Obama, Medvedev, Sarkozy want Karabakh Basic Principles

by Emil Sanamyan

Published: Saturday June 26, 2010

Obama and Medvedev had burgers in Arlington, VA on June 24. Pete Souza / White House Photo

Washington - Leaders of France, Russia and the United States - the three countries that have led the Karabakh mediation efforts since 1997 - renewed their commitment to finding a peaceful solution to the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict. 

The June 26 statement issued during the ongoing G8 meeting in Canada comes about a year after Nicolas Sarkozy, Dmitry Medvedev and Barack Obama released a similar statement at last year's G8 summit then held in Italy.

The three presidents made no reference to the recent deadly raid by Azerbaijani forces on a forward Armenian position that left four Armenian soldiers dead and another four wounded leading to statements by the mediating troika and international organizations calling on parties to respect the cease-fire agreement.

At the same time it "welcomed the recognition by both sides that a lasting settlement must be based upon the Helsinki Principles" which refer to both territorial integrity and self-determination and serve as the founding principles for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

Earlier this year, Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents reportedly agreed on the preamble of the Basic Principles text, which it now appears contained a reference to the Helsinki Principles.

The statement also noted the parties' "recognition" that the settlement would be based on "elements" of the basic principles listed by the three presidents last year. This is likely to indicate that the parties had agreed to some but not all of the proposed principles.

The statement as issued by the White House Office of the Press Secretary follows:

G8 Summit: Joint Statement On The Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict by Dmitry Medvedev, President Of The Russian Federation, Barack Obama, President Of The United States Of America, and Nicolas Sarkozy, President Of The French Republic

Muskoka, 26 June 2010

We, the Presidents of the OSCE Minsk Group's Co-Chair countries, France, the Russian Federation, and the United States of America, reaffirm our commitment to support the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan as they finalize the Basic Principles for the peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

We welcome as a significant step the recognition by both sides that a lasting settlement must be based upon the Helsinki Principles and the elements that we proposed in connection with our statement at the L'Aquila Summit of the Eight on July 10, 2009, relating to:

the return of the occupied territories surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh,

interim status for Nagorno-Karabakh guaranteeing security and self-governance,

a corridor linking Armenia to Nagorno-Karabakh;

final status of Nagorno-Karabakh to be determined in the future by a legally-binding expression of will,

the right of all internally-displaced persons and refugees to return, and

international security guarantees, including a peacekeeping operation.

Now the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan need to take the next step and complete the work on the Basic Principles to enable the drafting of a peace agreement to begin.  We instruct our Ministers and Co-Chairs to work intensively to assist the two sides to overcome their differences in preparation for a joint meeting in Almaty on the margins of OSCE Informal Ministerial.

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