At the invitation of the President of the Russian Federation, the Presidents of the Republic of Armenia, the Russian Federation and the Republic of Azerbaijan met on January 23, 2012 in Sochi and discussed issues pertinent to the process and prospects of the resolution of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict.
The leaders of the three states underscored the great amount of work conducted towards the resolution of the NK conflict, starting from their meeting on November 2, 2008 when the Parties adopted the Moscow Declaration. The Presidents stated that intensive negotiations allowed to register progress in the reconciliation of the Basic Principles for the settlement of the NK issue.
In the view of the importance of starting the drafting of the Peace Agreement, the Presidents of the Republic of Armenia and Republic of Azerbaijan expressed readiness to expedite the process of reaching understanding with regard to the Basic Principles, taking into account all the works conducted so far.
The two Presidents hailed the mediation mission of the Russian Federation and other Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group and expressed hope that the RF, USA and France in that capacity will in the future also bring their active participation to the process of settlement until eventual peace and stability have been established in the region.
Further to the provision of the Joint Declaration adopted on March 5, 2011 in Sochi, the Presidents of the Russian Federation, the Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan took note of the jointly drafted report by the Co-Chairs and the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office pertinent to the mechanisms for the investigation of the accidents along the line of contact and directed to continue that work.
The Presidents reaffirmed that in the context of the NK settlement, the development of humanitarian contacts between the parties is part of the confidence building measures. With this regard, the Presidents of the Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan expressed readiness to encourage the establishment of a subsequent dialogue between the representatives of intelligentsia, scientific and social circles.
Original source: President of Russia [Rus]
Armenian source: President of Armenia
Azerbaijani source: President of Azerbaijan
VILNIUS, 6 December 2011 – On the occasion of the OSCE Ministerial Council Meeting in Vilnius, the Heads of Delegation of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair countries (Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation Sergei Lavrov, Secretary of State of the United States Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Minister for European Affairs of France Jean Leonetti) and the Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan Elmar Mammadyarov and Foreign Minister of Armenia Edward Nalbandian reaffirmed the importance of reaching a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Recalling the November 2008 Moscow Declaration, as well as their countries’ statements at the OSCE Ministerial Council meetings in Helsinki (2008) and Athens (2009) and at the OSCE Summit in Astana (2010), the five Heads of Delegation agreed on the need to continue the negotiating process in the format of the OSCE Minsk Group and to improve the climate for making progress towards a peaceful settlement. As one of the steps in this direction, they agreed that further efforts should be made to work on the details of the mechanism to investigate ceasefire violations, which resulted from the joint statement of Presidents Aliyev, Sargsian, and Medvedev at the March 2011 Sochi summit.
Noting the May 2011 statement of their Presidents at Deauville, which urged Armenia and Azerbaijan to finalize the Basic Principles for the Peaceful Settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict, the Heads of Delegation of the Minsk Group Co-Chair Countries expressed regret that the parties have been unable to take this decisive step. The three Heads of Delegation reiterated that there can be no military solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and that the United Nations Charter, the Principles of the Helsinki Final Act, and the elements outlined in the joint statements of their Presidents at L’Aquila in July 2009 and Muskoka in June 2010 offer the way for all sides to move beyond the unacceptable status quo to reach a peaceful settlement. In light of the intensive negotiations conducted since the 2007 OSCE Ministerial Council in Madrid, including at the highest level, the three Heads of Delegation urged the parties to give further careful consideration to the proposals that the Co-Chair countries have provided to them.
The Ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia expressed their appreciation for the efforts of the Co-Chair countries, including the personal engagement of Presidents Medvedev, Obama, and Sarkozy, in assisting their countries to reach a framework for a comprehensive peace settlement. They informed the Heads of Delegation of the Co-Chair countries that their Presidents are ready to meet again jointly in the near future under the auspices of the Co-Chair countries to continue their direct dialogue, building upon recent experience, on how to bring peace, stability, and prosperity to their peoples.
