Bryza Reiterates Need for Karabakh Role in Negotiations


YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—The US Co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, Matthew Bryza, reiterated on Friday that the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic would eventually “need to participate directly” in the ongoing peace talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan and expressed hope that Stepanakert’s return to the negotiating table would come “sooner rather than later,” reported RFE/RL’s Azerbaijan service.

But the diplomat, who serves alongside Russian co-chair Yuri Merzlyakov and French co-chair Bernard Fassier, stressed that there first needs to be a discussion that “has to ensue among the parties and they have to come to a mutual agreement.”

“To bring them [Karabakhi authorities] back in, there needs to be a mutual agreement, and we hope that will be forthcoming,” said Bryza. “They do participate indirectly now. We listen to what their opinions are. We, of course, have to incorporate those views into the negotiations because if you don’t, it’s impossible to get people who will be affected by the solution to accept it. So, they have to accept it in the end.”

At the same time, Bryza said it was “not constructive or accurate” to talk about one side or the other taking ‘the first step’ after an agreement is finalized.

“The basic principles call for both sides to take steps simultaneously and there is a sequence of steps that both sides will take at different times. So, everything has to be done together, with both sides,” he said.

Bryza recalled Ilham Aliyev’s statement made in Moscow in early July in which the Azerbaijani leader foresaw that once the final peace agreement was signed, five territories would be returned to Azerbaijan immediately and two would be returned later.

“So, what he [Aliev] is laying out there is that there would be this immediate return of territories, but some would come back later. At the same time, Azerbaijan will be taking steps also, which includes this commentary about the corridor, and he’s made some allusions or suggestions about status, and we, the co-chair countries, talked about an interim status for Karabakh. So, all that has to happen at the same time. Even though elements of the overall process will be implemented in a staged way.”


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  1. Haro said:

    Perhaps Mr Bryza must learn some political history from the collapse of Soviet Union prior to taking his post. During the verge of collapse of Soviet Union, Gorbachev assumed that ethnic rival issues must come after Perestroika. He was dead wrong, and because of this incorrect assumption, the whole Soviet Union collapsed. History showed that ethnic maps should be redrawn prior to any reform or perestroika.
    I guess Mr Bryza has learned nothing from history. The issue in Transcaucasia does not start from where or what border to align oil pipelines, nor does it start by so called “normalization” of relations between Armenia and Turkey prior to resolving more than 300 years of historic issues.
    It starts from the recognition of the Genocide by Turkish government and arrangement of reparation by the Turkish government returning Armenian lands to Armenians, along a guarantee of security and financial retribution of damage done so far. This must be taken care of prior to seating around any negotiation table.
    You cannot postpone these issues and try to forcibly “normalize” relations wishing that in the future the Turks will turn into angels and do their goodwill…

  2. MGL said:

    Nothing should be return to Azerbaijan.
    Does Turkey return anything to us?
    Why not to say to Turkey, return our land and then we will think about opening our border.
    What are we getting from all of this? Karabakh Independence? We already have it.
    Azeris living close to us? Why? We already lived too close with them and we should remember how it ended.

  3. Cristina said:

    Mr Bryza, please go to Karabagh and live there for a couple of days minimum. See if people want to belong to Azerbaijan again. See if they trust Azerbaijan for their security and safety of their lives. See if they will agree that land that was hard and bloodily fought for should be returned to the enemy. And tell the world what you saw and what they told you. Let’s see if you will say the same thing you are saying now.
    Secondly i agree with Haro, no reforms can be built on unresolved problems, they will sooner or later blow up like the houses in the 3 piglets-story…

  4. Stepan P said:

    Our only leverage in these negotiations is the liberated territories and the reality of Karabagh’s independence. Despite the political rhetoric, the Armenians have the advantage. If we lose our unity of conviction to resist the pressure of an expeditious solution or act out of fear that we can not survive in a semi-isolated state, then we also have lost the spirit of why this Karabagh experience has been such an inspiration to Armenians worldwide. Karabagh must participate… our lands must be united and secure. God Bless the people of Karabagh.

  5. Darwin Jamgochian said:

    I wonder if the British have a hand in this too? Had it not been for them and their oil interests, Armenia would have saved Nakichevan and Karabagh and Lori from disintegration as they did with Zangezur. Armenia should trust no one. Whose hands are pulling on the noose strangling Armenia? Just who can Armenia trust?

  6. Arman said:

    I agree with MGL, we have anything to return but we have lost a lot. After we get them back we may think about having good relations with Turkey and Azerbaijan.

  7. Stepan said:

    The territories that we have is our only leverage in this diplomatic negotiations. The reality of Karabagh as an Armenian reality is our advantage. Everyone else is either trying to adjust or change that reality. I always find the argument of balancing the international diplomatic principles of self-determination and territorial integrity interesting. Self-determination more often takes on a pure struggle for freedom; where territorial
    integrity is used by the current state to justify the staus quo. The reality is that Karabagh is Armenian and will be and that the buffer territories were taken for our security. Azerbaijan is the party that needs to demonstrate trust and a willingness to live in peace. This process requires Karabagh’s participation.
    For those of us in the diaspora, we need to suport the people who have afforded us all the priviledge to say
    that there is a free Armenia and Karabagh. They are an inspiration God Bless the people of Armenia and Karabagh

  8. A. Hovanessian said:

    Aggressors neither have the right nor should they be permitted to dictate the terms of any peace negotiations. Azeris were the aggressors and they must face the consequences of their aggressions and Armenians must stand united and always remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice and gave their lives to liberate our ancestral territories and save our people from annihilation. Turkey was defeated in WWI yet it gained even more Armenian territories than it already had, when instead it should have been forced to make concessions. This should not happen with the Azeris.

    Additionally, Turkey, which to this day is denying the Armenian Genocide and occupying the western territories of our homeland should mind its own business, keep its nose out of this issue, stop using this issue to score political points, and stop bullying Armenia and set preconditions on Gharabagh status for opening its border with Armenia. They should be reminded of their illegal invasion and occupation of Cyprus for the last 35 years.

  9. satenik said:

    We shouldn’t want to live any closer to them than we already have to.Having these neighbours have not been the best gift that we’ve got because of the location of our homeland. I agree with Haro, since when devils have turned into angels? It seems we sometimes forget our bitter history and past experiences.

  10. Serge said:

    Last time around this never-before-existed nation, Utterbademjan kept Artsakh under their rule for seventy years, much thanks to our great friends, the Russians (with friends like them who need enemies!). This time however, I say let’s keep Artsakh for seventy years under Armenian rule, and then at the end of the seventy years, let’s resume the negotiations with OSCE! You see my friends, what’s the worst that can happen, Azeris attack Armenians if there is no breakthrough, well so be it, and we all know that they’ll attack anyway after they get back the liberated territories. We just have to keep in mind that we all stay united and support Armenia and Atsakh in their time of need.

  11. Garen said:

    Hayer!!!!! talk is cheap WAR is coming and if you cant see it than you are simply blind. Those negotiations are going nowhere, we are fast running out of time. Make your own conclusions but in my humble opinion MONTE MELKONIANS heroic example is the only worthy choice for Amerika HAY who wants to be fateful to his ancestors land & our holy mountains. Armenia has no chance in this war without Diasporas financial and yes actual boots on the ground support. We need to start preparing in a hurry and i mean the entire diaspora needs to participate from Argentine to Australia, from USA to Lebanon, no one should stay on the side lines. THIS IS IT FOR US, WE LOOSE ARTSAKH AND ITS OVER.