Days of speculation are over, OSCE Minsk group Co-Chairs did all the shuttle-diplomacing they could between Baku and Yerevan, and today a statement was signed on Karabakh at the OSCE Astana Summit, which doesn’t say or do anything new.
Sure, it calls for “more decisive steps“, and recalls and reassures this and that, but once you look at it, nothing is changed.
Below is an extract from the Astana statement, where Armenia and Azerbaijan are actually agreeing to something.
The Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan reaffirmed their commitment to seek a final settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, based upon: the principles and norms of international law; the United Nations Charter; the Helsinki Final Act; as well as the statements of Presidents Medvedev, Sarkozy, and Obama, at L’Aquila on July 10, 2009, and at Muskoka on June 26, 2010.
The Muskoka statement is the one, where there is a close about “the return of the occupied territories surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh”. The Armenian opposition will surely jump at the opportunity to criticize the authorities for signing under something which reaffirms Muskoka treaty where the word “occupied” exists. But hey, that’s what the opposition is for, isn’t it? Hopefully they will not just criticize, but also suggest some concrete steps to improve the situation.
The only important thing, really, is the fact, that the Astana statement has the signatures of Armenia and Azerbaijan. After all the war rhetoric Azerbaijan has been sending over to us, which triggered a couple of angry remarks from the Armenian side, it is important that they’re signing something together.
But if we add to it the fact, that at the last moment Azerbaijan’s president Ilham Aliyev changed plans and refused to meet Armenia’s and Russia’s president on a tri-lateral format to discuss Karabakh conflict, the value of that signature under the statement goes sharply down.