(Saturday, February 14)
“The Republic of Armenia is the guarantor of Nagorno-Karabakh’s security but has no authority to decide its fate,” “Haykakan Zhamanak” quotes Karabakh President Arkady Ghukasian as saying. Ghukasian made the comment on Friday, meeting with representatives of several American and British non-governmental organizations. The paper points to an Armenian Foreign Ministry statement, also issued on Friday, which said that if Azerbaijan really wants to restart the peace process from scratch it will have to deal directly with the Karabakh Armenians.
The statement by ministry spokesman Hamlet Gasparian came in response to Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Vilayat Guliev’s claims that Baku did not reach any agreements with Yerevan in recent years. “If Baku wants to start everything from scratch it must then approach only Stepanakert, if the latter agrees to that, of course,” Gasparian said. This is construed by “Haykakan Zhamanak” as a “final acknowledgement that official Yerevan committed a serious blunder by agreeing to discuss the resolution of the Karabakh issue with Azerbaijan without the participation of NKR representatives.”
“Ilham Aliev has buried the Key West and Paris agreements together with his father,” reads a headline in “Azg.” The paper says Baku has finally walked away from those agreements and is now looking to move the OSCE-sponsored negotiation process to other European organizations, the Council of Europe in particular. “I am not a supporter of concessions on the Karabakh issue,” it quotes Aliev as saying.
Parliament vice-speaker Tigran Torosian tells “Hayots Ashkhar” that the latest Azerbaijani statements make further meetings between the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents bypassing Stepanakert meaningless. “The authorities and representatives of Nagorno-Karabakh must get involved in the process right from the beginning,” he says. The paper comments that Baku is throwing a gauntlet to the international mediators, notably “the architect of those agreements: the United States.” “As for Russia, it is, to put it mildly, not worried about this U-turn because the agreements reached [at Key West] were not at all to its liking.”
“Armenia is diplomatically keeping silent, waiting for the mediators’ reaction,” “Hayots Ashkhar” continues. “If the latter do not stand by their proposals, Armenia will have no choice but to publicize them. The most effective way of countering this policy by Azerbaijan would be a tough and unequivocal demand to get Nagorno-Karabakh back to the negotiation process in one way or another.”