Ararat Mirzoyan (Aram Arkun photo)

Azerbaijan’s Proposal ‘Not Fully Addressing’ Possible Peace Agenda

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YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — While Armenia considers the latest five-point proposal by Azerbaijan for starting peace talks to be acceptable, it still believes that it fails to fully address the possible peace agenda, the country’s foreign minister has said.

“Ultimately, there is nothing inadmissible in Azerbaijan’s proposal that was passed to Yerevan on March 10 except that these issues do not fully address the possible agenda of comprehensive peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and our answers were aimed at completing that agenda,” Ararat Mirzoyan said in the National Assembly on Monday, March 21.

Armenia’s Foreign Ministry said on March 14 that it had applied to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group co-chairs (the United States, Russia and France) requesting that they organize Armenian-Azerbaijani negotiations on a peace treaty “on the basis of the UN Charter, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the Helsinki Final Act. “

It followed a statement by Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov that Baku had submitted a five-point proposal to Yerevan to normalize relations.

Baku insists that a future peace treaty with Yerevan should be based on five fundamental principles, including mutual recognition of each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual reaffirmation of the absence of territorial claims to each other and a legally binding obligation not to make such claims in the future, abstaining from threatening each other’s security, delimitation and demarcation of the border with the establishment of diplomatic relations and unblocking of transport links.

“We consider the rights of the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh and the addressing of the status of Nagorno-Karabakh to be key and fundamental. We are ready to start negotiations on this complete basis and it is with this proposal that we applied to the OSCE Minsk Group, “the minister said, answering questions of lawmakers.

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He stressed that negotiations have not started yet.

“Once political settlement is acceptable to the parties, it should be put on paper and fixed in an agreement … We do not make any contradiction between territorial integrity and the right [of peoples] to self-determination or in the demarcation of borders between Armenia and Azerbaijan. We strongly believe that it does not concern the rights of Nagorno-Karabakh’s Armenians, their status, etc., “Mirzoyan stressed.

The top Armenian diplomat again reminded that Armenia does not regard the Nagorno-Karabakh issue as a territorial dispute or a matter of territorial encroachment on Azerbaijan.

“It is solely and fully a question of the rights of Nagorno-Karabakh,” Mirzoyan underscored.

The OSCE Minsk Group has not yet responded to Armenia’s application. Azerbaijan has not responded to Armenia’s offer to hold peace talks on the basis of the Minsk Group either.

Earlier on Monday it was reported that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov held separate telephone conversations with his Armenian and Azerbaijani counterparts. The subject of a possible peace deal between Armenia and Azerbaijan was reportedly discussed during both phone calls.

In separate phone calls with his Armenian and Azerbaijani counterparts this week, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has said that as a co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group France is ready to make efforts to support the negotiation process between Yerevan and Baku over a peace deal.

According to the French Foreign Ministry, in telephone conversations with Ararat Mirzoyan and Jeyhun Bayramov, Le Drian highlighted the importance of stability and peace in the South Caucasus and stressed the readiness of Paris for consultations with the countries of the region.

The top French diplomat, in particular, stressed the importance of contacts between the sides on the issue of restoring gas supply to Nagorno-Karabakh, which was disrupted earlier this month due to a damaged pipeline passing through Baku-controlled territory.

During his telephone conversation with Mirzoyan, the French foreign minister also welcomed the recent visit of the Armenian foreign minister to Turkey, stressing that France “encourages continued negotiations on the normalization of relations between the two countries.”

The situation in Ukraine was also reportedly discussed during both conversations.

In reply to an RFE / RL Armenian Service question regarding Washington’s position on Armenia’s request for mediation of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs in organizing talks with Azerbaijan on a peace treaty, the embassy said: “The United States remains committed to promoting a peaceful, democratic, and prosperous future for the South Caucasus region. As a Minsk Group Co-Chair, we urge Armenia and Azerbaijan to continue and intensify their diplomatic engagement to find comprehensive solutions to all outstanding issues. The United States is ready to assist Armenia and Azerbaijan with these efforts. “

As for whether the Minsk Group co-chairs plan a visit to the region any time soon, the embassy said it did not have anything new to share on this matter.

The mediating troika, including representatives of the United States, Russia and France, have not visited the region after the 2020 war in Nagorno-Karabakh. Armenia claims the mediators’ visit is hampered by Azerbaijan’s position.

At a news briefing in Moscow today Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that Moscow welcomes the readiness of Armenia and Azerbaijan to engage in the preparation of a peace treaty. She added that Russia was ready to provide “all possible assistance” to such a negotiation process.

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