YEREVAN (ArmRadio)—Armenian Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian blamed Azerbaijan on Wednesday for creating unnecessary obstacles in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process.
The Armenian diplomat highlighted setbacks and roadblocks to peace talks during a speech to 47 foreign ministers gathered in Strasbourg for an annual session of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers.
“For over a year Azerbaijan was rejecting the existence of [a peace plan], until they announced recently that they accept the proposals with certain reservations,” Nalbandian said. “Azerbaijan not only continues distorting the reasons, consequences and the essence of the conflict, but also uses every opportunity to come forth with a threat of force on all levels.”
Azerbaijan was criticized for its belligerent war rhetoric earlier this year when an OSCE Ministerial meeting in Athens issued a statement criticizing Baku for its repeated threats to use force to resolve the conflict.
“The statement emphasizes the non-use of force or the threat of force, the right of people to self-determination and territorial integrity as basic principles of conflict settlement,” Nalbandian said, adding that those points make up the basic principles for a framework peace proposed by the OSCE Minsk Group in 2007.
Among the other obstacles Nalbandian spoke of was an attempt by Turkey and Azerbaijan to make a pro-Azeri resolution to the Karabakh conflict necessary for the normalization of relations between Armenia and Turkey.
After protocols were signed between Yerevan and Ankara, Nalbandian said, “Turkey returned to the language of preconditions it had been using before the start of the process and actually stopped the process of ratification of the protocols in the Turkish Parliament.” Those preconditions included a demand that Armenia agree to settle the Karabakh conflict in Azerbaijan’s favor.
“That is why the Armenian President decided to suspend the ratification process in Armenia until Ankara is again ready to continue the process without preconditions. This decision was welcomed by the international community.”