The presidents of the United States, France and Russia on Tuesday criticized Armenia and Azerbaijan for failing to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and said the status quo is unacceptable to the three mediating powers.
“We express our deep regret that, rather than trying to find a solution based upon mutual interests, the parties have continued to seek one-sided advantage in the negotiation process,” Presidents Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin and Francois Hollande said in a joint statement issued during a G8 summit in Northern Ireland.
“We strongly believe that further delay in reaching a balanced agreement on the framework for a comprehensive peace is unacceptable, and urge the leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia to focus with renewed energy on the issues that remain unresolved,” they warned.
The three leaders, whose nations co-head the OSCE Minsk Group on Karabakh, repeated their belief that the bitter dispute can be resolved by only peaceful means. “A renewal of hostilities would be disastrous for the population of the region, resulting in loss of life, more destruction, additional refugees, and enormous financial costs,” they said.
Obama, Putin and Hollande also made clear that the mediating powers stand by the key elements of framework peace accords that have been proposed to the conflicting parties in recent years. “These elements should be seen as an integrated whole, as any attempt to select some elements over others would make it impossible to achieve a balanced solution,” they said.
The U.S., Russian and French leaders have adopted similar joint statements on Karabakh on several occasions in the past. In their previous statement issued in June last year, they likewise expressed “regret” at the deadlock in the Karabakh peace process and said the parties “should not further delay” a compromise settlement. No progress in Armenian-Azerbaijani peace talks has been made since then.
American, French and Russian diplomats co-chairing the Minsk Group are currently trying to arrange a fresh meeting of Armenia’s and Azerbaijan’s president in hopes of ending the impasse. No agreement on the summit has been reached so far. Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov suggested last month that the negotiating process will gain new momentum after an Azerbaijani presidential election due in October.
Armenia was quick to react to the latest statement by Obama, Putin and Hollande, with Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian saying that Yerevan agrees with its main points. In a written statement, Nalbandian blamed Baku for the lack of progress. He also said that the Basic Principles of a Karabakh settlement are largely acceptable to the Armenian side.
There was no immediate reaction to the statement from Azerbaijan.