artsakh deserves to live in peace and security and dtermine its own future. A diaspora reserve force will provide greater military security and otherwise contribute to the development of the country. If there are not a few thousand diaspora Armenians willing to serve in such a force, we do not deserve to exist as a people or a nation and all the talk about one people, one nation is just empty rhetoric.

  3. Bedros said:

    Do we believe Nalbandian? I don’t.
    If Nalbandian is right, then people like US negotiator Matt Bryza (wife is Turkish) are very wrong – with their constant refrain of “A breakthrough on Karabagh is just around the coreer and could happen at the next meeting.”
    If Bryza is wrong, then Nalbandian ought to say so and stop putting the entire Armenian nation through a sort of living hell in which it looks like Armenia is going to sell out Karabagh any day now.
    There is a very sick game going on here – the sort usually played out only in mental hospitals and loony bins – in which it appears that Armenia is sucking up to Western, and even Russian, negotiators.
    Armenia seems to be unable to publicly declare what Karabagh’s rights are and what points will never be compromised on. Notice that Azerbaijan is very vocal as to what *its* rights are and what it will never compromise on.
    Somehow Azerbaijan has gotten the message that public relations are important. Armenia, on the other hand, is headed by *plodding dullards* with *ugly, sour-looking Soviet era faces*. You know what I mean, a sort of arrogance that says “We don’t need to explain ourselves to anyone.” That’s a disease. Get rid of it. There are treatments out there. Ask your doctor to prescribe you something, like an anti-Soviet antibiotic.

    And why, may I ask, isn’t Karabagh calling itself Artsakh? Again, what lousy public relations these Armenian dullards engage in.

    No, there is something deeply mentally unbalanced happening at the top levels of the Armenian government. Here’s another question: How much bribe money is the West shelling out to to Armenian leaders? How much do these people have in their Swiss bank accounts?
    I agree with the ARF: Nalbandian ought to resign. I am starting to think the same of Artsakh’s leaders. Why don’t they get Diasporans to stage protests at OSCE negotiating venues? Why such passivity?

  4. Antranik Soultanian said:

    Can I remind Mr Nalbandian That Shahoumian is part of Garabakh.Is there any possibility that he may bring this up at the negotiations?
    What is wrong with this man?