Yerevan and Stepanakert have the same approach to restoration of the trilateral format of negotiations, Artsakh Foreign Minister Masis Mayilian says.
“Speaking about the return of the Republic of Artsakh to the negotiation table, we proceed from the need to achieve real progress in the process of the Azerbaijan-Karabakh conflict settlement,” the Foreign Minister said in an interview with the Russian news agency Regnum.
He noted that all necessary prerequisites exist for the restoration of the trilateral negotiations.
“First, after quite a long discussion on the format of negotiations, in 1993, the CSCE/OSCE came to the understanding of the need for the participation of Nagorno Karabakh as the third party in all the stages of the peace process. Subsequently, this thesis was reflected in the Prague Summary by the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office of March 31, 1995. The trilateral format itself was endorsed earlier by the decision of the OSCE Budapest Summit in 1994, based on consensus,” Masis Mayilian said.
Secondly, he said, as time showed, the trilateral format was the most efficient and productive one.
“It was in this format that the only tangible result was achieved in the settlement process – the conclusion under the Russian mediation of the trilateral agreement of May 12, 1994, on cease-fire and cessation of all hostilities,” the Foreign Minister reminded.
He noted that the formula for the success of the trilateral negotiation format is quite simple: each of the parties directly represented its interests and discussed the issues within its competence.
“As Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan has repeatedly stated, Yerevan does not intend to set Stepanakert’s participation in the negotiation process as a precondition, but at the same time, it will conduct negotiations only on its own behalf. This means that the issues within the exclusive competence and powers of the authorities of the Artsakh Republic cannot be discussed in the Yerevan-Baku bilateral format. Such an approach is objective and, we believe, can serve as a mechanism for the return of Artsakh to the negotiation table,” he said.
The Foreign Minister stated that the search for possible ways to solve the issue based on territorial concessions is hopeless and does not reflect the essence of the conflict.
“The fact that in 1988, when a new stage of the conflict started, the territories around the former Nagorno Karabakh Autonomous Oblast and even one of the administrative regions of the autonomous oblast were under the control of Baku, indicates that this conflict is not a territorial dispute. That is, the conflict occurred despite the fact that these territories were controlled by the Azerbaijani party,” Mr. Mayilian said.
Therefore, he added, it is illogical to believe that the territorial concessions of Artsakh may lead to the conflict settlement.
He stressed that such proposals directly affect the issue of security, which is one of the “red lines” for Artsakh in the process of settlement of the conflict with Azerbaijan.
“Surrendering the territories is a direct way to destruction of the security system not only of Artsakh, but also of the Republic of Armenia, and it will threaten the very existence of the indigenous population in its historic homeland,” he added.
“The leadership of the Republic of Artsakh has repeatedly stated the impossibility and inadmissibility of returning to the past in terms of both issues: the status and the territories,” he stated.