Nalbandian was expected to clarify Armenia’s position on the recently modified “basic principles” of a Karabakh settlement put forward by the three co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group.
The Armenian Foreign Ministry said the meeting focused on “the latest developments” in the Karabakh negotiating process and the mediators’ plans to pay another visit to the conflict zone this month. It said they briefed Nalbandian on the results of their March 5 talks in the French capital with Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov.
A ministry statement quoted Nalbandian as protesting against Baku’s “continuing attempts to distort the essence and meaning of the negotiating process” which he said are hampering further progress in the Armenian-Azerbaijani peace talks. The statement gave no further details.
The Armenian minister may have referred to purported details of the modified basic principles which Mammadyarov divulged on Monday. In particular, the latter spoke of a timetable for the liberation of Azerbaijani districts surrounding Karabakh and the return of Azerbaijani displaced persons.
Mammadyarov said nothing about mechanisms for determining Karabakh’s status, the main bone of contention, favored by the mediators. He implicitly claimed that their proposals do not enable Karabakh to win international recognition of its de facto secession from Azerbaijan.
According to Armenian officials, Karabakh’s predominantly Armenian population would be able to vote for independence or reunification with Armenia in a future referendum proposed by the mediators.