Karabakh conflict: The Armenian perspective of step-by-step settlement

“The Armenian sides do not oppose the step-by-step settlement of the Karabakh conflict, but Azerbaijan should recognize the independence of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic as a first step. Then it has to return the occupied territories (parts of Martakert region and Shahumyan) and start talks with NKR on further clarification of the state border,” Armenian Deputy Foreign Minister Shavarsh Kocharyan said in an interview with Public Radio of Armenia.

The Deputy Foreign Minister noted that all documents – the Madrid Principles, the Kazan document, actually propose a package for bringing the approaches of the parties closer through mutual concessions.

“Formally backing the package, Azerbaijan, in essence, puts the emphasis on points favorable for itself,” Kocharyan said. He added, however, that all provisions of the documents on the negotiating table need to be reconsidered after the recent aggression unleashed by Azerbaijan.

According to the Deputy FM, the recent developments showed that Azerbaijan has not refused from its policy of power and hatred for Armenians.

He reminded that the trilateral agreements on ceasefire and reinforcement of ceasefire of 19914 and 1995 remain in force until a final political deal is reached. “By trying to denounce the agreements, Azerbaijan is refusing from its international commitments,” he added. “There are no guarantees that Azerbaijan will not refuse from an agreement in the future. It’s impossible to move forward without taking this into consideration.”

The Deputy Foreign Minister added that “the issue of Karabakh’s status should not be left uncertain, while speaking about territories is untimely today at least for two reasons.”

First, he said, it’s only up to Nagorno Karabakh to speak about territories. Second, speaking about concessions is useless, when the rival excludes any status for Karabakh.

“Unilateral concessions are excluded,” he stressed.

Shavarsh Kocharyan said resumption of talks is senseless as long as Azerbaijan is shooting. It will be possible to return to the negotiating table only after Azerbaijan stops firing, excludes the possibility of recurrence of such incidents in the future and when peoples are prepared for peace and an atmosphere of trust is established.

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