Armenia and Azerbaijan have traded more recriminations after being criticized by the United States, Russia and France for the current deadlock in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process.
In a joint statement on Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and a senior French official said the two sides have failed to make good on their presidents’ January 2012 promises to speed up progress in their long-running peace talks. They said the conflicting parties “have too often sought one-sided advantage in the negotiation process, rather than seeking to find agreement.”
The statement was issued in Dublin where foreign ministers and other senior officials of OSCE member states held an annual conference. Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian and his Azerbaijani counterpart Elmar Mammadyarov delivered speeches at the meeting.
In his speech, Nalbandian insisted that it is Azerbaijan that is seeking to gain “one-sided advantage” in the peace process by thwarting an agreement on the Basic Principles of the Karabakh conflict’s resolution proposed by the international mediators. He also accused Baku of walking away from an agreement on joint investigations of ceasefire violations in the conflict zone, which Yerevan says was brokered by the mediators last year.
Nalbandian further reiterated Armenian claims that a crucial Armenian-Azerbaijani summit held in Russia last year did not yield a breakthrough because of Azerbaijan’s “destructive position.”
Mammadyarov, for his part, accused the Armenian side of “bolstering the status quo in the occupied Azerbaijani territories” and thus impeding the conflict’s resolution. He also denounced as a “provocative step” plans for the launch of commercial flights from Armenia to Karabakh.
Speaking to journalists on his return to Baku on Friday, Mammadyarov claimed that Yerevan scuttled the planned adoption in Dublin of a joint statement by the Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers and the U.S., Russian and French co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group. According to the Trend news agency, he complained that the co-chairs “did not display sufficient persistence on this issue.”
Mammadyarov and Nalbandian separately met with the co-chairs in the Irish capital. According to the Armenian Foreign Ministry, it was agreed that the two ministers will hold face-to-face talks “at the beginning of next year.”