BAKU (Reuters)–Azerbaijan and Armenia fought a war of words over Nagorno-Karabakh Friday–with Baku suggesting the international community might impose its will on Yerevan if it rejected the latest peace plan.
Armenia answered by accusing Azerbaijan of deliberately leaking the details of confidential shuttle diplomacy missions by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
"The Armenian side has rejected the July and September (OSCE) proposals and if it rejects the third proposal–then it will be ignoring the opinion of three powers acting as mediators," Azeri Foreign Minister Tofig Zulfugarov said.
"That will not pass off (for Armenia) without consequences," Zulfugarov told a news conference.
Zulfugarov said Armenia was trying to change the agreed framework for peace talks under which Azeri territorial integrity must be accepted but Nagorno-Karabakh would get a high degree of autonomy.
"Armenia doesn’t want a base for the talks–preferring instead to start from a ‘clean slate,’ an idea not supported by us or the co-chairs," he said. "They like negotiations–not what negotiations would lead to."
Diplomats for the three countries in Baku declined comment–citing the confidentiality of talks.
Armenia reacted bitterly to the Azeri statemen’s and accused Baku of trying to use the international community to do its dirty work.
"How many times has the Azeri side violated the confidentiality of the preliminary talks–thereby torpedoing possible negotiations and trying to impose its opinion?" Armen Sargssian–foreign affairs adviser to Armenian President Robert Kocharyan–told Reuters by telephone.
"I think they are extremely disinterested in talks–and are hoping for a military solution–which would mean death for Azerbaijan," he added.