By Emil Danielyan
Azerbaijan has flatly denied Armenian claims that it seems to be backtracking on some of the agreements on Nagorno-Karabakh reached by the two warring nations before the last meeting of their presidents.
Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian implied on Wednesday that this is the reason why Presidents Ilham Aliev and Robert Kocharian failed to achieve a breakthrough when they met in Saint Petersburg on June 9.
"It is not for the first time when Armenia in the person of its foreign minister, Mr. Vartan Oskanian, is trying to lay the blame on someone and mislead the world community,” the Day.az news service quoted an unnamed representative of the Azerbaijani Foreign Minister as saying.
The official said Baku stands for the continuation of the negotiating process on the basis of proposals made by the French, Russian and U.S. co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group. “Azerbaijan regarded in a very constructive way the latest proposals that the [OSCE Minsk Group] co-chairmen had made during their visit to the region on the eve of the St Petersburg summit,” the official said without elaborating.
The failure by Aliev and Kocharian to make further progress was a heavy blow to the mediators’ hopes for the signing of a peace agreement on Karabakh before the end of this year. With presidential elections due in both Armenia and Azerbaijan next year, the Karabakh conflict will likely remain unresolved at least until 2009.
The mediators said in the run-up to the Saint Petersburg meeting that the conflicting parties have agreed on most of the basic principles of a settlement and are very close to cutting a framework peace deal. It is not clear what caused the apparent collapse of the talks.