YEREVAN (Combined Sources)—Armenia’s foreign minister, Eduard Nalbandian, Wednesday responded to the most recent remarks by Azeri President Ilham Aliyev who announced that the current phase of Karabakh peace talks were focusing on the return of the liberated territories surrounding the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.
“I don’t know with whom the Azerbaijani side is negotiating over these issues, but I assure you that Armenia and Karabakh aren’t discussing the issues currently. For over a year the Azeri side refused to hold the negotiating process in accordance with the Madrid principles and was even claiming no such document existed. Now the talks are held over one issue only – the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh’s status,” Nalbandian told parliament.
On recent reports in the Azeri and Turkish press regarding the possibility for Turkey to become a co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, Nalbandian said that Ankara cannot ascend to that position if for no other reason than the fact that it would require the approval of the Armenian side in the talks. Nalbandian added that the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs had repeatedly voiced the same position on the matter.
Nalbandian again rejected any linkage between Karabakh peace and the Turkish-Armenian normalization. “The Turks may make such attempts but who is going to let them link the two issues?” he said, adding that “Not Armenia, nor Karabakh or the international community.”
Turkish leaders have made clear that Turkey’s parliament is unlikely to ratify the agreements without a breakthrough in the Karabakh conflict resolution process, with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Tuesday again highlighting the imperative for a resolution to the Karabakh conflict before the ratifying of the Turkey-Armenia prtocols.
“Official Ankara attaches huge importance to preserving Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity,” the Anatolia news agency quoted him as saying. Davutoglu also opined that the Turkish-Armenian protocols could “pave the way for the liberation of Azerbaijani territories,” reported RFE/RL.
Meanwhile, the Armenian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that Armenia and Turkey will hold no further major negotiations until the ratification of the protocols by their parliaments,
“No Turkish-Armenian negotiations are being held right now,” ministry spokesman Tigran Balayan told RFE/RL. “We are now waiting for the ratification. Each country has its own ratification procedures.”
“According to the timetable attached to the protocols, the next step is the ratification,” said Balayan.