STEPANAKERT—The so-called Madrid Principles as presented by the presidents of the Minsk Group Co-chair countries last week are ‘mere suggestions’ to guide the Karabakh negotiation process, said Armenia’s Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian following a meeting with Nagorno-Karabakh Republic President Bako Sahakian Thursday.
Based on a transcript of the press conference provided by the Armenian Foreign Ministry press service, Nalbandian said that details which have been publicized recently are serving as guidelines, some of which are not being discussed, while there are already negotiations being conducted around other provisions.
He called last week’s announcements by presidents Barack Obama, Nicolas Sarkozy and Dmitry Medved as a reiteration of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chair countries commitment to the peace process and an effort to bringing the parties closer to a resolution.
“I would like to call attention to the fact that there are three principles, which Armenia has on numerous occasions articulated as being its driving principles for the peace talks,” said Nalbandian.
The foreign minister delineated that the legal status of Nagorno-Karabakh must be determined based on the expression of the will of Karabakh’s population, the unequivocal demand for a land corridor between Armenia and Karabakh and international security guarantees as the principles guiding Armenia in the negotiation process.
Nalbandian pointed out that while Azerbaijan continues to proceed in the process guided only by the principle of territorial integrity, Armenia has always advocated for the right to self-determination and territorial integrity and has refused to resort to military threats or rhetoric. This, the foreign minister, said is exactly what the publicized principles have called for and correspond to Armenia’s posturing on the matter.
Nalbandian also assured that there were no discussions on the return of so-called Azeri refugees to Karabakh, since that type of negotiation should be held after a final resolution to the conflict in a broader context, given that there are more than 400,000 Armenian refugees as a result of the Karabakh conflict.
The foreign minister also said that Karabakh’s participation in the negotiation process was, and has always been, imperative and will guarantee a productive peace process.
“It is natural that Karabakh, in some instances, has differing approaches. However, I would like to stress that the opinion of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic plays a large and important role for us, and Armenia not only cannot ignore that, but it will not reach any agreement without the consent of the people and leadership of Karabakh. My presence here today is proof of that reality,” said Nalbandian.