Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian drew the attention of international mediators to the ‘intensified subversive activities’ of Azerbaijan as he met with them to discuss further steps on settling the protracted Nagorno-Karabakh conflict on Tuesday.
According to the Armenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in Brussels Nalbandian held a meeting with the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs Igor Popov (Russia), James Warlick (USA) and Pierre Andrieu (France), as well as Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office Andrzej Kasprzyk.
The sides reportedly proceeded with the discussions of ways “to advance the process of peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.”
“The top Armenian diplomat drew the attention of the mediators to the militarist rhetoric of Azerbaijan, the statements distorting the essence and contents of the negotiations, the gross violations by Azerbaijan of the ceasefire regime at the border with Armenia and along the Line of Contact with Nagorno-Karabakh’s Armed Forces that have caused loss of life, as well as more intensified subversive activities,” the statement said.
Nagorno-Karabakh’s authorities said last week that a group of Azerbaijanis had been arrested in the region on suspicion of espionage and subversive activities. The unrecognized republic’s police force said the group members had killed one military serviceman and severely wounded a civilian in their sabotage activities. Another Karabakh teenager, it said, had been kidnapped and then brutally murdered by the alleged Azeri saboteurs.
Nalbandian stressed that by its provocative actions Azerbaijan exacerbates the situation, “openly ignoring the numerous calls of the leaders of the Co-Chair countries to prepare the peoples for peace.”
“Despite the calls of the international community that already become targeted the government of Azerbaijan continues its destructive and dangerous policy, persecuting and imprisoning, on fabricated charges, those Azerbaijanis who speak in favor of peace and reconciliation, which is not conducive to the formation of a positive atmosphere in the negotiations,” Nalbandian underscored.
The Armenian foreign minister said that the Azerbaijani authorities are trying to shift their “experience of corruption accumulated inside the country onto the level of interstate relations in order to continue to mislead their own society”. Azerbaijan’s authorities, he continued, are making efforts to get statements from some countries that, “turning the contents of the negotiation process upside down, impede its progress.”
Nalbandian confirmed that Armenia will continue joint efforts with the OSCE Minsk Group “aimed exclusively at achieving a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.”
Meanwhile, Azerbaijani Minister of Foreign Affairs Elmar Mammadyarov also met with the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs in Brussels on July 22.
Azerbaijan’s APA news agency, quoting the country’s Foreign Ministry, reported that during the meeting the sides discussed ways “to accelerate the process of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement on the basis of the principles that the public is well aware of and the statements made by the Co-Chair countries.”
In an interview with the same news agency prior to the Brussels meeting, James Warlick, the American co-chair of the Minsk Group, expressed a hope that the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan would accept the French leader’s invitation to hold their next round of talks in Paris.
No references to the possible meeting were made by the Armenian and Azerbaijani sides immediately after their foreign ministers’ meetings with the mediators.