YEREVAN—“It will be impossible to move to the second stage of the negotiations without Karabakh consent on the basic principles,” said Armenia’s Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian during a joint press conference Tuesday with his Swedish counterpart Kart Bildt.
Nalbandian was speaking days after a meeting he held with Azeri Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov in Moscow mediated by their Russian counterpart Igor Popov ahead of presidential summit on Karabakh scheduled for later this month in Kazan, Russia.
“I agree with Nagorno-Karabakh Republic President Bako Sahakian that it will be impossible to move to the second stage of negotiations without Karabkh’s consent on the basis principles. The peace treaty is going to be worked out in the second stage, and Karabakh’s participation in this stage is a must,” said Nalbandian who was responding to a reporter’s question regarding Sahakian telling the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmen that a final resolution cannot be achieved without the participation of the Karabakh
“The cornerstone of settlement is right of the people of Nagorno Karabakh to be the master of its destiny,” the Minister added.
Minister Nalbandian reminded that the Foreign Ministries of Armenia and Azerbaijan issued statements following the meeting in Moscow that the parties managed to bring positions closer on a number of pivotal issues. “If the momentum is maintained in Kazan, we’ll be able to register progress,” Minister Nalbandian declared.
As for Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov’s statement regarding the deployment of peacekeepers, Edward Nalbandian said: “The statements of Presidents Obama, Sarkozy and Medvedev issued in L’Aquilla and Muskoka provide for the deployment of peacekeepers around Nagorno Karabakh. However, the details of the issue have not been discussed over the past three years. Therefore, no agreement could have been reached.”
Meanwhile, authorities in Karabakh expressed confidence that it is still early to speak about a final agreement on the principles. They said said the current stage of the negotiation process will take another two to three years, since Azerbaijan benefits from maintaining of the status quo.
“They understand that the issue cannot be settled without the participation of the Karabakhi side. The current stage is not the final one. This is a small step of a long process,” explained Karabakh presidential spokeperson David Babayan.
“The most that can happen in Kazan is a show of good will on some principles,” added Babayan.
“2012 is a unique year for all – the parties, the mediating countries and the region. Elections are expected in Russia, the United States, France, Artsakh and Armenia. Therefore, the parties will not be ready to take any abrupt steps in that period. Even if the parties reach some agreement in Kazan, it will simply help maintain the status quo for another two to three years,” added Babayan.
“I can’t predict what will happen but I do not expect any breakthrough,” said Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Foreign Minister Georgi Petrosian.