Settlement of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has positive trend: Armenian FM
There is positive dynamics in the process of settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, believes Edward Nalbandian, Armenian Foreign Minister.
"Given that this has already been the seventh meeting between the two leaders, so there is dynamics. And I would say that the dynamics is positive," Nalbandian said in an interview with the Russian newspaper "Kommersant".
Azerbaijani and Armenian Presidents, Ilham Aliyev and Serzh Sargsyan met to discuss the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in Chisinau on Oct. 8. The leaders' meeting was held within participation in the summit of the CIS countries' heads. On Oct. 8-9, the sides met with the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs and held a trilateral meeting with the Russian President, Dmitriy Medvedev's participation.
The Azerbaijani and Armenian Presidents, Ilham Aliyev and Serzh Sargsyan held previous talks on peaceful settlement of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in Moscow on July 17-18. The fifth meeting on conflict resolution between the two leaders was held in St. Petersburg on June 4. The previous meeting was held in Prague on May 7. The first meeting was held in St. Petersburg in June 2008, the second meeting in Moscow in late November 2008 and the third was held in Zurich on Jan. 28, 2009.
Nalbandian said the Presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia are currently discussing the principles of the Madrid document, and their attention is focused on two principles. Under the mediation of the OSCE Minsk Group, the sides are trying to bring their positions closer on them, the Armenian Foreign Minister believes.
Today, he said, the parties are focused on discussing the core issue - the status of Nagorno-Karabakh.
There is a complex process that develops in the right direction, Nalbandian said. He added that the parties agree on all principles, the process of developing a peace treaty will begin.
"It's a long and too difficult process. But it is important that the parties understand this and should try to exercise caution in their statements - and when the positions draw together, and when there are differences with continuation of this process, as both countries are interested in moving forward and reach finally agreements that will help resolve the Karabakh conflict," said Nalbandian.
He said there was an agreement that the presidents would speak on the specific principles and when agreement are reached, they will move on to the next.
"This is a reasonable approach, and all members of the negotiating process understand it. If they agree principles, then, as I said before, we will begin to prepare a draft peace treaty," said the minister.
According to Nalbandian, over the past few months, the negotiations on the basis of the Madrid Principles advanced. This is the beginning of the process, and it goes on with positive dynamics, he said.
Nalbandian said the role of Dmitry Medvedev, who has held more than one meeting with the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan, is important in this process. And all these meetings were quite effective, he said.
"Moscow is playing an important role in terms of organizing meetings in the trilateral format at the presidential level. If one of the co-chairs of the Minsk Group can help, why do not do this?" This is welcome," said Nalbandian.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan since 1992, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and 7 surrounding districts. Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group - Russia, France, and the U.S. - are currently holding the peace negotiations.