ALMATY, Kazakhstan (Combined Sources)—Armenian Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian blamed Azerbaijan’s “non-constructive” posturing Monday for the stalemate that followed two days of talks on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict with his Azeri counterpart Elmar Mammadyarov.
Nalbandian and Mammadyarov began talks Friday night on the sidelines of an informal OSCE Foreign Ministerial meeting. They continued the talks Saturday morning, this time attended by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg, who was representing the US at the meeting in Almaty.
Following the talks, which ended without real progress toward a peace deal, Lavrov, Kouchner and Steignberg issued a statement saying, “the efforts made so far by the parties to the conflict have not been sufficient to overcome their differences,” and urged more action by the two sides.
The Heads of Delegation of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair countries “deplored recent developments which have increased tension in the region, including the serious armed incident of June 18-19, 2010 and inflammatory public statements. They warned that the use of force created the current situation, and its use again would only lead to suffering, devastation, and a legacy of conflict and hostility that would last for generations.”
The Heads also “urged a greater spirit of compromise to reach agreement on a common basis for continuing the negotiations. Additional actions by the sides are needed to reinforce the ceasefire of 1994 and to create a more favorable atmosphere for further political dialogue and reaching agreements.”
“In the course of many years Azerbaijan has been refusing to reinforce the ceasefire. The co-chair countries once again stressed the necessity of it to create a more favorable atmosphere for further political dialogue and reaching agreements,” said Nalbandian, in response to the OSCE co-chair countries’ statement, which he praised.
“The statement refers to the provocation of the Azerbaijani side on June 18-19. I think it’s obvious to everyone who the statement is addressed to, because it refers to inflammatory public statements, which aggravate the situation and do not contribute to the settlement of the conflict,” added Nalbandian.
The representatives of the Minsk Group Co-Chair countries “recalled the joint statement on Nagorno-Karabakh of December 1, 2009 at the OSCE Ministerial meeting in Athens and reminded the sides of their commitment to seek a peaceful settlement to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict based on the principles contained in the Helsinki Final Act, particularly those related to refraining from the threat or use of force, the territorial integrity of states, and the equal rights and self determination of peoples. They reiterated that the elements articulated by Presidents Medvedev, Sarkozy, and Obama on July 10, 2009 at L’Aquila and repeated at Muskoka on June 26, 2010 must be the foundation of any fair and lasting settlement to the conflict. These proposed elements have been conceived as an integrated whole, and any attempt to select some elements over others would make it impossible to achieve a balanced solution. Foreign Minister Kouchner and Deputy Secretary Steinberg expressed appreciation for the efforts of President Medvedev and Foreign Minister Lavrov to bridge the differences between the parties, taking into consideration the positions discussed during the meetings in Sochi on January 25, 2010 and in St. Petersburg on June 17, 2010.”
Prior to this weekend’s meeting, Mammadyarov angered Armenians when he announced that a he and Nalbandian would discuss the withdrawal from the liberated territories surrounding the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic during the Almaty talks, specifying the regions of Lachin and Kelbajar, the two regions that border Armenia.
Nalbandian swiftly responded last week by calling Mammadyarov’s remarks “absolute lies,” and explained that at no time has there been discussion of withdrawing from those regions.
“They [the Azerbaijanis] pick out one of six [peace] provisions and exploit it,” Nalbandian said. “The co-chairing countries stated in a very simple and open manner that this is a non-constructive approach, that it is wrong to discriminate between these principles and provisions, and that it wrong to take a selective approach,” reported RFE/RL.