ARMENIA, AZERBAIJAN BLAME EACH OTHER FOR KARABAKH FAILURE

Saudi Press Agency (SPA)
June 26, 2011 Sunday

YEREVAN/BAKU, Rajab 23, 1432 H / Jun 25, 2011, SPA -- Armenia and
Azerbaijan blamed each other on Saturday for failing to reach an
agreement on a framework document that would set the stage for an
end to their two decade-old conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, Reuters
reported.

Azeri President Ilham Aliyev and Armenia's Serzh Sarksyan held talks
on Friday in the Russian city of Kazan, 720 km (450 miles) east of
Moscow, on Nagorno-Karabakh, which Armenian-backed forces wrested
from Azeri control in the deadliest war to break out during the fall
of the Soviet Union 20 years ago.

"The Kazan summit did not achieve a breakthrough because Azerbaijan
was not ready to accept the last version of the Basic Principles,"
Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian said in a statement.

The two sides were under pressure from global powers to agree the
Basic Principles, a 14-point framework document that would set the
stage for talks on a peace settlement.

The document would set guidelines on how to determine the final status
of the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave, which has run its own affairs with
Armenia's support since the war. It would also cover the return
of several territories surrounding the enclave, which also form a
corridor to Armenia, to Azeri control.

Other points include the right of refugees from both sides to
return; an interim status providing security and self-governance for
Nagorno-Karabakh; and international security guarantees to keep the
fragile deal from falling apart.

Baku was quick to respond to Yerevan's allegations that the Azeri
side was responsible for the failure.

"Armenia's foreign ministry statement showed once again that the
Armenian leadership had no intention of abandoning methods of dirty
propaganda," Novruz Mamedov, head of the presidential administration's
foreign relations department, told reporters.

"The unconstructive position of the Armenian side is to be blamed
for absence of serious progress," he said.

At the same time, both sides pledged to continue talks.

The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on
Saturday called on both sides to continue peace efforts and pledged
its support for the process.

Azeri and Armenian leaders and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said
on Friday that the sides had reached "a mutual understanding on a
range of issues whose resolution will help create conditions for an
approval of the Basic Principles".

A 1994 ceasefire halted the conflict that killed about 30,000 people
and drove up to a million from their homes. But gunfire and landmines
frequently kill soldiers on both sides.

After years struggling to shepherd the rivals toward a resolution,
the United States, Russia and France -- which lead mediation efforts --
are pushing for a serious step forward.

The dispute also scuttled a rapprochement between Armenia and Turkey
last year. Azerbaijan has said it could reclaim Nagorno-Karabakh by
force if the status quo persists.