Mediators Press Armenia, Azerbaijan To Seal Karabakh Deal

S Deputy Secretary General James Steinberg listens as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (R) speaks at the 17th OSCE Ministerial council in Athens on Dec. 1, 2009

S Deputy Secretary General James Steinberg listens as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (R) speaks at the 17th OSCE Ministerial council in Athens on Dec. 1, 2009

ATHENS (RFE/RL)–The United States, Russia and France on Tuesday renewed their calls for Armenia and Azerbaijan to iron out their remaining disagreements over a framework agreement to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

The three nations spearheading the Karabakh peace process urged the conflicting parties to “complete this work as soon as possible” at the end of a two-day flurry of Karabakh-related diplomatic activity on the sidelines of an OSCE ministerial conference in Athens.

Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian and his Azerbaijani counterpart Elmar Mammadyarov held talks there on Monday and Tuesday in addition to separate meetings with senior American, French and Russian diplomats co-chairing the OSCE Minsk Group. They were joined later on Tuesday by Foreign Ministers Sergey Lavrov of Russia and Bernard Kouchner of France and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg.

In an ensuing joint statement read out by Lavrov, the five men noted the current “positive dynamic” in Armenian-Azerbaijani peace talks. “They agreed that the increasing frequency of these meetings has significantly contributed to an enhanced dialogue between the parties and forward movement toward finalizing the Basic Principles for the Peaceful Settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, proposed in Madrid on November 29, 2007,” read the statement.

The statement said Nalbandian and Mammadyarov reaffirmed their countries’ stated “commitment to work intensively to resolve the remaining issues” and cut a framework deal based on the internationally recognized principles of non-use of force or threat of force, territorial integrity and self-determination of peoples.

Earlier in the day, the European Union called for an “appropriate combination” of these principles through Foreign Minister Carl Bildt of Sweden, the current holder of the EU presidency. “We call again upon Armenia and Azerbaijan to take the necessary decisions to achieve a breakthrough with the endorsement of the Basic Principles proposed in Madrid on November 29, 2007,” Bildt told the OSCE conference.

Kouchner also mentioned the Karabakh conflict in his speech at the gathering, speaking of “significant progress” in the negotiating process. “Now is the time to make decisions and I exhort the two parties to seize upon the chance offered to them and finalize, without delay, the principles of settlement proposed to them,” he said.

Both Nalbandian and Mammadyarov stressed the importance of the five-party statement. The Armenian minister emphasized the fact that Azerbaijan signed up to the principle of self-determination that has long been championed by the Armenian side.

“I hope that there will also be a statement by the ministerial conference,” Nalbandian told journalists. “I hope it too will mention these three principles of non-use of force or threat of its use, self-determination and territorial integrity which we have pointed out for months.”

“Of course this is not yet a solution to the problem,” he added. “These are only the main principles that will form the basis of negotiations aimed at bringing the parties’ positions on the principles contained in the Madrid document closer to each other.”

“The more intensive the negotiating process is, the more points of convergence could be found,” Mammadyarov said for his part. “That is very useful for pushing forward negotiations and approaching the completion of discussions of the basic principles and the subsequent signing of a comprehensive peace accord.”

Neither minister would be drawn on possible time frames for finalizing the basic principles that envisage a gradual resolution of the conflict. Nor did they mention the possibility of yet another meeting of the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents in the coming weeks.

The two leaders have held six face-to-face meetings this year. According to the mediators, they made progress “in some areas” at their last talks held in Munich on November 22.

OSCE Minsk Group Statement

The Heads of Delegation of the OSCE Minsk Group, Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation Sergei Lavrov, Foreign Minister of France Bernard Kouchner, and Deputy Secretary of State of the United States James Steinberg, released the following statement on Tuesday:

The Heads of Delegation of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair countries, Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation Sergei Lavrov, Foreign Minister of France Bernard Kouchner, and Deputy Secretary of State of the United States James Steinberg met in Athens on December 1 with the Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan Elmar Mammadyarov and Foreign Minister of Armenia Edward Nalbandian.

The five Heads of Delegation recalled the commitments in the November 2008 Moscow Declaration and the December 2008 Helsinki OSCE Ministerial Statement. They noted the positive dynamic in the talks, demonstrated through six meetings this year between the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan. They agreed that the increasing frequency of these meetings has significantly contributed to an enhanced dialogue between the parties and forward movement toward finalizing the Basic Principles for the Peaceful Settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, proposed in Madrid on November 29, 2007.

Foreign Ministers Lavrov and Kouchner and Deputy Secretary Steinberg reiterated the commitment of their countries, as expressed in the Joint Statement on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict at the L’Aquila Summit of the Eight on July 10, issued by their three Presidents, to support the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan as they complete work on the Basic Principles and urged that the parties complete this work as soon as possible. They stressed that agreement on the Basic Principles would provide the framework for a comprehensive settlement to promote a future of peace, stability, and prosperity for the entire region.

The Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan reported on progress during the course of this year in achieving common understandings on points of the Basic Principles. They stated the willingness of their countries to complete work on the Basic Principles, as stipulated by the Presidents of the Co-Chair countries at L’Aquila. The Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to work intensively to resolve the remaining issues, to reach an agreement based, in particular, upon the principles of the Helsinki Final Act of Non-Use of Force or Threat of Force, Territorial Integrity, and the Equal Rights and Self-Determination of Peoples.


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  1. manooshag said:

    Hye, above all, it was a war – begun by Azeris… Azeris shall agree that Armenians won the war!
    Armenians won the war and shall have the rights there of…

  2. Bruce Tasker said:

    Amazing that Nalbandian continues to imply that territorial integrity is a major success for Armenia. All international parties, supported by numerous resolutions and agreements, recognize that the territorial integrity of Karabakh and the surrounding territories will always belong to Azerbaijan. Nalbandian and Sargsyan know that better than anybody and will be fully aware of that fact when they sign on to the Karabakh deal.

