Aliyev, Sarkisian Avoid Contact at CIS Summit

Leaders at the informal CIS Summit

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—The presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan avoided holding more face-to-face talks on the sidelines of an informal summit of seven former Soviet republics held in Yalta, Ukraine over the weekend.

President Serzh Sarkisian’s office said their leaders discussed ways of boosting “economic integration” within the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). It reported no separate meetings between Sarkisian and other participants, among them Azerbaijan’s Ilham Aliyev and Russia’s Dmitry Medvedev.

The Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents have often used CIS summits for negotiations on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Sarkisian’s spokesman, Armen Arzumanian, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service ahead of the summit that no such meeting is planned at Yalta.

Aliyev and Sarkisian already held talks in Saint Petersburg, Russia, hosted by Medvedev, as recently as on June 17. They were followed by the most serious Armenian-Azerbaijani ceasefire violation in Karabakh in over two years, which sharply heightened tensions between the conflicting sides and prompted serious concern from international mediators.

The United States, Russia and France have urged both sides to exercise restraint and iron out their differences on a framework peace accord proposed by the three mediating powers. The latter hope to broker further progress in the negotiating process at the upcoming meeting in Almaty, Kazakhstan of the Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers.

However, bitter recriminations traded between Baku and Yerevan in recent days have called into question the success of that meeting. The Armenian Foreign Ministry on Friday strongly denied Azerbaijani claims that the Almaty talks will focus on details of Armenian troop withdrawal from Azerbaijani territories surrounding Karabakh. It accused Baku of seeking to torpedo the peace process earlier in the week.

A spokesman for Bako Sahakian, the president of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, said on Monday that the authorities in Stepanakert have no expectations from the Almaty meeting because of Azerbaijan’s “extremely non-constructive” position. “It leaves no room for the search for a mutually acceptable compromise solution,” Davit Babayan told RFE/RL’s Armenian service.

Babayan pointed to Azerbaijani leaders’ insistence that the principle of territorial integrity take precedence over that of peoples’ self-determination championed by the Armenian side. “They must understand one thing. For Karabakh, a return to 1988, in terms of both the status and territory, is out of question,” he said.


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  1. areg minasyan said:

    Is giving away Armenian liberated lands a compromise solution to this conflict? Certainly not. Armenians have nothing to compromise with Azeri-Turks. Armenians must ask for return of all Armenian territories occupied by Azerbaijan and Turkey. The civilized world must punish Turkey and Azerbaijan for crimes of Genocide. Enough of Serzh Sargsyans hand shaking and smiley face gestures towards these barbarian Turks. And enough of the United States, Russia, France, Germany and all others to be fooled by these blood thirsty Turks. No matter what type of clothings these animals wear, they can not hide the fact of being turks. The Turk will always remain a Turk.

  2. areg minasyan said:

    Serzh Sargsyan must stop this kissy-kissy relation with Ilham Aliev. The Artsakh people have already decided their faith and destiny;therefore, everybody else including Serzh Sargsyan buzz-off.