BAKU: OSCE Sees "Madrid Principles" As Acceptable For Both Sides


AzerNews Weekly
July 21 2009

The Madrid principles for resolving the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict
over Upper (Nagorno) Garabagh, being discussed by the sides, should
be sufficiently acceptable for both Baku and Yerevan, OSCE Secretary
General Marc Perrin de Brichambaut told a news conference in Baku
on Friday.

The leaders of the countries co-chairing the OSCE Minsk Group mediating
the peace process adopted a joint statement on the Madrid principles
at a recent G8 summit in Italy. US President Barack Obama, France`s
Nicolas Sarkozy and Russia`s Dmitry Medvedev called on Armenian and
Azerbaijani leaders to resolve their differences and move towards
a final accord on the long-standing conflict. The three presidents
indicated that they were instructing their mediators to present to
Presidents Ilham Aliyev and Serzh Sarkisian "an updated version of
a proposed peace outline brought forward in the Madrid Document of
November 2007."

Brichambaut said it was possible to foster rapprochement in the
positions of the sides based on the Madrid principles.

"Naturally, these principles cannot satisfy both sides to the same
extent. But talks can be carried on regarding these principles…The
parties should take advantage of these opportunities. There is
potential to reach peace."

Brichambaut said the leaders of the Minsk Group co-chairing states
are not trying to put pressure on the conflicting sides by elaborating
on the mentioned set of basic principles for the conflict settlement
presented in the Spanish capital, and their only goal is to persuade
the societies of Azerbaijan and Armenia that a peaceful solution of
the dispute is possible.

The OSCE secretary general said the peace process has been intensifying
of late, emphasizing that President Aliyev is interested in continuing
negotiations. "He hopes that outstanding challenges will be overcome,
while taking into account Azerbaijan`s interests, and there will be
progress in the peace process."

According to the US State Department, among the principles called for
in the Madrid Document were "the return of the territories surrounding
Upper Garabagh to Azerbaijani control and an interim status for Upper
Garabagh providing guarantees for security and self-government." It
also embraced "a corridor linking Armenia to Upper Garabagh" as well
as a future determination of the final legal status of Upper Garabagh
"through a legally binding expression of will" and the right of
"internally displaced persons and refugees to return to their former
places of residence."

Meanwhile, Armenian Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian claimed that
the Madrid principles were merely proposals.

"These are just proposals, and some of them are currently under
discussion, while others are not," he said after meeting Bako Saakian,
the leader of the self-proclaimed Upper Garabagh republic, in Khankandi
on Thursday.

Armenian media quoted him as saying, while commenting on the provision
in the Madrid document stipulating the return of Azerbaijanis ousted
from their homes during military action in the early 1990s, that the
issue of the displaced persons` return to Garabagh was not currently
being discussed.

"We can go back to discussing this issue only after a complete solution
of the problem is achieved," he said.

Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov said earlier, while
commenting on the issue of Upper Garabagh`s status, that it could be
tabled only after Azerbaijani IDPs return home.

The conflict between the two South Caucasus republics reared up
in the late 1980s due to Armenia`s territorial claims. Armenia has
been occupying over 20% of Azerbaijan`s internationally-recognized
territory since the early 1990s in defiance of international law.