Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian thinks it is more appropriate to speak about differences in the approaches of Azerbaijan and the European Union rather than Azerbaijan and Armenia towards the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement as far as the dispute over wording in the final declaration at an upcoming Eastern Partnership summit is concerned.
Speaking at a joint press conference in Yerevan with his visiting Brazilian counterpart on Friday, Nalbandian also commented on the reports suggesting that the ambassadors of all 28 European Union member states have agreed on the text of the declaration for the summit to be held in Brussels on November 24 apart from one paragraph, which has to do with regional conflicts, and on which Armenia and Azerbaijan have suggested conflicting language.
“As for the declaration, negotiations are underway, and until the completion of these negotiations it is early to state anything about it. There are still a few days ahead, let’s see,” the top Armenian diplomat said.
At the same time, Nalbandian insisted that Azerbaijan’s approach differs from that of the EU as much as it differs from Armenia’s.
“Here we should rather speak about the differences in approaches to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement of Azerbaijan and the EU, Azerbaijan and the international community rather than Azerbaijan and Armenia,” he said in response to a question asked by an RFE/RL Armenian Service reporter.
“This difference has emerged on multiple occasions, including during the previous summits… The EU’s position on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement has always been the same – in support of the efforts and approaches of the [OSCE Minsk Group] Co-Chair countries. It is not a situational position, but it is a well-thought-out and conscious approach that does not harm the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, but contributes to the efforts and approaches of the Co-Chair countries and promotes a solely peaceful resolution of the conflict. The EU has never changed this position.”
Nalbandian spoke to the media today following his trip to Moscow where he met on November 14 with the Minsk Group’s American, Russian and French co-chairs and reportedly agreed on a meeting with his Azerbaijani counterpart, Elmar Mammadyarov, on the sidelines of an OSCE Ministerial Meeting in Vienna, Austria, next month.
Ahead of his separate meeting with the mediators on November 16, Mammadyarov stressed that at the talks with Yerevan Baku demands “concrete results” and does not want “negotiations to be held for the sake of negotiations.”
Nalbandian, in this regard, reminded his Azerbaijani counterpart that “the Co-Chair countries at the highest level have urged the parties to refrain from destructive and maximalist approaches if they want the settlement of the conflict.”
“The Co-Chairs have urged [the parties] to reaffirm their commitment to the peaceful settlement of the conflict. Has Azerbaijan done that? The Co-Chairs have urged [the parties] to reaffirm their commitment to the three well-known principles of international law: the non-use of force or threat of force, [the right of nations to] self-determination and territorial integrity. Has Azerbaijan done that? The Co-Chairs call for unconditionally respecting and implementing trilateral open-ended cease-fire agreements. Does Azerbaijan do that? The Co-Chairs urge [the parties] to respect the agreements reached earlier. Does Azerbaijan do that?” the Armenian foreign minister charged.