Analysis: Armenia seeks security guarantees for Karabakh before resumption of talks

Photo: Photolure

Armenia refuses to negotiate on the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh problem until international security guarantees and the introduction of international ceasefire monitoring mechanisms are ensured to pave the way for peace talks.

This is clear from public statements by Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan and other senior officials.

Azerbaijani media, quoting an assistant of the French Minister for European Affairs, reported that the OSCE mediators are preparing an urgent meeting of the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents. However, the Armenian side has not confirmed this information – the press secretary of the president of Armenia said that meetings of the head of state are announced in advance.

Earlier, in an interview with Bloomberg, Sargsyan, in fact, ruled out negotiations on the Karabakh settlement until security guarantees were provided. As such a guarantee the Armenian side considers forcing Azerbaijan to observe the 1994 ceasefire agreement and implementation of a set of international security mechanisms. While visiting Yerevan last week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov recommended that Armenia seek such guarantees from Germany, which is the country holding the rotating OSCE presidency today.

Meanwhile, fighting continues in Nagorno-Karabakh. On the morning of April 26, the Armenian side reported heavy shelling of Martakert and Madaghis in the north of Karabakh.

In the evening of April 26, the Defense Ministry stated about punitive actions being carried out by the Armenian army. Some media reported about the Armenian side’s recovering some of the lost positions near the village of Talish in the Martakert region and panic in the border regions of Azerbaijan.

On the evening of April 26, Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Ambassador Andrzej Kasprzyk met with First Deputy Defense Minister David Tonoyan.

During the meeting, the senior Armenian army official pointed to the need for speedy introduction of mechanisms for monitoring and investigating border incidents. The same day a telephone conversation took place between the foreign ministers of Armenia and Russia, Edward Nalbandian and Sergey Lavrov. The two also discussed issued related to a Karabakh ceasefire.

On April 25, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had telephone conversations with President Sargsyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, while Minister for European Affairs of France Harlem Désir visited Yerevan and Baku.

The same day, the Armenian Foreign Ministry issued a statement in connection with Azerbaijan’s unilateral denunciation of the 1994 ceasefire agreement. The MFA stated that in the event of such developments Armenia will fully fulfill its obligations on the guarantees of Nagorno-Karabakh’s security. On April 26, the NKR Ministry of Foreign Ministry issued a similar statement, accusing Azerbaijan of trying to free its hands for the resumption of war.

Commenting on Lavrov’s visit to Yerevan on April 22, Armenia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Shavarsh Kocharyan said that if earlier the mediators proposed negotiations on a political settlement of the problem, with an agreement to be signed, then now they primarily offer measures to comply with peace and stability. Azerbaijan now does not agree to take such measures.

Besides, in an interview with Bloomberg, President Sargsyan said that while in 2011 Armenia agreed to an Armenian withdrawal from five districts near Nagorno-Karabakh, then “now the situation is totally different.” In Armenia, it was taken by many as refusal to agree to territorial concessions.