Karabakh conflict settlement after meetings with OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs

* Edward Nalbandian

While in Paris the Foreign Minister of Armenia, Edward Nalbandian, had a meeting with the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs Yuri Merzlyakov, Bernard Fassier and Robert Bradtke and the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office Andrzej Kasprzyk.

The meeting covered the latest developments in the negotiations on the Karabakh conflict settlement and the opportunities of the Co-Chairs' visit to the region in the near future.

The Co-Chairs informed Minister Nalbandian about the results of their meeting with the Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan on March 5.

Edward Nalbandian called the attention of the mediators to the continuous attempts of Azerbaijan to distort the essence of the conflict, underlining that they negatively affect the atmosphere of the talks and prevent the progress.

Touching upon Nagorno Karabakh's participation in the negotiations, Edward Nalbandian underlined that the resolution of the conflict is impossible without the immediate participation of the NKR leadership in the process.


* Andrei Nesterenko

“The replacement of the Russian co-chair Yuri Merzlyakov will not change Moscow's position in this format,” official of the Russian Foreign Ministry Andrei Nesterenko said, APA reports quoting RIA Novosti.

According to him, Yuri Merzlyakov has got new appointment, this is natural for the officer of the Foreign Ministry. Nesterenko expressed his hope that the new co-chair will work as vigorously as the previous co-chair.

“I would like to add that Russia's position in the OSCE Minsk Group is not determined by its representative. This position is determined by President of Russia and realized by the foreign ministry,” he said.

The diplomat added that Russia does its best to protect active participation in the Minsk Group.

The diplomat noted that there is no direct contact between Nagorno Karabakh conflict and normalization of Turkey-Armenia relations, but said the two processes can influence each other to some extent.

“Our principled position is that these processes must not depend on each other. Otherwise, both processes may stop,” he said.


* Stepan Grigoryan and Arman Melikyan

Super-activeness is observed in the settlement of the Karabakh issue, which speaks of certain possible developments, Head of Analytical Centre on Globalization and Regional Cooperation Stepan Grigoryan told a press conference today.

The political scientist is concerned about the fact that the updated Madrid document ignores the issue of holding a referendum and prioritizes the issues of the interim status of Nagorno Karabakh and deployment of peacekeepers.

In the Madrid Principles the main emphasis was placed on the referendum, and this satisfied Armenia, while the updated principles are acceptable to Azerbaijan, that's why official Baku declares those are good.

In the current situation the political scientists suggests toughening the position and demanding to sign a framework agreement where the Madrid principles will be included.

Ex-Foreign Minister of Nagorno Karabakh Arman Melikyan suggests recognizing the independence of Nagorno Karabakh on its current territory including Sahumyan, Getashen and Martakert. He says it's necessary to change the stance on the Karabakh issue. Otherwise, “the Armenian authorities will have no option other than surrendering the territories.”

As regards the Armenian-Turkish relations, Stepan Grigoryan and Arman Melikyan do not rule out that US President Barack Obama may use the word ‘genocide,' but this will not improve Armenia's situation.

Turkey will ally with Russia, and their alliance is dangerous to our country. In this case the Karabakh issue will be solved within hours not to the advantage of Armenia, the political scientists say.


* OSCE monitoring on contact-line

On March 16, according to the earlier achieved agreement with the Nagorno Karabakh Republic authorities, the OSCE Mission had to conduct scheduled monitoring of the NKR and Azerbaijani armed forces' contact-line, in the Askeran direction.

But, the monitoring was frustrated by the Azerbaijani party, which didn't lead the OSCE Mission members to the earlier agreed monitoring site, Press Service of the NKR Ministry of Foreign Affairs reports.

Earlier, the Karabakh party urged to hold monitoring just in this section of the contact-line, where gross violations of the cease-fire regime by the Azerbaijani armed forced had repeatedly taken place.


* Mohammad Baqer Bahrami

The Iranian Ambassador to Azerbaijan has said that Iran is ready to mediate to help resolve the Karabakh issue.

“Iran has announced its readiness to help the crisis in this region,” Mohammad Baqer Bahrami told the Mehr News Agency.

The ambassador added that Azerbaijan and Armenia have asked Iran to mediate in the dispute.

“The two sides have accepted that Iran (must) utilize all the potential which exists in the region to help resolve the crisis in this region,” he said.