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Azerbaijan Confirms New Karabakh Peace Plan Presented


Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (right) greets the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan, Serzh Sarkisian (left) and Ilham Aliyev, in St. Petersburg on June 17.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (right) greets the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan, Serzh Sarkisian (left) and Ilham Aliyev, in St. Petersburg on June 17.

YEREVAN -- Azerbaijan has confirmed Armenian claims that Russian President Dmitry Medvedev presented his Armenian and Azerbaijani counterparts with a new plan to end their conflict over the breakaway Azerbaijani region of Nagorno-Karabakh in St. Petersburg last month, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

Elxan Poluxov, a spokesman for Azerbaijan's Foreign Ministry, was reported as saying on July 22 that the "working proposals" that were welcomed by Yerevan were unacceptable to Baku.

Azerbaijani officials had previously denied that a new plan had been presented by Medvedev.

Poluxov claimed Russia drafted the new plan unilaterally without consulting the United States or France, the two other co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group working to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

"Those working proposals were prepared only by one party, and the Minsk Group format was thus not observed," Poluxov told day.az. "In essence, the proposals that were made in St. Petersburg [on June 17] change the whole philosophy of the negotiating process."

Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian and Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian have described Medvedev's proposals as a "new version" of the Basic Principles of the conflict's resolution, which the mediators had first formally proposed in Madrid in 2007 and are therefore known as the "Madrid Principles."

Other government figures in Yerevan have claimed that Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev cut short his visit to St. Petersburg and ordered an attack on a Karabakh Armenian army outpost the next day to demonstrate his frustration with the latest turn in the negotiating process.

Sarkisian said late on July 21 that the peace process would remain deadlocked unless Azerbaijan followed Armenia's example and accepts the St. Petersburg proposals as "a basis for negotiations."

In another development, Aliyev today bestowed the title of "national hero" upon Mubariz Ibrahimov, the Azerbaijani soldier killed in the June 18-19 firefight with ethnic Armenian forces in northern Karabakh.

He also ordered his government to name a school and a street in Ibrahimov's native Bilyasuvar district after the soldier.

Ibrahimov was reportedly shot dead in Armenian-controlled territory, something presented by the authorities in Karabakh and Armenia as further proof that the fighting -- which also left four Armenian soldiers dead -- was provoked by Azerbaijani forces.

The Karabakh Armenian military has still not returned his body.
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