In his haste to respond to detractors, Armenia’s Foreign Minister, Eduard Nalbandian, Monday, speaking for the first time since the two-day Moscow presidential meetings, attempted to clarify Armenia’s position on matters of urgent importance. However, his statements raised more questions than provided answers.
One of the points Nalbandian attempted to clarify was refuting statements by his Azeri counterpart regarding the existence of a timetable for the withdrawal from the liberated territories surrounding the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. “I can tell you that this issue has not been discussed at the Moscow meeting,” insisted Nalbandian.
What the foreign minister did not clarify is whether Armenia is engaged in any discussion related to withdrawal from any territory surrounding Karabakh. Last week when Nalbandian was in Stepanakert for talks with Karabakh leaders, he told a press conference that Armenia has always insisted on ensuring there is land corridor connecting Armenia and Karabakh.
Furthermore, the foreign minister added that without the consent of the people and leadership of Karabakh no agreement will be signed. Will the leadership and people Karabakh ever consent to conceding any territory that was liberated during the war?
Then there is the other elephant in the room: the so-called “roadmap” agreement announced on April 22.
Nalbandian on Monday said that Armenia has not agreed to the formation of a historical commission to study the Genocide, but almost in the same breath detailed the formation of an inter-governmental commission, whose sub-commissions will be tasked to “deal with various issues, including the issue of the restoration of mutual trust between the two peoples.”
“The restoration of mutual trust” is a loaded statement given that even in this climate of détente official Ankara continues to place preconditions. As recently as Monday, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said that Turkey-Armenia borders will not open until the resolution of the Karabakh conflict.
Furthermore, in pursuing this agenda, official Yerevan has shown its willingness to compromise on critical principles. First, there was the complete disregard for the fact that Turkey closed its border and blockaded Armenia [the word blockade seems to have disappeared from Armenia’s vernacular], so President Serzh Sarkisian’s initial gesture for rapprochement was ill-conceived; second was the “roadmap” announcement, which came two days before April 24; and, third is the nebulous posturing of the Armenian authorities regarding the historical commission.
Evidently, putting those who dare to disagree with Yerevan’s policies in their place is more of a priority to Nalbandian than providing an honest and comprehensive assessment of realities that will impact all Armenians.