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Caucasus Report

Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Discloses Details Of 'Madrid Principles'

Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov (file photo)
Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov (file photo)
Speaking at a press conference in Baku on March 15, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov disclosed details of the most recent draft of the so-called Madrid Principles for resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

The original Madrid Principles were presented by the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs to the Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers in November 2007; they were updated last year at the urging of the presidents of France, Russia, and the United States, the three countries that jointly co-chair the Minsk Group.

According to Mammadyarov, the most recent draft of the Madrid Principles envisages a phased, rather than a package solution to the conflict. The various steps are as follows:

  • Armenian forces withdraw from the Agdam, Fizuli, Djebrail, Zangelan, and Gubadli districts of Azerbaijan that border on Nagorno-Karabakh, and from 13 villages in the occupied Lachin district that lies between Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia.
  • Communications are restored and a donors' conference convened to raise funds for postconflict rehabilitation. "Peacekeeping observers" are deployed to ensure the security of Azerbaijani displaced persons returning to their abandoned homes.
  • The second stage entails the withdrawal of the remaining occupying Armenian forces from Lachin and Kelbajar, followed by the return to Nagorno-Karabakh of the former Azerbaijani population. A decision is then taken on the status of the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh republic within the Azerbaijan Republic, meaning that status should not violate Azerbaijan's territorial integrity.

In that context, Mammadyarov proposed what he termed "a high level of autonomy" such as that enjoyed by Tatarstan and Bashkortostan within the Russian Federation.

It is not clear whether Mammadyarov touched on the twin points, mentioned in the joint statement released in July by the French, Russian, and U.S. presidents, of granting "interim status for Nagorno-Karabakh providing guarantees for security and self-governance," with the region's "final legal status" to be determined "through a legally binding expression of will."

Mammadyarov said one week ago after meeting with the Minsk Group co-chairs in Paris that the revamped Madrid Principles are "largely acceptable" to Azerbaijan, bar some points he did not specify.

RFE/RL's Armenian Service in late January quoted unidentified sources close to the negotiating process as saying the remaining disagreements between the conflicting parties center on practical modalities of the referendum; the time frame for the Armenian troop withdrawal from Kelbajar and Lachin; and the status of a land corridor across Lachin that would connect the two Armenian entities.

In an address last month to the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London, Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian argued that the principle of territorial integrity "should not be emphatically underlined" when seeking a solution to the Karabakh conflict. He said Nagorno-Karabakh has never been part of an independent Azerbaijani state, and that the region seceded from the USSR in full accordance with the legislation in force in that country at the time. He went on to ask rhetorically why those who now argue that Azerbaijan's territorial integrity must be preserved at all cots did not advance the same argument when the USSR and Yugoslavia disintegrated.

"Our belief is that the settlement of the Karabakh conflict should be based on human rights and the will of the Karabakh people as an expression of their collective identity," Sarkisian went on. "It is the only way to achieve a lasting, feasible, and peaceful settlement." The alternative -- forcing the Karabakh population against their will to live as citizens of the Azerbaijan Republic would, Sarkisian predicted, inevitably lead to attempts by Azerbaijan to ethnically cleanse Karabakh of its Armenian population.

Tags: Nagorno-Karabakh,Armenia,Azerbaijan

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: John Harduny from: Reston, VA
March 16, 2010 00:53
Mamedyarov’s interpretation is the Madrid Principles is a self-gratifying fantasy. The Madrid Principles themselves are a lunacy created by the declining Bush Administration. In those times, some bureaucrats from the State Department, like Mathew Bryza, were bribed by Azerbaijan’s corrupt Aliyev regime in order to create a platform for Azerbaijan to re-colonize Nagorno Karabakh. The Madrid Principles will fail because they ask Armenians to abandon militarily important Security Zone around Nagorno Karabakh with Armenians getting in return nothing more than an empty promise of a referendum to be held in Nagorno Karabakh in the unspecified future.
In Response

by: Elina Farmanova-Haynes from: Ottawa, Canada
March 16, 2010 16:41
Mr. Harduny,

Did you intentionally drop or disregarded the fact that the Azerbaijani territories mentioned in this articles are actually territories occupied by Armenia? You seem to neglect another important factor - Azerbaijani people are entitled to human rights similar of those Armenia president claims for his people - freedom of choice. If they choose to return to Nargorny Karobakh, or Kelbajar, or Agdam or anywhere else where it is currently occupied by Armenia, they have the right to do so (but not the ability!).

It is just sad to read you, really...

by: David Hernández from: Spain
March 16, 2010 08:59
For a neutral observer, comments such as those by Mr Harduny are not exactly what one would call balanced or productive.
In Response

by: Garen from: New York City
March 16, 2010 11:49
Please , I believe your name is David Hernandez as much as I believe your view is fare & balanced.
In Response

by: David Hernández from: Salamanca, Spain
March 18, 2010 08:32
Hi "Garen",
My signed comments are all over the place, so I didn't make up a nickname (you forgot the accent on my first surname). I do believe that both Sarkisian and Aliyev are despicable dictators, I wouldn't like to live under their rule. As for your opinion, I dont' know if it's FAIR (check that spelling, dude) or balanced or productive, since you just didn't express it.

by: RD
March 16, 2010 14:26
I AM SORRY, but is the article finished already??? If I read this article correctly, I did not see a single concession by Azerbaijan. Armenian forces withdraw from all 7 districts around Karabakh and Karabakh returns to Azerbaijan for a referendum at some unspecified time in the future? That is exactly the situation the Armenians extricated themselves from in 1994. So, Armenia has no corridor to Karabakh, the Armenian population in NKR will live under oppressive Azeri rule again with an uncertain future. Azeris are not exempt from Aliyev's sordid and ominous regime. What would make Armenians think they will get better treatment? I have been to NKR a number of time. It is true they have little in material posessions. However, they have one thing they never had under Azeri rule or will never have it under Azeri rule in the future. Hope.
In Response

by: JH from: USA
March 16, 2010 16:53
Concession by Azerbaijan is granting the highest self-governance status to Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh within the framework accepted and enforced by the international community. Any further solution, requiring some form of "independence" (read reunification) with Armenia implies:

1. The rights of Azeris forced out of the occupied lands are not restored
2. The solution is based on Armenia's application of force, occupation and ethnic cleansing to achieve a final goal without any compromise.

Actually, if someone can tell us what is Armenia's compromise in demanding independence of the so called "NKR", would be great to listen. The stage solution on "highest autonomy" put forth by Azerbaijan seems to be more flexible in terms for both sides than outright "independence" via ethnic cleansing and occupation.

by: NA
March 16, 2010 17:19
Wait and see what would be the Armenia and Karabakh reactions. I do not belive the story is over. Mamadyarov can say many things.


by: tiraniyaya son
March 18, 2010 03:06
It seems that he hasn't mentioned the main point. I thought Madrid principles included a referendum on the status of Karabakh.
"final legal status to be determined through a legally binding expression of will."
I don't think Armenians would agree to these conditions if there is no referendum at the end.

About This Blog

This blog presents analyst Liz Fuller's personal take on events in the region, following on from her work in the "RFE/RL Caucasus Report." It also aims, to borrow a metaphor from Tom de Waal, to act as a smoke detector, focusing attention on potential conflict situations and crises throughout the region. The views are the author's own and do not represent those of RFE/RL.