Armenia Responds to ‘Updated’ Karabagh Peace Plan


YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — Armenia has officially responded to international mediators’ recently modified plan to end the Nagorno-Karabagh conflict, an aide to President Serge Sargisian said on Thursday.
The American, French and Russian co-chairs of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group announced in January that they have developed an “updated version” of the basic principles of a Karabagh settlement. The have still not disclosed changes made in a document that was formally submitted to the parties in Madrid in late 2007.
The Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents are understood to have discussed the updated Madrid document at their January 25 talks in Russia hosted by President Dmitry Medvedev. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Serge Sargisian and Ilham Aliyev agreed to “prepare their own concrete ideas and formulations” on their remaining disagreements.
According to Garnik Isagulian, Sargisian’s representative to the Armenian parliament and former national security adviser, the Armenian side has already sent relevant proposals to the mediators. But he said he is unaware of their content.
“Armenia has submitted its concrete proposals, whereas the president of Azerbaijan, according to our information, has still not made any proposals,” Isagulian told a news conference. Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov said on Wednesday that Baku has already accepted the Minsk Group’s modified peace proposals “with some exceptions.” “We want to find out the Armenian side’s opinion about the amended document, and for that purpose I will meet the Minsk Group co-chairs [in Paris] on March 5,” he said, according to Azerbaijani media.
In a recent interview with the Euronews TV channel, Aliyev again claimed that the mediators’ peace proposals are “based on restoration of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.” “Azerbaijan will never agree to independence of Nagorno Karabagh, or to any kind of mechanisms or procedures which will eventually lead to secession,” he said.
Armenian leaders insist that the proposed agreement does include such a mechanism. They say one of the basic principles upholds the Karabagh Armenians’ right to formalize the disputed region’s secession from Azerbaijan in a future referendum.