YEREVAN—Armenian Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian told visiting OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmen that Azerbaijan wants to change the basic principles ahead of this weekend’s foreign ministers’ summit and an upcoming presidential meeting later this month in Kazan, Russia.
“Are the statements of Azerbaijani officials on the peacekeeping forces or other issues evidence of Baku’s willingness to agree to the proposals without any changes and amendments, something the Co-Chairs had called on the parties to do?” pondered Nalbandian.
The foreign minister was referring to statements made by his Azeri counterpart Elmar Mammadyarov who, after meeting with the co-chairs in Baku, said that international peacekeeping forces should be deployed to Karabakh ahead until a the status of Karabakh is determined through negotiations. The “Basic Principles” outline that the possibility of deploying forces would come after the determination of the legal status of Karabakh.
Nalbandian told France’s Bernard Fassier, the US’ Robert Bradtke, Russia’s Igor Popov and the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Andrzej Kasprzyk that “Armenia had given a clear-cut answer to the latest version of the basic principles.”
“It will be possible to achieve the expected progress if Azerbaijan also gives its consent,” added Nalbandian.
The latest version of the “Basic Principles” are the giving control of the liberated territories surrounding the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic; interim status for Karabakh and providing guarantees for security and self-governance; a corridor linking Armenia to Nagorno-Karabakh; future determination of the final legal status of Nagorno-Karabakh through “a legally binding expression of will”; the right of all internally displaced persons and refugees to return to their former places of residence; and international security guarantees that would include a peacekeeping operation
The OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmen issued an announcement, after holding a press conference in Karabakh.
“The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group (Ambassadors Bernard Fassier of France, Robert Bradtke of the United States, and Igor Popov of the Russian Federation) traveled June 6-9 to Baku, Nagorno-Karabakh, and Yerevan. Joined by Ambassador Andrzej Kasprzyk, Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, the Co-Chairs met separately with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, Armenian President Serge Sargsian, and the de facto authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh. In preparation for the upcoming meeting of Presidents Medvedev, Aliyev, and Sargsian, the Co-Chairs discussed with the sides steps to finalize and endorse the Basic Principles as a framework for a comprehensive peace settlement, as urged by Presidents Medvedev, Obama, and Sarkozy in their May 26 joint statement in Deauville, France,” said the statement.
“On June 7, the Co-Chairs crossed the Line of Contact by foot in the Agdam region. This was the third such crossing by the Co-Chairs in ten months – as many as were completed in the previous sixteen years combined – demonstrating that the sides can cooperate to implement and observe fully the 1994 ceasefire. In that regard, the Co-Chairs called upon the parties to avoid any provocative actions or statements that might undermine the negotiating process during this critical period,” concluded the statement.
According to Armenian Foreign Ministry press service, Nalbandian will leave for Moscow to participate in the meeting of the foreign ministers of Armenia, Russia and Azerbaijan on June 11.