By Anna Saghabalian
The Armenian government will not to seek domestic popular support for a compromise solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict favored by international mediators until it is accepted by Azerbaijan, Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian indicated on Friday.
In their recent statements that disclosed the essence of the proposed peace deal, the French, Russian and U.S. co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group urged the presidents of Armenia to display the necessary “political will” and prepare their publics for mutual painful concessions on Karabakh.
“We think the parties would be well-served at this point by allowing their publics to engage in a robust discussion of the many viewpoints on those issues,” read their statement issued on June 22. “We are confident that neither society wants renewed conflict, and we urge the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan to work with their publics and to work with each other to formulate an agreement on core principles that both find acceptable.”
But according to Oskanian, initiating a public debate in Armenia will be pointless unless Azerbaijan accepts the Minsk Group plan as a basis for further negotiations. “I am not making and will not make any attempts to convince anyone, and especially our people, that the provisions of that document must be accepted, because the Azerbaijani side has yet to accept it,” he told reporters.
Official Yerevan has said that it finds the framework peace accord, which calls for a referendum of self-determination in Karabakh, largely acceptable to the Armenian side. The Azerbaijani leadership appears to be less supportive of the proposed formula, with President Ilham Aliev repeatedly stating that Baku will never agree to Karabakh’s independence or reunification with Armenia.