Trend European Desk Commentator Elmira Tariverdiyeva
The talks on Nagorno-Karabakh are deadlocked last Saturday July 17 once again. It seems that Azerbaijan has been already used to the unconstructive position of Yerevan for two years of talks. But this time, the Armenian side's statements voiced before the ministerial meeting, were amazing in their cynicism.
Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov met with the OSCE Minsk group co-chairmen in Paris in March, after the meeting it was announced about a positive attitude of Azerbaijan to the updated version of the Madrid principles submitted by co-chairmen in December 2009 and January 2010.
That is, Azerbaijan almost immediately adopted a document proposed by co-chairmen and supported by the presidents of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairing countries at G-8 summit in Toronto. All this time Baku was waiting for a concrete answer on the adoption of the updated basic principles from Armenia, which promised to submit it within two weeks, but happily forgot about it.
Suddenly, before the informal summit of OSCE foreign ministers in Almaty, Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian dumbfounded everybody stating that if the meeting takes place, we will first have to clarify whether Azerbaijan is ready to continue negotiations on the basis of the last variant of Madrid principles submitted in St. Petersburg on which the agreement was reached at the highest level.
"I think that this will be the main objective of the meeting in Almaty," Nalbandian said.
The Armenian side's statements cause at least surprise. If the negotiations were held behind the closed doors, mediators and official Baku, including the media have not called for Armenia to break the time-out and comment on the update Madrid principles for half a year, doubts may arise concerning Baku's position. But it is not clear what Yerevan counted for in this case.
Who will believe you if you have told a lie once? Following the above-mentioned example, other statements of the Armenian side must cause suspicion among observers.
In any case, Armenian Foreign Minister's denial of Mammadyarov's words regarding the discussion of the return of Azerbaijani occupied regions Kalbajar and Lachin is beneath criticism.
Hearing the accusations of falsehood from his Armenian minister, Azerbaijani counterpart said that he was surprised that the Armenian side once again returned to the question of timing of de-occupation of these two regions. The parties had previously agreed to the proposal of OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmen on the withdrawal of Armenian forces from Lachin and Kalbajar five years after the liberation of other five regions around Nagorno-Karabakh.
Moreover, these regions areas were not discussed at the last presidential meeting in St. Petersburg, Nalbandian said. Here Armenian Foreign Minister's words contradict with the words of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.
Medvedev said that the regions were discussed during his visit to Ankara, at a joint press conference with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in May.
"I would not like to comment on some points on the number of regions and other aspects of the settlement. It is necessary to be scrupulous in these issues not to create excessive detonation, especially Russia has a special mission here," President Medvedev said.
Yerevan has not refuted Mammadyarov's statement that five regions have been already agreed. Consequently, both parties believe that the withdrawal of Armenian troops from Azerbaijani five regions does not need further discussion. It is logical to assume that Medvedev spoke about Kalbajar and Lachin. An agreement on their return has not been reached yet.
Certainly, such an important issue as the fate of two regions connecting Armenia with Nagorno-Karabakh could not be overlooked by the Russian president during the presidential meeting in St. Petersburg. Moreover, the item on the return of these two regions to Azerbaijan was recorded in the updated Madrid principles during five years.
It is not surprising that a meeting was held in Almaty in vain, summing up all of the above-mentioned. Armenia does not want to move forward in resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict at all. Yerevan keeps silence concerning all Baku's compromises or tells a lie after which the Azerbaijani side has no hope for the talks. It is difficult to talk with the authority which is afraid to take strong-willed decisions, having no legitimacy and support within the country and fearing a negative reaction of the Armenian Diaspora worldwide.
During the talks on Nagorno-Karabakh the Armenian side makes an impression of a shy teenage girl, easily falling under influence. It seems that Yerevan agrees with mediators' reasonable arguments and even welcomes the presidents' statement, which closely reflects Baku's requirements. However, returning home, Armenian leaders change their opinion and take the defensive, fearing their own words and actions. One can not say about any hope for progress in the nearest future in such a situation.
By the way, the disappointment by the negotiations was felt in a joint statement on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict made by heads of delegations of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairing countires Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg after a meeting with Azerbaijani and Armenian foreign ministers in Almaty.
Ministers stressed that efforts still made by parties of the conflict, were insufficient to overcome the existing differences.
This means that there is hope that observers and mediators will be eventually tired to follow the maneuvers of the Armenian authorities. Perhaps, the world community will finally press on Armenia to achieve at least a stable position in the Nagorno Karabakh issue.