By Harry Tamrazian in Prague
Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian held another meeting with his Azerbaijani counterpart Elmar Mamedyarov in Prague on Monday, describing it as “useful” for the long-running international efforts to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
“The process is continuing. I can not state at this point that we reached any concrete agreements, but find the overall course positive,” Oskanian told RFE/RL after the talks also attended by the French, Russian and U.S. mediators from the OSCE’s Minsk Group.
Oskanian would not be drawn on the specifics of the ongoing search for peace, and it remained unclear whether there is any possibility of breaking the impasse in the coming months. Still, he effectively confirmed Mamedyarov’s earlier statement that the two sides are now considering combining their different strategies of conflict resolution. Azerbaijan wants a “step-by-step” plan that would indefinitely put off agreement on Karabakh’s status, while the Armenian sides insists on a single “package” accord.
“The course and nature of negotiations is such that one should really opt for a synthesis of the two different positions,” Oskanian said. But he added that Karabakh’s status, the key bone of contention, must be somehow addressed under any compromise arrangement. “That synthesis should not be radically different from our emphasis on Karabakh’s status,” he said.
Oskanian again denied in this regard speculation that the U.S. is pushing for a step-by-step deal that would require the liberation of three of the seven Armenian-controlled Azerbaijani districts around Karabakh. “There is no concrete proposal, there are just general discussions and nothing is being imposed on any of the parties,” he said, commenting on his high-level talks in Washington earlier this month.