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Karabakh Peace Process Not Dead, Says Sarkisian


Ukraine -- Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich (L) and his visiting Armenian counterpart Serzh Sarkisian inspect an honor guard, Kiev, 01Jul2011

Ukraine -- Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich (L) and his visiting Armenian counterpart Serzh Sarkisian inspect an honor guard, Kiev, 01Jul2011

International efforts to find a negotiated solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict will continue despite the failure of the latest Armenian-Azerbaijani summit in Russia, President Serzh Sarkisian said on Friday.


“I think that at least one chance [for peace] has been lost,” the RBK-Ukraine news agency quoted him as saying during an official visit to Ukraine. “It doesn’t mean the end of the negotiating process, it doesn’t mean that we will not be continuing our negotiations.”

“It means that we lost this period of time at least until the next meeting [with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev,],” Sarkisian told a joint news conference with Ukraine’s President Viktor Yanukovich.

The remarks were the Armenian leader’s first public reaction to the outcome of the June 24 summit in Kazan that was hosted by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. Despite strong pressure from Russia, the United States and France, Aliyev and Sarkisian failed to agree on the basic principles of a Karabakh settlement proposed by the three mediating powers.

Echoing statements by Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian, Sarkisian said on Friday that Aliyev scuttled a framework peace deal by demanding a dozen last-minute changes in the text of the proposed settlement.

Azerbaijan has blamed the Armenian side for the Kazan fiasco. Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov claimed last week that Yerevan is seeking “maximal concessions” from Baku.

Sarkisian indicated that he and Medvedev discussed the future of the peace process in a phone call on Thursday. But he gave no details.

Citing unnamed Russian officials, the Moscow daily “Kommersant” reported this week that Medvedev warned his Armenian and Azerbaijani counterparts that he will arrange more face-to-face talks between them only if they pledge to sign up to the basic principles.
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