Armenia on Tuesday denied any changes in its policy on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and blamed Azerbaijan for an apparent lack of progress in their latest peace talks mediated by Russia.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s chief foreign policy aide, Novruz Mammadov, spoke on Monday of a “slight positive change” in Yerevan’s position on the conflict. He said it manifested itself at the weekend meeting in Sochi between Aliyev and Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian that was hosted by their Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev.
Mammadov claimed Sarkisian seems to have realized that his previous “non-constructive” stance on the issue is leading nowhere.
Deputy Foreign Minister Shavarsh Kocharian dismissed those claims, saying that Yerevan’s position has been in tune with the so-called Madrid principles of a Karabakh settlement drafted by the United States, Russia and France.
“We don’t need to change our position because as the foreign minister [Edward Nalbandian] pointed out at the March 3 meeting in Vienna of the [OSCE] Permanent Council, Armenia has said yes to the Madrid proposals,” he said in a statement issued by the Armenian Foreign Ministry.
Kocharian claimed that Azerbaijan has yet to accept those principles and that Aliyev continued to drag his feet at the Sochi talks. Baku’s acceptance of the proposed framework agreement would have marked significant progress in the negotiating process, he said.
Azerbaijani leaders insist that an updated version of the peace proposals put forward by the mediating more than a year ago is largely acceptable to Baku and that it is Yerevan that effectively rejected it.
The conflicting parties also make differing interpretations of the peace formula favored by the U.S., Russian and French co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group. Armenian officials say it upholds the Karabakh Armenians’ right to legitimize their de facto secession from Azerbaijan. But according to the Azerbaijani side, they would only be able to determine the extent of Karabakh’s autonomy within Azerbaijan.