Online negotiations: Armenian and Azerbaijani FMs talk Karabakh
The process of resolving the Karabakh conflict due to the coronavirus epidemic has gone online.
On June 30, a second video conference of the Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan, Zohrab Mnatsakanyan and Elmar Mammadyarov, took place. It was organised by the mediators of the Karabakh conflict settlement – the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group.
For the first time, diplomats held online talks on April 22.
During the second video call, the possibility of personal meetings and visits to the region by the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group was discussed once the epidemiological situation normalized. The foreign ministers agreed to hold an online discussion next month.
Information from Yerevan
According to the press service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia, during the meeting Zohrab Mnatsakanyan stated that the warlike statements made by Azerbaijan are unacceptable, as they negatively affect the atmosphere of a peaceful settlement and hinder the preparation of peoples for peace.
The Armenian minister also spoke about the need for “continued comprehensive security of the people of Artsakh, including through free and safe movement.”
Journalist and expert on conflicts in the Caucasus Tatul Hakobyan commented on the video conference of the ministers:
“Today, the Karabakh settlement process has again come to a standstill, since there is no document on which to negotiate, there is no draft or approach that would be 50 percent acceptable for the Azerbaijani side and 50 percent for the Armenian sides.”
At the same time, the expert recalls those “red lines beyond which retreat cannot be a fair and acceptable solution” for Armenia:
“First: Artsakh cannot be part of Azerbaijan in any status, although negotiations are going on primarily around status.
“Second: the solution must be acceptable to the peoples of all three parties involved in the conflict.”
Information from Baku
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan limited itself to a statement of the fact of the meeting and a very concise description of what was discussed. In particular, it was noted:
“Minister Elmar Mammadyarov raised the issue of illegal activities carried out by Armenia in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, including the change of infrastructure.”
Local media and experts did not pay much attention to this meeting either. Moreover, almost at the same time it became known that strict quarantine in the country would be extended until the end of August.
JAMnews political commentator Shahin Rzayev called this meeting “a continuation of the imitation of the negotiation process”:
“Let’s be frank, now in the context of the coronavirus pandemic, the Karabakh problem has somewhat receded into the background. Maybe this is good, since there have been fewer serious incidents at the front. Maybe the co-chairs were interested in possible changes in the light of the presidential elections in Karabakh, but hardly anything could change there. So, they will continue to call, and if we are all lucky and the borders open, we will meet in person, but we should not expect any breakthrough in the negotiations in the near future.”