Paper says Armenian officials "nervous" ahead of next Karabakh talks

Aykakan Zhamanak, Yerevan
27 May 06

Excerpt from Anna Akopyan report by Armenian newspaper Aykakan
Zhamanak on 27 May "To sign or not to sign"

It has become known from reliable sources that the OSCE Minsk Group
co-chairs expect [Presidents] Robert Kocharyan and Ilham Aliyev to
sign a document on the Karabakh settlement during their meeting in
Bucharest on 4-6 June. All the developments of the last one month and
a half prove that in Bucharest the world community will force the two
presidents either to sign a peace agreement or an intermediary
agreement.

[Passage omitted: more of the same]

No doubt unlike before the USA would like to see the Karabakh conflict
solved.

No doubt that Russia is not secretly fighting against the settlement
initiatives. The participation of Russian Deputy Foreign Minister
Grigoriy Karasin in the recent trip by the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs
to the region showed that Russia will not be against Kocharyan and
Aliyev signing the peace agreement in Bucharest. But is that really
going to happen?

Let us note that Azerbaijan sent positive "messages" in this regard
yesterday. In particular, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar
Mammadyarov, who is used to making harsh statements, changed his style
yesterday. He spoke about the need to reach a compromise and finally
specify the status of Karabakh. He even spoke about the NKR
constitution.

[Passage omitted: some excerpts from Mammadyarov's statement,
speculates on reasons for such a change]

Unlike the Azerbaijani leaders, their Armenian counterparts have not
been spreading any kind of "messages" or assessments. The most recent
statement by the Armenian side was made by the press secretary for the
Foreign Ministry that "agreement can be reached only if Azerbaijan
recognizes the right of the Karabakh people to
self-determination". And if we accept that the Nagornyy Karabakh
Republic's intermediary high status is the same as the right to
self-determination, and on the other hand to accept that speaking
about the constitution Mammadyarov meant just this intermediary high
status, it turns out that the document may be signed.

But unlike before it is now difficult to answer the question as to
whether Robert Kocharyan and Ilham Aliyev will sign the document. We
can only note that, according to our information, appropriate
officials of Armenia are feeling rather tense and nervous ahead of
their Bucharest visit.