STEPANAKERT—The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Foreign Ministry spokesperson Marcel Petrosyan Thursday responded to inquiries about recent statements made by the US Co-chairman of the OSCE Minsk Group Matthew Bryza. Below is the translated text of the press conference.
Question: How would you comment on the OSCE Minsk Group U.S. Co-chair’s statement that the position of the Nagorno-Karabakh “population” is reflected in the negotiation process?
Marcel Petrosyan: We would welcome this fact and, in this regard, we would like to remind the mediators that the people of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic have expressed their will at the referendum on independence on December 10, 1991 as well as the Constitution referendum on December 10, 2006. We would be grateful to the mediators if the will of the people of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, as expressed at the referenda, would be fully reflected in the negotiation process.
Question: How would you comment on the OSCE MG U.S. Co-chair’s recent statements, where Bryza presented the details of the proposed principles for the Azerbaijani-Karabakh conflict settlement? Matthew Bryza also said that a quick settlement to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, to his opinion, was advantageous to Armenia, because otherwise the economic development of the republic would be complicated, which would in turn create problems in carrying out democratic reforms.
M.P.: First, I would like to stress that a quick resolution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is a priority for the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic as well. However, this does not mean that we favor a settlement at any cost, and with unpredictable consequences at that. For us a resolution is the establishment of lasting and enduring peace, which is possible to achieve only in view of the actual state of affairs. However, Mr. Bryza links the issue of the conflict resolution to economic development and democratic reforms. The correlation into a single “package”is an attempt to impose an agreement at all costs.
Unfortunately, recently there has been a tendency to speed up the negotiations for resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict based on a formula that ignores both the essence and history of the conflict and the existing realities. And Mr. Bryza’s statements, from our point of view, are in line with this apparoach. There is an impression that the current haste has to do with the announced change of some of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-chairs, and particularly Mr. Bryza. As we have already said in a July 15, 2009 statement, an unreasonable speeding up of the negotiation process will have a negative outcome and will lead only to escalation of tension, as the formula proposed by the mediators is directed toward changing the balance of powers underlying peace and stability in the region.
Question: According to Bryza, the OSCE Minsk Group Co-chairs propose that peacekeepers in the Azeri-Karabakh conflict zone be unarmed, perform monitoring functions and not be able to use force. This, as the U.S. Co-chair said, is conditioned by the fact that the experience from Kosovo and Bosnia show that peacekeepers are not capable of preventing an armed conflict, if one of the parties does not want it. Please comment.
However, the OSCE Minsk Group U.S. Co-chair proposes to solve this issue in the process of the Azeri-Karabakh conflict resolution by appeasing the aggressor, Azerbaijan. History has shown that such a policy does not contribute in any way to establishing peace. On the contrary, it leads to escalation of tension and war.