YEREVAN (Azatutyun.am)—Nagorno-Karabakh’s leadership has accused Azerbaijan of misrepresenting a meeting of Azerbaijani and Karabakh officials hosted by the commander of Russian peacekeeping forces on Wednesday.
The two sides gave differing accounts of the agenda and purpose of the meeting held amid the continuing Azerbaijani blockade of the Lachin corridor.
The authorities in Stepanakert said its participants discussed the restoration of “unimpeded” traffic thorough the corridor and Armenia’s electricity and natural gas supplies to Karabakh also blocked by Baku.
An official Azerbaijani readout of the talks said, however, that they focused on the Karabakh Armenians’ “integration into Azerbaijan.” One of the Azerbaijani negotiators, Ramin Mammadov, told Azerbaijani media that this is the key objective of the “dialogue.”
“The participants of the meeting did not discuss issues related to the political status of the Republic of Artsakh,” read a statement released by the Karabakh foreign ministry late on Wednesday. “The comments made by the Azerbaijani side regarding the results of the meeting do not correspond to reality.”
“Such discussions organized for the purpose of solving urgent issues and, in particular, the lifting of the blockade of Artsakh cannot be a substitute for full-fledged peace negotiations which are necessary for the comprehensive settlement of the Azerbaijani-Karabakh conflict,” added the statement.
It also said that the Russian peacekeepers have repeatedly organized such talks before.
Azerbaijan has been trying to regain full control of Karabakh since its victory in the 2020 war with Armenia. Speaking after his February 18 talks with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in Munich, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said Baku is ready to negotiate with the Karabakh Armenians over their “minority” rights.
The Karabakh president, Arayik Harutyunyan, reiterated on Wednesday that Stepanakert will continue to resist Azerbaijani rule.