The U.S., French and Russian co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group could again modify their basic principles of resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov indicated over the weekend.
“The co-chairs have to relay our existing position to the Armenian side,” he told journalists, according to the Azerbaijani APA news agency. “The co-chairs will then discuss the overall situation and may well come up with new proposals.”
Armenia declined to comment on this. The Armenian Foreign Ministry only rejected Mammadyarov renewed claims that Yerevan is to blame for the lack of further progress in the process.
Mammadyarov made the comments in Venice the day after meeting the mediating troika to discuss the current status of Armenian-Azerbaijani peace talks. In a joint statement issued on Friday, the mediators said they “assessed next steps in the near future to restore momentum to the peace process.” The statement gave no details.
“No breakthrough agreement was reached, but the meeting was very useful,” the Russian co-chair, Igor Popov, was quoted by APA as saying. He said the mediators plan to pay yet another visit to the conflict zone by the end of this month.
Mammadyarov again claimed that Armenia is refusing to accept the proposed framework agreement on Karabakh which was modified by the mediating powers late last year. He insisted that the document is acceptable to Azerbaijan “with the exception of certain points.”
Mammadyarov also renewed Azerbaijani allegations that Yerevan is stalling for time in the negotiating process. Baku will agree to hold more talks with Armenian leaders only if they display “a sincere desire to achieve progress,” he said.
In a written statement issued later on Monday, Armenian Foreign Ministry spokesman Tigran Balayan rejected these claims, saying Baku itself is preventing a breakthrough in the protracted peace talks by “fruitlessly distorting the essence of the conflict and the content of the negotiating process.”
Armenian officials repeatedly stated earlier that the “exceptions” cited by the Azerbaijanis are quite significant. They also played down the still unpublicized changes in the basic principles which were first submitted to the conflicting parties, in writing, in late 2007.