Source: OSCE Minsk Group page
“Khojaly: Propaganda through Tragedy”
MIA Publishers, 2011
By NGO “Against Xenophobia and Violence”
One night of February 26, 1992, armed units from the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR) started a military operation to take out artillery positions and bring an end to the blockade of Khojaly airport. That same night, 12 kilometres away from Khojaly, in the area near the town of Aghdam, peaceful residents were found dead.
Until today, the Azerbaijani authorities have used their version of the events near Aghdam (so called “the events of Khojaly”) to incite ethnic hatred and racism [towards Armenians]. However, their version of events has been disputed on the basis of factual evidence by, first of all, numerous Azerbaijani sources, as well as by independent observers.
- Khojaly: Propaganda Through Tragedy (in English)
- Ходжалу: Пропаганда посредством трагедии (in Russian)
- Khodjalou: Une Tragédie au Service de la Propagande (in French)
- Khodjalú, Propaganda Azerí (in Spanish)
- Khojalu: propaganda mittels der tragödie (in German)
- Hocalı: Felaket Üzerinden Bir Propaganda (in Turkish)
- Chodžali Tragedija – Propagandos Įrankis (in Lithuanian)
The President of the Republic had stated in Strasbourg that it would be possible to expect positive results, progress in Kazan if Azerbaijan did not propose new amendments.
Yet, the Kazan summit didn’t achieve a breakthrough, because Azerbaijan was not ready to accept the last version of the Basic Principles proposed by the three Co-Chairs.
In Deauville the Co-Chair countries had urged the Presidents to come to an agreement in Kazan. President Obama in his phone conversations with the Presidents had made the same call. The President of France Sarkozy had sent messages to the Presidents, as well.
Despite of it the Azerbaijani side proposed approximately a dozen of amendments, and that is the reason why the Kazan meeting did not prove to be a breakthrough.
In any case, I think the meeting was useful in the sense that the detailed discussions continued. And the important point is that President Medvedev, who made a great input in this process during the last three years, expressed willingness to continue his efforts towards according the principles and achieving a final agreement over them.
This was already the 12th meeting between the parties during the last three years. But during this last year Azerbaijan has, in fact, repeated this scenario of coming up with new amendments and proposals at least four times. This is the reality.
Nonetheless, we will continue the negotiations, because there is no other way for the settlement. It is possible to solve the conflict only through peaceful means and negotiations.
Source: Armenian MFA
Dmitry Medvedev met with President of the Republic of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan and President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev.
A joint statement was issued following the meeting.
The statement notes that the Presidents of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and the Russian Federation reviewed the progress in agreement on the draft of the Basic Principles for Nagorno Karabakh settlement, in accordance with their instructions.
The Presidents acknowledged that common understanding had been reached on a number of issues whose resolution will promote the conditions for approval of the Basic Principles.
The Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan expressed their gratitude to the leaders of Russia, the US and France as co-chair countries of the OSCE Minsk Group for their permanent attention to the Nagorno Karabakh settlement issue and gave a high assessment of the personal efforts of the President of the Russian Federation in helping achieve the agreements.
Source: President of Russia
We, the Presidents of the OSCE Minsk Group’s Co-Chair countries — France, the Russian Federation, and the United States of America — are convinced the time has arrived for all the sides to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict to take a decisive step towards a peaceful settlement.
We reiterate that only a negotiated settlement can lead to peace, stability, and reconciliation, opening opportunities for regional development and cooperation. The use of force created the current situation of confrontation and instability. Its use again would only bring more suffering and devastation, and would be condemned by the international community. We strongly urge the leaders of the sides to prepare their populations for peace, not war.
As a result of efforts by the parties and the Co-Chair countries at all levels, significant progress has been made. The latest version of the Basic Principles, as discussed in Sochi on March 5, lays a just and balanced foundation for the drafting of a comprehensive peace settlement. This document, based on the Helsinki Final Act and elements outlined in our joint declarations in L’Aquila in July 2009 and Muskoka in June 2010, provides a way for all sides to move beyond the unacceptable status quo.
