By Emil Danielyan
Official Yerevan issued on Wednesday a strong denial of reports that the Armenian side is prepared to return occupied Azerbaijani territories around Nagorno-Karabakh before an agreement on the disputed region’s status.
“Despite Azerbaijan’s wishes or statements, Armenia’s focus during negotiations is on the issue of the status of Nagorno-Karabakh. All other issues are tangential to the status issue, and Armenia views them only in the context of the future status of Nagorno-Karabakh,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
“The Republic of Armenia is interested only in a comprehensive resolution of this issue and its participation in negotiations is conditional on that approach,” it added.
The statement came in response to Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mamedyarov’s reported claims that recent peace talks on Karabakh focused on practical modalities of an Armenian pullout from the seven districts in Azerbaijan proper.
Mamedyarov and his Armenian counterpart Vartan Oskanian have met for four times since last April in the presence of French, Russian and U.S. mediators. They reportedly drafted unpublicized peace proposals that were discussed by the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents at a meeting in Kazakhstan last month. Oskanian has said that the two leaders reached no agreements on those proposals.
“Both presidents agreed to take time to consider the issues which were raised,” said the Foreign Ministry statement. “We have not yet received a response from Azerbaijan on the matters which are of interest to Armenia.”