So, from the interview with Matthew Bryza it became clear, that the Azerbaijani circles largely repeat the same, what was voiced from Moscow earlier. Some one-two months ago a Russian political expert with surname Epifantsev, through the Tert.am on-line outlet disseminated information in Armenia, claiming that in the negotiation process around the NK conflict a proposal is under discussion which suggests handing the control over one-two regions around the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic to Azerbaijan in exchange to unblocking the communication links for Armenia. In regard to Epifantsev, naturally, the question rose where from a Russian political expert could know that, who had passed the information to him, and finally was it an informational leakage from negotiations or a probing ordered from Kremlin? Still even if we are dealing with a reconnoiter, the very circumstance that Epifantsev tells the same to Tert.am and the leadership in Baku tells it to Bryza, indicates at least on kind of Rusian-Azerbaijani mutual understanding and cooperation over this issue.
We should be especially thankful to Mr. Bryza for amending the Epifantsev’s information with the crucial detail - telling that the idea of returning territory in exchange of communications’ reopening was Putin’s proposal. The Russian-Azerbaijani romances and joint undertakings against Armenia’s interests don’t surprise anyone here. Simply the question is had those two actually introduced their ordinal concept to Serge Sargsyan and, if yes, then what did they hear in response from the Armenian President. The only way to learn this was to send a question to President.
So I sent a request to Presidential Palace, telling that I’ve done a large interview with the former EUR DAS and Co-Chair of Minsk Group Matthew Bryza, and at some point of the interview Mr. Bryza has almost repeated what couple of months ago the Russian expert with surname Epifantsev has disseminated in Armenia through Tert.am. Further I repeated what Epifantsev had told and what Bryza had added in regard of Putin’s a involvement, and in conclusion asked to grant me answers to the three questions below.
“1. Whether the Russian President Vladimir Putin has came up with initiative suggesting return of control over some territories around the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic to Azerbaijan in exchange of restoration of communication links for Armenia? If yes, then was that proposal voiced first at trilateral meeting in St. Petersburg, or similar proposals were made also in the past?
2. In the case, if the Russian and Azerbaijani parties offer this kind of proposals to the Armenian side, then with what kind of expectations do they do it? Does the Azerbaijan possess any communication links, restoration of which could matter to Armenian at all?
3. Along the past years, have there been other proposals, except comprising the condition and demand of clarification of the NKR status, in case of which the Armenian side expressed readiness to discuss the issue of returning the territories, or part of territories under the NKR control to Azerbaijan?”
On the same day the following written response was received from Presidential office signed by President Sargsyan’s spokesman Vladimir Hakobyan that I quote completely;
“Regarding the ideas voiced in the interview of Matthew Bryza in reference to negotiations on peaceful settlement of Nagorno Karabakh conflict, I announce that we hear about that kind of option for the first time. Concerning the process of peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, we’d like to underline once again that the important and primary task is to clarify the status of Nagotno Karabakh - only afterwards it will be possible to turn to other components of the conflict.
President Serge Sargsyan has never participated in a discussion where there wasn’t talk about the self-determination of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh, but was talk about other components of the conflict settlement. In the negotiation process the President of Armenia will continue to stay devoted to this principle also in future.”
Basically they have taken on all three questions and denied everything. Any awareness of President Putin’s proposal about restoration of communications in exchange of territory’s return was denied by telling that they hear about the idea for the first time. Further they had diplomatically withdrawn from assessing whether the reopening of Azerbaijani communication links makes sense to Armenia or not, simply telling that only after clarification of the Nagorno-Karabakh status there will be a sense to discussed other components of settlement process. Finally, the Presidential Palace assured that President Sargsyan never partakes in discussions, where other arrangements are discussed bypassing the issue of self-determination of Nagorno-Karabakh people. It equals to stating to the knowledge of Armenian and NKR citizens, the Russian-Azerbaijani tandem and the rest of the world that even if the proposal ascribed to Putin will be introduced, President Sargsyan won’t discuss it. So!
The original article in Armenian is available through the link;