Dead end for compromises

Armenia and Azerbaijan have agreed to continue attempts to make
progress on a Nagorno-Karabakh settlement. Russia helped them in
making this decision. The Presidents of Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan
- Dmitry Medvedev, Serzh Sargsyan and Ilkham Aliyev - met in St.
Petersburg. Russia remains committed to a peaceful settlement of the
Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, although the negotiating sides face a
stalemate. The so-called Madrid principles proposed by the co-chairs
of the OSCE Minsk Group (Russia, France and the USA), approved by the
G8, remain somewhat abstract.

Azerbaijan has approved the principles and is waiting for Armenia,
which has not been able to make a decision for half a year now. Ilkham
Aliyev avoided negotiating with the Armenian president, waiting for a
clear position from Armenia on the forming of the Madrid principles.
Both sides, particularly Armenia, were pressurized by the mediators of
the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement. But Armenia stuck to its position and
is ready free Azerbaijani territories only in exchange for recognition
by Azerbaijan of the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh.

The Madrid principles do not envisage harsh conditions in the first
stage of the conflict settlement. Freeing a part of the seven
Azerbaijani regions is viewed as a gesture of good will, to be
compensated by unblocking communications in the region, including the
opening of the Armenian-Turkish border and including Armenia in a set
of regional projects. In principle, Armenian Nagorno-Karabakh will
receive an intermediate status of autonomy, will preserve the
connection through the Lachinskiy corridor, and Azerbaijan will have
no obstacles in its connection with Nakhchivan.

Despite the readiness of the sides to continue negotiations, the sides
hit a dead end. The conflicting sides did not meet tete-a-tete, they
only had separate discussions with the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk
Group. The three mediators will visit the region in July to continue
rapprochement efforts. The results will be seen in the next few
months.


Yevgeniy Krishtaliov, exclusively for VK

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