STEPNAKAERT (RFE/RL)–International mediators from the Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe arrived in Stepanakert Tuesday from Yerevan in yet another bid to persuade the leadership of Nagorno-Karabakh to agree to their latest peace plan–approved in principle by Armenia and Azerbaijan.
The Russian–US and French co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group–sponsoring the negotiations–held talks behind closed doors with the foreign minister of the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh–Naira Melkumian.
They were later joined by the region’s Prime Minister Leonard Petrosian and Defense Minister Lt.-Gen. Samvel Babayan.
A senior Nagorno-Karabakh diplomat who asked not to be identified told RFE/RL that the Minsk Group’s plan "predetermines a status full of dubious ambiguities" for the disputed region. "Even the plan’s authors do not imagine mechanisms for its implementation," the diplomat said.
He complained that the mediators display a "biased approach" and "no readiness to take our argumen’s into account." According to the co-chairs’ plan–a decision on Nagorno-Karabakh’s status should be delayed until the last phase of the peace process and should be preceded by the return of the occupied Azeri territories and other confidence-building measures.
Stepanakert–which earlier rejected the plan–has argued that it fails to address its security concerns–and deman’s a package solution to the dispute.
The RFE/RL correspondent also reported that the co-chairs are expected to meet with Nagorno-Karabakh President Arkady Ghoukassian later today or tomorrow morning. Ghukasian is reportedly sick and it is not clear whether he will receive the mediators at all.