MOSCOW IN KARABAKH’S DEAD END
by Svetlana Gamova, Sokhbet Mamedov
What the Papers Say (Russia)
July 22, 2009 Wednesday
THE AZERBAIJANI-ARMENIAN MEETING IN MOSCOW: COMPROMISE REMAINS OUT OF
REACH; Yerevan and Baku are no closer to the Nagorno-Karabakh solution.
The meeting between the heads of Armenia and Azerbaijan in Moscow
in the presence of the Russian president last week-end inevitably
became the talk of the day in Yerevan, Baku, and Stepanakert. No
wonder, since the meeting was centered around Nagorno-Karabakh. This
Tuesday, Azerbaijani officials hailed the Madrid Principles of conflict
settlement based on the return of the Azerbaijani territories occupied
by the Armenians. Their counterparts in Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh
in the meantime condemned these principles as "treason" and pinned
the blame on intermediaries. On Russia, in other words.
The propaganda that preceded the Azerbaijani-Armenian meeting in
Moscow promised the involved parties a solution to the problem of
Nagorno-Karabakh. A solution arranged by Russia, of course.
The very first reaction to the meeting, however, made it plain
that a compromise in the matter was still out of reach. Official
Baku hails the Madrid Principles as the basis of all and any
negotiations while Yerevan and Stepanakert refuse to even acknowledge
them. Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan Elmar Mamedjarov said at the
press conference in Baku this Monday that participants in the Moscow
meeting had discussed the return of five districts occupied by the
Armenian forces to Azerbaijan as the first step towards conflict
settlement, one to be followed by determination of the status of
Nagorno-Karabakh. Mamedjarov called it a reasonable and true way
of dealing with the problem. Karabakh proclaimed this way erroneous
that same day. Some non-governmental organizations from Karabakh even
called the very talks between intermediaries "volatile" for the region.
Experts attribute it all to the traditional mutually exclusive
comments from participants in the talks that thoroughly confused
general public wondering that the leaders of the two countries had
discussed in the space of nearly three hours and what offers Dmitry
Medvedev had made them.
"The meeting between the presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia may
have failed to result in an immediate breakthrough, but reactivation
of the talks makes us happy – and particularly Russia’s activeness
does. Negotiations with [President of Russia Medvedev instill the
hope in a successful completion of the process of negotiations,"
Mamedjarov said at the press conference. He even announced that "the
decision has been made on withdrawal of the Armenian troops from the
territory of Nagorno-Karabakh."
Mamedjarov’s Armenian opposite number Edward Nalbandjan refuted his
words that same day.
"Armenia has never officially voiced approval of the Madrid offers. All
we said was that they were a basis for negotiations," Nalbandjan
said. As for the withdrawal of troops and refugees’ return, the
Armenian foreign minister said that nothing of the sort had been so
much as mentioned at the meeting in Moscow.
President of Armenia Serj Sargsjan meanwhile broached the matter
at the meeting with Foreign Minister of Sweden Karl Bildt in
Yerevan. "Azerbaijan nearby is distorting the point of the talks,"
he said. Sargsjan acknowledged that certain progress had been made but
"not without difficulties". He informed Bildt, "What we are doing at
this point is discussing the basic principles singled out from the
list of the so called Madrid Principles. Once that is done, we will
discuss the rest of the principles and finally come down to work on
the agreement as such."
"I’d say everyone should understand that status of Nagorno-Karabakh is
the principal issue," Sargsjan said. "This status should be determined
by free will and be legally binding. When we are finally through with
it, I’d say that the negotiations will be easier."
Exited by Baku’s words on the alleged agreement to withdraw the
Armenian forces from the occupied territories, political opposition
in Armenia had demanded Sargsjan’s impeachment.
From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress