Russian President Dmitry Medvedev spoke of such possibility after hosting fresh talks between his Armenian and Azerbaijani counterparts in Astrakhan, southern Russia last week. He expressed hope that Armenia and Azerbaijan will agree on the basic principles of a Karabakh settlement in time for the OSCE summit to be held in Kazakhstan on December 1-2.
“We held detailed discussions in Astrakhan over the Karabakh settlement,” Azerbaijani news agencies quoted Mammadyarov as saying during a visit to Istanbul. “The presidents of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia instructed the foreign ministers to hold a new meeting for discussing details of the settlement.”
“Right now, we are working on the holding of that meeting, and only after it will it be possible to say anything regarding the positions of the parties,” he said, adding that they may work out a “roadmap” to peace.
Mammadyarov Armenian counterpart, Edward Nalbandian, last week described the Astrakhan talks as “important and useful” but did not comment on chances of the signing of an Armenian-Azerbaijani peace accord.
Armenia - David Shahnazarian, a leader of the opposition Armenian National Congress, during a press-conference, Yerevan, 16Oct, 2009
In a joint statement adopted in Astrakhan, the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents pledged to seek a “politico-diplomatic” solution to the dispute and boost the ceasefire regime in the conflict zone. They also agreed to exchange prisoners of war and bodies of killed soldiers.
The statement was on Wednesday denounced as “dangerous” by Davit Shahnazarian, a senior member of the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK). “With that document signed at the presidential level, Armenia admitted that it has been and is at war with Azerbaijan,” Shahnazarian said. That, he told journalists, is a serious blow to Armenian efforts to restore the Karabakh Armenians’ direct involvement in the peace process.
But another senior HAK figure, former Foreign Minister Aleksandr Arzumanian, disagreed, downplaying the statement’s significance. “International conventions oblige everyone -- the Armenian, Azerbaijani and Karabakh sides -- to exchange prisoners of war and repatriate bodies of the dead,” he told a news conference.