Azerbaijan seeking to escalate situation over Karabakh – lawmaker

20:41 • 11.07.16



Azerbaijan spares no effort to escalate the Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) conflict into a large-scale Armenian-Azerbaijani confrontation, says Arthur Tovmasyan, the leader of the Motherland faction in Nagorno-Karabakh’s National Assembly.


To avoid such misrepresentations, the lawmaker stresses the need of making the country a participant in the current peace negotiations. In his words, the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs, who time and again visit Nagorno-Karabakh to keep themselves up to date on the situation, know that the key to a peaceful resolution is only there.


German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said recently that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement talks will resumed until the end of this year. Is Artsakh optimistic about such a scenario?

There are two formats for resuming the talks. The first, conducted between the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents under the auspices of the OSCE co-chairs, was in progress until quite recently. The second is the comprehensive format in which Nagornio-Karabakh is also a participant.

 

I hail Steinmeier’s statement; however, the problem has to do with the format. No negotiations are going on at the moment; what we have is practically a war. The meeting must, certainly, continue, but the resolution of the Artsakh problem would be possible only in an atmosphere of mutual trust. Anyway, we do not see that on the presidents’ level, let alone the people.

Is there no pre-requisite for renewing the talks in any of the formats you mentioned?

 

Without the authorities of Nagorno-Karabakh, any document – be it though the best – between Armenia and Azerbaijan will remain on paper. But that doesn’t mean we do not hail humanitarian assistance. It is very commendable that the Armenian president and the president of Azerbaijan speak of the exchange of bodies, snipers’ withdrawal and other humanitarian agreements after every meeting spearheaded by the three co-chairs. But I repeat that dialogue will be out of the question without Artsakh - given especially that Azerbaijan is doing everything possible to escalate the Karabakh-Azerbaijani conflict into an Armenian-Azerbaijani confrontation.

 

Azerbaijan is again making active calls for revising the status quo. [Foreign Minister Elmar] Mammadyarov said recently that time is now ripe for changing it.

 

No, it isn’t. The April war reversed the moment. The Artsakh authorities do not trust the government and people of Azerbaijan.


The top leaderships of Armenia and Azerbaijan are making arrangements for the next meeting.  The French foreign minister said they are ready to offer a platform for discussing the issue. That gives us ground to presume that the next Sargsyan-Aliyev talks will be held in Paris. What do you think should be negotiated at the third meeting following the four-day war given especially that the preconditions put forward at the previous meetings and the agreements reached subseequently were never implemented?


The Armenian president put forward clear-worded preconditions which were accepted also by the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs. The Azerbaijani president gave his consent, but he later went to Baku to declare that it wasn’t absolutely the case … In this negotiation process, the Azerbaijani president says things which later actually vary from his subsequent statements.  The most important thing for the people in Artsakh is to put the status at the foundation of the negotiation process. In no document is the issue a priority. The status is now a kind of secondary matter, but it shouldn’t be so in the future.

 

What about Azerbaijan’s statement that the negotiations focused on the return of territories and other relevant issues? Do you think they were voiced by chance?

The April war changed the situation. All the principles that formerly existed have fallen to the bosom of history. As we are facing new realities today, we need a new document on the negotiating table to make the Artsakh status a priority. There isn’t any document reflecting the Artsakh people’s radical interests.


Mr Tovmasyan, Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian said they express Artsakh’s position in all the documents, which even reflect the call for making the country a negotiating party. Isn’t that enough?

                         
We cannot exert pressure upon the co-chairs as we are not a negotiating party. It is the authorized representatives from the co-chairing countries that meet with the president of Artsakh. So they support Artsakh’s participation in the talks. It is clear to them that the key to resolving the Karabakh problem is in Artsakh.

Tigranuhi Martirosyan





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