STEPANAKERT—The statements of the French President François Hollande proposing that the sides put their disagreements on fundamental principles aside and start drafting a comprehensive agreement, which were made following the Armenian-Azerbaijani presidential meeting in Paris, are, according to Speaker of the Nagorno-Karabakh Parliament Ashot Ghulyan, not the French president’s own opinion. Rather, it is another change in Azerbaijan’s position, Ghulyan asserts.
“This is one more change in Azerbaijan’s position, which is claimed to be the international community’s position rather than Azerbaijan’s own opinion. Ten years ago, it was Azerbaijan that stated it could not sign or draft a major agreement, calling for agreeing on the principles. And now they say they cannot formulate the principles and proposes drafting a major agreement. Azerbaijan is just buying time, trying to influence the negotiation process. So it is changing its position time and again,” Ghulyan told reporters on Friday.
As to whether the Nagorno-Karabakh authorities are taking steps to get involved in the negotiations given the fact that Nagorno-Karabakh has been outside the negotiation process for about 15 years – by stating, for example, that Armenia cannot any longer represent Nagorno-Karabakh – Ghulyan believes that such a step needs to be made because in that case Nagorno-Karabakh might find itself alone at the negotiating table.
“We are speaking of an entirely different format of negotiations and opportunities because three parties are involved in the conflict. Different opinions may be voiced, and, despite being an unrecognized state, Nagorno-Karabakh can officially state its position: if it is not involved in the negotiations, it does not see any possibility of a definitive settlement. This is the strongest signal that Nagorno-Karabakh must be involved in the negotiations,” Ghulyan said.
Nagorno-Karabakh’s participation in the negotiations is not to Azerbaijan’s benefit, so Azerbaijan spares no effort to divert the format.
“All the sides, except for Azerbaijan, are well aware the problem will not be resolved without Nagorno-Karabakh’s participation. This is evidence of progress. It is the side putting obstacles that must be identified,” Ghulyan said.