Armenian Democrats Skeptical About Prospects For Nagorno-Karabakh Ta


July 21 2009

At this stage there are no prospects in the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement
process, said Aram Sargsian, leader of the Armenian Democratic Party.

"These talks in their current format and mandate do not and cannot have
any prospects for the simple reason that the parties have polarized
approaches, there is no atmosphere of confidence between the two
nations. Unless we create such atmosphere, we should not expect any
solution from the talks," Sargsian told a press conference in Yerevan
on Tuesday.

"Only through economic integration and other contacts shall we be
able to create a certain atmosphere, all the rest that is being done
is unnecessary games, a waste of time, because each meeting ends
in just statements about preparing the ground for another meeting,
and this may continue for another decade or so," Sargsian said.

The parties to the conflict "must be satisfied with what they have
achieved and work towards creating the atmosphere of confidence, and
also be ready to discuss the issue within the legal field, because
breaking the status quo will result in problems for both parties,"
he said.

Baku insists that the conflict be resolved gradually: at the first
stage Armenia will withdraw its troops from all seven occupied Azeri
territories around Nagorno-Karabakh and Azeri forced migrants will
return there. Economic cooperation between Azerbaijan and Armenia
could also resume at this stage.

At the second stage the parties will discuss the political status
of Nagorno-Karabakh proper. A referendum has been suggested as one
of the possible ways to determine the status. Baku is against any
attempt to separate Nagorno-Karabakh from Azerbaijan and offers a
high degree of autonomy to this region.

Armenia, for its part, offers to resolve the issue by trading seven
occupied areas of Azerbaijan outside Nagorno-Karabakh in exchange
for the enclave’s security. Yerevan says the return of the areas
and the Nagorno-Karabakh status are the issues that must be decided