OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs Update Madrid Document


2009-07-28 12:24:00

ArmInfo. International mediators have modified their proposed
framework peace agreement on Nagorno-Karabakh to increase chances of
its acceptance by Armenia and Azerbaijan, a top U.S. official said
on Monday, Radio Liberty reported.

The three co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group representing the United
States, Russia and France met in the Polish city of Krakow at the
weekend to discuss ways of pushing the Karabakh peace further forward
following fresh talks held by the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents
in Moscow on July 17-18.

In a joint statement issued ahead of those talks, the presidents of
the three mediating powers said they have instructed the co-chairs to
present the conflicting parties with an "updated version" of their
basic principles of a Karabakh settlement that were formally put
forward in Madrid in November 2007.

"As directed by our three presidents in their joint declaration of
July 10, 2009, we prepared an updated version of the Madrid Document,"
the U.S. co-chair, Matthew Bryza, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service,
commenting on the Krakow meeting. He described the meeting as
"productive and creative."

"We now have a chance to finalize the Basic Principles," said Bryza. He
praised Armenia’s and Azerbaijan’s leaders for being "constructive"
and making "significant progress" in the long-running peace talks.

"The co-chairs also express their thanks to former President [Robert]
Kocharian and Foreign Minister [Vartan] Oskanian whose thoughts
and efforts helped lay the foundation for the Madrid Document,"
added Bryza. "We have now moved beyond that document under Armenia’s
current leaders, President [Serzh] Sarkisian and Foreign Minister
[Eduard] Nalbandian, who have helped elicit progress in tough but
constructive negotiations over the past year."

Sticking to the confidentiality of the long-running peace process, the
U.S. official did not specify whether the basic principles underwent
significant changes. He said only that he and fellow co-chairs Yuri
Merzlyakov and Bernard Fassier "carefully considered the views
expressed by the sides since we presented the Madrid Document in
November 2007."

Contrary to the mediators’ expectations, Sarkisian and Azerbaijani
President Ilham Aliyev failed to bridge their remaining differences
over those principles during their July 17 one-on-one discussion in
Moscow. According to Merzlyakov, the two leaders made more progress
when they met in the presence of their Russian counterpart, Dmitry
Medvedev, the next day.

"There are interesting solutions which the presidents found in the
trilateral format," Merzlyakov told the Azerbaijani Trend news agency
on July 22. "I think that this could produce a positive result in
the future."