By Hrach Melkumian
The presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan discussed new peace proposals on Nagorno-Karabakh jointly made by their foreign ministers but did not reach any agreements during talks in Kazakhstan last week, Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian said on Wednesday.
Oskanian indicated that he and his Azerbaijani counterpart Elmar Mamedyarov have suspended their regular negotiations pending further instructions from the two leaders. “I think that there will be some break,” he told a news conference in Yerevan.
Oskanian and Mamedyarov have met for four times since last April in the presence of French, Russian and U.S. diplomats mediating in the peace process. According to Oskanian, the start of “the second stage” of the meetings now depends on decisions to be taken by Presidents Ilham Aliev and Robert Kocharian.
“A certain basis for the negotiations was created by the foreign ministers and passed on to the presidents,” he said. “There were some expectations that the presidents will give their consent or make some corrections and give the ministers clear instructions to continue in that direction. But that did not take place as a result of the meeting between the presidents.”
Aliev and Kocharian discussed the Karabakh conflict at length on the sidelines of a CIS summit held in the Kazakh capital Astana. They were joined at different points by Russian President Vladimir Putin and the mediating troika. "We need time … the process is continuing in a constructive way," Kocharian said afterward.
In Oskanian’s words, the two presidents agreed to continue their discussions on the peace proposals which he refused to disclose. He also declined to comment on reports that one of the ideas considered by them calls for an Armenian withdrawal from some of the occupied Azerbaijani territories around Karabakh in return for an internationally supervised referendum of independence in the disputed region.
Oskanian was scheduled to hold a trilateral meeting with the Azerbaijani and Turkish foreign ministers in New York later this week. He confirmed reports that the meeting has been cancelled.