  3. Lusik said:

    Today I have had a chance to talk about a Basic Rule – do not say he/she about a person in presence. Artsakh is present in all these discussions. But is not invited to be physically present. This makes the whole work a bluff.
    Armenia has never enjoyed the principle of Territorial Integrity. Contrary, Armenia was always denied this Basic Principle. There is no moral ground for a diplomat of a civilized country to force Armenia to apply it for the benefit of a hostile country. Seems like the whole farce was for giving Lavrov (Russia) an opportunity to articulate the concept of Territorial Integrity – a “Basic Principle”, year ago broken in Georgia; abused by Turkey – most recently in Cyprus; abused without restrain by western “country brokers”. The most fresh, impressive pearl remains Kosovo (pride of Kouchner).

  4. Pingback: Mediators Press Armenia, Azerbaijan To Seal Karabakh Deal … | azerbaijantoday

  5. Artin said:

    Don’t hold your breath Bruce. We’re not talking about a simple protocol-border deal between Armenia and Turkey. We’re talking about thousands of Armenians that gave the blood of their sons and daughters to liberate those lands. All Armenian leaders know that very well, and also know very well that if they try to sign away the land, the next casualty of the war will be themselves. Somehow I don’t think Karabagh Armenians give a damn about what the international community thinks, even though they can play the international game like anybody. You obviously don’t know much about those people.

  6. Dino Ajemian said:

    To Bruce Tasker:
    “will always” never is the case in history. Artsakh never belonged to azerbaijan as is the case of Nakhichevan. There is no legally binding document that allows so called azerbaijan to possess those lands. Also the lachin corridor and the Qazakh area between Armenia and the Kura river were illegally transfered from Armenia to so called azerbaijan in the 1920’s. The brutal azeri rule of the Armenians in  Nakhichevan is clearly what awaits the Armenians of Artsakh. Self determination trumps territorial integrity. Kosovo is a good example. The great powers make up the rules as they go along.  After all, if it was so clear cut then the barbarians rulers in baku would be in control of all of Artsakh a long time ago. How’s that bruce?Fine ‘n dandy? As we all know this will drag out for many more years and with a change in regime in Armenia the terms of azeri capitulation will be harder. Or you can attack Artsakh and Armenia again and you will lose more land. Originally Armenian land I might add. Land that was Armenian way before the nomads came from central asia.

  7. Armen said:

    What I think Nalbandian is trying to say is that, ‘Territorial Integrity’ is not a stand alone theory. It is universally accepted by all members of the United Nations that it must go hand in hand with the principle of ‘Self-Determination’ of the people or minorities living in a given territory.  
    In other words, if minorities are oppressed politically, socially or economically; if their lives are in danger and if as a group of people, they represent a distinct nation, with a separate dynamic culture, language, history and religion; if they can organize their own democratic institutions, government, run elections, have ministries, they can call a referendum and win it, as they did, then declare independence from the oppressor.  RNK fulfills all of the above conditions recognized by the United Nations, plus they have an army to defend themselves and they won a war which they did not start!
    ‘Territorial Integrity’ is only 50% of the story. The other 50% is ‘Self-Determination’. You cannot have one without the other. You cannot pick and chose to suit your self-interests. This dual condition is specifically designed by the United Nations so that the rights and freedoms of minorities will not be trampled by those who rule a ‘territory’. Same conditions apply to any country around the globe, such as democratic and civilized Canada, with the issue of Quebec, Belgium, Switzerland, etc.

  8. areg mansuryan said:

    Mediators should and must be reminded that Armenians will not give up a centimeter of Armenian liberated lands. What is Armenian land will stay Armenian land. Long live free and independent Artsakh…

  9. Ishkhan Babajanian MD said:

    Now is the right time  to  remind  the  Mediators   That  in first  place   they  need   to  start  negotiations   with   Republic  of   Karabakh   Government   as  soon  as   possible   If  realy   they  want peace?

  10. John said:

    Dear Mr. tasker,
    I am not sure if you agree with the assumtion that Karabakh shold be within Azerbaiajan or not. Or you think the word governments will pressure Armenia to give in. Nevertheless, historically it is a fact and has been proven (and is very easy to prove), tht Karabakh has ALWAYS been an Armenian land. Whether the big powers will follow that principal or their own interests, is a different issue.

  11. Ara Sabounjian said:

    Before writing such a comment, please refer to some history. Enlighten yourself by at least going to the following website:
    At that time you will understand who that land belonged to! We will fight for our rights and not even the international community has the right to deprive us from our land.

  12. Samvel Jeshmaridian, PhD said:

    It is vice versa, Armenia is under press. Everyone in Armenia knows that this situation, which diplomatically is called “Chari verjy,” is the consequence of 10/27/99.

  13. Bruce Tasker said:

    Dear John / Ara / Artin,
    I do not assert that Karabakh has ‘never’ been a part of Armenia, I simply state a fact, that the UN and other international bodies recognize Karabakh as Azerbaijani territory. I do not know who is going to fight for their rights over that territory (although I certainly would), but whilst you are all promoting the faithful Armenian position, your Sargsyan and Nalbandian are busy selling you down the river, the same way they have just done with Armenia’s Genocide. They are simply biding their time for the fall-out from their sell-out of the Armenian Genocide to die down.
    It will not be the international community depriving you from your land, although they are pressing very hard,  but as I have been raising awareness of for the past four years, it will be Sargsyan and Nalbandian depriving you from your land, not for the good of the Armenian nation, but for massive financial reward.