The Karabakh issue was discussed on the first day of the meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of OSCE. The foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan had a meeting and then the heads of delegations of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chair countries made statements.
The foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed to meet at the beginning of 2018. Note that in April 2018 Armenia will shift to parliamentary governance, and it will be necessary to decide what the format of the negotiations is going to be. Besides, presidential elections are expected in Azerbaijan and Russia in 2018.
It is possible that the foreign minister of Azerbaijan Elmar Mammedyarov meant this when he announced: “In the upcoming months you will see how serious Armenia is for a peace settlement of the conflict.”
In this respect the co-chair countries, particularly the U.S. Secretary Rex Tillerson and the Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov have arrived at a consensus and for the time being it is necessary to freeze the settlement and prevent escalation. The representative of France Veronique Roger Lacan, Tillerson and Lavrov made a joint statement that the agreements of Vienna must be implemented but in the first stage it is necessary to enlarge the office of the OSCE CiO personal representative’s office. Apparently, Azerbaijan disagreed to the mechanisms of investigation, and on the other hand Armenia disagreed to negotiate without that. This means that the status quo has only been strengthened.
The co-chairs underscored non-use of force or threat to use force, territorial integrity, equality and commitment to the right to self-determination. “We express satisfaction with the intensified negotiations, and appeal to the sides to focus their efforts on finding compromise solutions to the substantive issues of political settlement. Further delays will only complicate the situation and could call into question the commitment of the Parties to reach a lasting agreement,” reads the statement.
What do the co-chairs mean by saying delays? What steps will be taken if it turns out that one of the sides is not prone to agreement? Is recognition of Karabakh possible or will a solution be imposed on the sides? Apparently, the co-chairs have decided to give the sides some time. This stance only strengthens the existing reality.
The foreign minister of Armenia Edward Nalbandyan reminded that in 2016 Azerbaijan’s aggression seriously harmed the negotiations.
Nalbandyan accused Azerbaijan of breaching agreements and setting obstacles to negotiations. He underlined that Azerbaijan’s stance is an obstacle to progress and helps maintain the status quo. In fact, he is trying communicate to Baku that the current situation is Azerbaijan’s fault which refuses to demonstrate flexibility unlike Armenia.
Recalling that next year the people of Nagorno-Karabakh is going to celebrate 30 years of deciding its own destiny, protecting its dignity and hnor, Minister Nalbandyan said the people of Artsakh, despite the devastating earthquake, has been able to build a society based on human rights, freedoms and democracy. The settlement must be based on respect for the rights of the people of Artsakh and guarantee their long-term implementation, Edward Nalbandyan said.
For its part, the Azerbaijani minister Elmar Mammedyarov tried to promote its own agenda. In addition, he expressed concerns that some forces in the region are trying to maintain the status quo.
Official Yerevan continues illegal acts to alter the demographic, cultural and physical pattern in the occupied Azerbaijani territories, efforts at military occupation and fait accompli, he said. Interestingly, the US President Donald Trump spoke about fait accompli in his statement on recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. He said it is the recognition of fait accompli.