YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian on Tuesday confirmed that Armenia and Azerbaijan could soon reach a framework agreement on Nagorno- Karabagh but cautioned that it would have to be approved by the disputed territory’s ethnic Armenian leadership.
Nalbandian stood by statements made by official Yerevan and Baku on his weekend talks in Moscow with his Azerbaijani counterpart, Elmar Mammadyarov.
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov hosted the talks in preparation for the next Armenian- Azerbaijani summit due to be held in the Russian city of Kazan later this month.
“You know that the [Armenian] Foreign Ministry circulated a statement on the trilateral ministerial meeting in Moscow saying that the parties managed to bring their positions closer to each other on a number of pivotal issues,” Nalbandian told journalists. “If this positive trend is maintained at Kazan, then we will be able to register positive progress.”
The Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents will meet in Kazan one month after the United States, Russia and France jointly urged them to finalize the “basic principles” of the conflict’s resolution without “further delay.” Diplomats from the three mediating powers discussed the matter during their recent tour of the conflict zone.
Bako Sahakian, the president of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabagh Republic, told them in Stepanakert on June 8 that the basic principles can not be put into practice without being endorsed by the Karabagh Armenians. Sahakian also insisted on their direct participation in further peace talks.