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Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Meets With Minsk Group Co-Chairs

Eduard Nalbandian, Armenia's foreign minister (left), and his Azerbaijani counterpart, Elmar Mammadyarov
YEREVAN -- Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov says Baku accepts "with some exceptions" the revised "Madrid Principles" for resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

Mammadyarov met in Paris on March 6 with the co-chairs to discuss the most recent amendments to those basic principles, a statement on the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) website said. Mammadyarov did not specify which points of the Madrid Principles Baku considers unacceptable.

The co-chairs unveiled the original Madrid Principles in November 2007. The new version was presented to the Armenian and Azerbaijani sides in December 2009 and January 2010, respectively. Both sides have since sent written comments and proposals to the cochairs.

Neither the original nor subsequent texts have been made public in their entirety. But the original Madrid Principles are believed to include "a referendum or popular vote" at some unspecified future date on the status of Nagorno-Karabakh. Azerbaijan's Constitution, however, does not permit a referendum on the territorial-administrative structure of the country.

Moreover, the decision on Nagorno-Karabakh's future permanent legal status would be made only after the consequences of the conflict had been addressed, meaning after Armenian forces withdrew from seven districts of Azerbaijan contiguous to Nagorno-Karabakh that they occupied between 1991 and 1994.

The co-chairs also said they will meet in Paris at an unspecified date later this month with Armenian Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian. Nalbandian is scheduled to accompany Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian on a state visit to France that starts March 9.