BAKU, MOSCOW (Combined Sources)—The participation of Karabakh in the peace talks at this juncture is “out of the question,” said Azeri Foreign Ministry spokesman Elkhan Polukhov Tuesday, after the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan reportedly agreed to a preamble of an updated version of the so-called “Madrid Principles” at a meeting with their Russian counterpart Monday in Sochi.
“There is no doubt that the Armenian community of Nagorno Karabakh will join the negotiations at some point, but, currently, it is out of the question, since it would be wrong and unacceptable to involve a non-party to the conflict in the process,” said Polukhov as reported by the APA news agency.
Polukhov said that reports of Karabakh’s participation in the talks were merely an effort by the Armenian media to “calm the Armenian audience.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov Monday announced that presidents Serzh Sarkisian and Ilham Aliyev had agreed to a preamble of the Madrid principles during a meeting with Russian President Demitry Medvedev. Sources close to the process reported that the preamble of the revised principles included a provision on Karabakh’s participation in the talks.
Polukhov said only Armenia and Azerbaijan were sides to conflict and thus the lead parties in the negotiations.
Meanwhile Russian OSCE Minsk Group co-chairman Yuri Merzlyakov reported that Armenia and Azerbaijan will have two weeks to submit their proposals on the provisions of the Madrid principles, on which the parties have not reached a mutual understanding.
Merzlyakov said that after reviewing the proposals, he and his fellow co-chairmen from France and the US would return to the region for further discussions.
None of the sides commented publicly after the tri-lateral meeting in Sochi. However, an Armenia Public Radio reporter observed that the president and foreign minister of Azerbaijan were visibly anxious as they emerged from the meetings.
ArmRadio also reported that when the presidents arrived at the Adler airport to meet the Minsk Group Co-Chairs, Azeri president Aliyev did not event greet reporters, which the radio correspondent viewed as another sign of his irritation.