The Armenian government on Thursday reaffirmed its strong objections to continuing Azerbaijani efforts to have more foreign powers act as mediators in Armenian-Azerbaijani peace talks on Nagorno-Karabakh.
Visiting Yerevan on Wednesday Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic, who is also the chairman-in-office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, said Azerbaijan is trying to increase the number of countries co-chairing the OSCE Minsk Group.
According to Deputy Foreign Minister Shavarsh Kocharian, Baku specifically wants Turkey and Germany to join the United States, Russia and France as Minsk Group co-chairs. “That has always been Azerbaijan’s dream,” Kocharian told reporters.
“Its real aim is not Germany but Turkey, which is totally identical with Azerbaijan [on the Karabakh issue,]” he said. “Naturally, the Armenian side is against that.”
Artak Zakarian, the pro-government chairman of the Armenian parliament committee on foreign relations, also dismissed the Azerbaijani proposal voiced by Dacic. He said that the existing team of U.S., Russia and France negotiators represents “the most effective” format of Karabakh conflict mediation.
In recent years President Ilham Aliyev and other Azerbaijani officials have increasingly criticized the three mediating powers for not helping Baku regain control over Karabakh and surrounding territories. Some of them have accused the West and Russia of pro-Armenian bias.
Alexander Arzumanian, an opposition lawmaker who had served as Armenia’s foreign minister from 1996-1997, said the Azerbaijani discontent is aimed at exerting pressure on the mediators and the Armenians. “It’s a negotiating tactic to which we are used. I see nothing extraordinary here,” he told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am).
Arzumanian too ruled out the possibility of any changes in the negotiating format. “All along Armenia and the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic have been against the problem’s resolution in other formats,” he said.