Prague, Warsaw, Strasburg

PanArmenian News
May 13 2004


Next round of Karabakh talks may be more important.

The second meeting of the FMs of Armenia and Azerbaijan took place in
Strasbourg within the frames of the session of Foreign Ministers of
the Council of Europe member-countries. No information available
about the results of the meeting.

/PanARMENIAN.Net/ We shall remind that the Azeri Minister said
recently that the most important issue to be discussed in Strasburg
was the possibility of exchange of territories for communications.
The matter concerns an idea according to which the Armenian forces
will cede to Azerbaijan seven regions that make a security zone
around the NKR, in exchange Baku removes the blockade. It should be
clarified that the activation of the communications is more important
for Azerbaijan and not so much for Armenia because the railway
passing via Meghri is the only way to have links with the enclave of
Nakhichevan. Thus, proposing such an interesting ”exchange”, in
Baku they should not expect any result.

However, President Aliyev confirmed on the eve of the meeting that
the idea would be discussed in Strasburg. The Russian co-chair of the
OSCE Minsk group Yuri Merzlyakov clarified the issue. He said that
the agenda of the meeting would be ”free”. Parties and co-chairs
may propose everything they want, according to him. However, if
Mamedyarov proposes the idea of the security zone in exchange for
restoration of railway communications, it does not mean that the
discussion will take place. The Armenian party has always stated it
is not going to discuss such proposals. The issue will be closed as
soon as Vartan Oskanyan voices the official position of the Armenian
party. So, there is an impression that Mamedyarov’s statement was
supposed only for the local audience.

And what was discussed in Strasburg? We shall remind that according
to Merzlyakov, the ideas proposed by mediators during the Paris
meeting of Ministers and discussed further on by Kocharian and Aliyev
were the subject of discussion. He said only that it was an attempt
to find a ”compromise variant between the package and stage-by-stage
versions” of the conflict settlement.

The approaches of the parties to the proposed ideas may become clear
during the next round of high level talks. And if a progress is
achieved, Kocharian and Aliyev will commission their delegates, Tatul
Margaryan and Araz Azimov, to continue the negotiations. By the way,
according to the press, the delegates did not meet separately in
Strasburg which means that the parties are not sure that Margaryan
and Azimov will have to continue the interrupted contacts.