We therefore call upon the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan to demonstrate their political will by finalizing the Basic Principles during their upcoming summit in June. Further delay would only call into question the commitment of the sides to reach an agreement. Once an agreement has been reached, we stand ready to witness the formal acceptance of these Principles, to assist in the drafting of the peace agreement, and then to support its implementation with our international partners.
Source: OSCE Minsk Group page
The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) was established by the Council of Europe. It is an independent human rights monitoring body specialised in questions relating to racism and intolerance. It is composed of independent and impartial members, who are appointed on the basis of their moral authority and recognised expertise in dealing with racism, xenophobia, antisemitism and intolerance.
In the framework of its statutory activities, ECRI conducts country-by-country monitoring work, which analyses the situation in each of the member States regarding racism and intolerance and draws up suggestions and proposals for dealing with the problems identified.
Here is what the 2011 ERCI report on Azerbaijan says about discrimination against persons of Armenian origin:
98. As mentioned in other parts of this report, persons of Armenian origin are at risk of being discriminated against in their daily lives. Certain people born of mixed Armenian-Azerbaijani marriages choose to use the name of their Azerbaijani parent so as to avoid problems in their contacts with officialdom; others who did not immediately apply for Azerbaijani identity documents when the former Soviet passports were done away with today encounter difficulties in obtaining identity papers. These problems and the prejudice reigning within society with regard to Armenians also cause serious difficulties of access to social rights.
99. ECRI is still deeply concerned about the fact that the constant negative official and media discourse concerning the Republic of Armenia helps to sustain a negative climate of opinion regarding people of Armenian origin coming under the Azerbaijani authorities’ jurisdiction. This prejudice is so ingrained that describing someone as an Armenian in the media is considered by some people – including by certain Armenians themselves – to qualify as an insult that justifies initiating judicial proceedings against the persons making such statements. ECRI underlines the seriousness of this situation, where it seems that persons belonging to the group discriminated against in this way may themselves have interiorised this discriminatory attitude.
100. ECRI is moreover puzzled by the contradictory information it has received as to the number of persons of Armenian origin currently living in Azerbaijan. On the basis of the previous census, 120 700 Armenians were living in Azerbaijan in 1999. The authorities have indicated that the number of Armenians living in Nagorno-Karabakh or the areas affected by the conflict over it could be estimated at about 120 000, in line with the results of the last census carried out in the region during the Soviet era. Outside those areas, 700 people declared themselves as being of Armenian origin. In view of the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh and the areas affected by the conflict over it, it was again not possible to count the real number of Armenians living in this part of the country during the census carried out in 2009; the estimated figure of 120 000 will accordingly be deemed still current for these areas and only the figure of 700, corresponding to the number of persons actually counted in the remainder of Azerbaijani territory, is likely to change. ECRI points out that these explanations, albeit clear, differ strikingly from the figure of 30 000 Armenians living in the parts of Azerbaijan under the Azerbaijani authorities’ effective control, which is regularly cited by the authorities. ECRI considers that questions can be raised as to the reasons why less than 3% of those concerned are prepared officially to declare themselves as belonging to this group. Thought should be given, inter alia, to the measures that might be taken to eliminate the prejudices and stereotyping existing within the majority population that can give rise to discriminatory attitudes towards persons of Armenian origin.
101. ECRI refers to the recommendations made in other parts of this report concerning the need to adopt an appropriate response to all cases of discrimination and hate speech against Armenians, and to its recommendations concerning the application of the relevant legal provisions. It considers that the Azerbaijani authorities should actively contribute to generating a climate where all persons of Armenian origin living in Azerbaijan can declare their ethnic origin without fear.
File: 2011 ERCI Report on Azerbaijan
Source: Publications, European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI)