Sunday, 26 October 2008

Disclosed: Madrid principles of Karabakh conflict settlement (updated!)

UPDATE (27 October 2008): Thanks to Ruben Muradyan who pointed out in the comments section below that the principles of Karabakh conflict settlement posted in this blog (with the reference to The Karabakh Deal blog) are in fact recommendations by the International Crisis Group. As I mentioned in comments section, they sounded very similar to what is allegedly referred to "Madrid principles". Also, Ter-Petrosyan's outline of "Madrid principles" during the rally which I copied an extract from in this post, was in line with that outline.

So here we are again. We still need to get access to the original document on "Madrid principles", which Serj Sargsyan said is available in Internet but which is impossible to find a genuine copy of.

OSCE Minsk Group Karabakh Conflict Report - Madrid


To the Governments of Armenia and Azerbaijan:

1. Agree before the 2008 elections on a document of basic principles making provision for:

(a) security guarantees and the deployment of international peacekeepers;

(b) withdrawal of Armenian and Nagorno-Karabakh forces from all occupied territories adjacent to Nagorno-Karabakh, with special modalities for Kelbajar and Lachin;

(c) return of displaced persons;

(d) Nagorno-Karabakh’s final status to be determined eventually by a vote, with an interim status to be settled on until that time; and

(e) reopening of all transport and trade routes.

More... (source: The Karabakh Deal)

Below is the extract from Armenia’s opposition leader, former president Levon Ter-Petrosyan speech during the latest rally listing the basic principles of the proposed Karabakh settlement.

“Thus, it is perfectly obvious that we are standing on the brink of a resolution to the Karabagh conflict. It is also beyond doubt that the Madrid proposal, which the Minsk Group gave to the parties in December, 2007, and which is based on the idea of reconciling two principles of international law – the right to national self-determination and the principle of inviolability of territorial integrity – will be the basis of the new proposal. As for the essence of the resolution or the specific program, it will consist of approximately the following points:

1. Withdrawal of Armenian forces from the Azerbaijani regions surrounding Nagorno-Karabagh;
2. Resettlement of these regions with Azerbaijani refugees;
3. Return of Azerbaijani refugees to the territory of Nagorno-Karabagh itself;
4. Provision of an overland link connecting Nagorno-Karabagh to Armenia through the Lachin corridor;
5. Deployment of peace-keeping forces on across the borders of Nagorno-Karabagh;
6. Demilitarization of the territories that have been returned to Azerbaijan;
7. Lifting of the blockade of Armenia’s and Karabagh’s external communications, and reopening of the Armenian-Turkish border;
8. Definition of an interim status for Nagorno-Karabagh Republic;
9. Conduct of a referendum on the final status of Nagorno-Karabagh in some undefined, future date;
10. Provision of international financial aid for the restoration of the conflict zone.”

As I said before, these principles (November/December 2007) look very similar to the phased version (September 1997) of the conflict settlement (except added Karabakh referendum part) over which Ter-Petrosyan was forced to resign in February 1998. Although many concerned about the lack of clarity related to the principles and the principles themselves, RFE/RL notes that Ter-Petrosyan “did not specify whether he thinks Yerevan should go along with them. He said only that the Armenian side should have the mediators clarify when proposed referendum would take place and who would administer it. Ter-Petrosian had earlier described those principles as largely acceptable and stressed the fact that they are similar to a peace plan which he had strongly advocated while in power.”


Onnik Krikorian said...

I've got nothing against this framweork agreement/set of principles. Sounds quite logical and acceptable (nobody intended for the territories to be kept except in the interim as a buffer zone).

Just two things. It might be similar to the phased settlement advocated by Ter-Petrossian, but the issue of the final status of Karabakh is quite a major difference.

On the other hand, Armenia was in a stronger position back having successfully confronted an Azerbaijani military in disarray with political instability leaving their command and control in tatters.

However, if we are on the brink of some kind of deal, why the hell is Aliyev continuing with his militaristic and uncompromising rhetoric? I'm still resigned to the fact that nothing will come out of this, but I will be happy if I'm wrong.

Nevertheless, given Aliyev's strength, there is no need for him to resort to such populist nationalist rhetoric and it concerns me that he does.

Incidentally, technically the Azerbaijanis are not refugees. They are Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). Also, while there might be talk of the return of Azeri IDPs to Karabakh (which I'm not against although I understand it would be too problematic), in such matters it's actually the RIGHT to return.

In reality, few refugees or IDPs take up that right for obvious reasons. Anyways, I would suspect that Ter-Petrossian is largely in agreement in this deal whereas others in his camp such as Sefilian are not. However, it's unlikely they would be able to mobilize enough people for any street actions.

Main question in my mind is if we are close to this, how will ARF-D react? Another small half-hearted demo with few participants as they held when Gul was over? The perks of being in power must really be quite something indeed.

Bruce Tasker said...

I am also not against this framework of agreement, like I was not against the agreement for Cronimet to 'Privatize' the kajaran molybdenum factory, which they did with a $112 million worthless piece of Government backed paper, or how 'Russian companies' 'Privatized' the Hrazdan / Sevan cascade of five hydro power plants for $25 million, then received a $35 million gift from the Armenian government. The nitty-gritty of all these operations always happen in secret behind the scenes, and that will be the case with Karabakh - and Genocide.


You write that 'the issue of the final status of Karabakh is quite a major difference'. Does that mean you agree to Azerbaijan holding a referendum on the future status of karabakh, because that is what this agreement amounts to.

Then you ask the million dollar question - 'why the hell is Aliyev continuing with his militaristic and uncompromising rhetoric?'

The answer to that is simple, he has to decide whether to pay Kocharian and Sargsyan the multi-billion dollar (secret) compensation they are demanding, or would it be better to go to war.

The truth is now starting to come to the surface, and if we keep the pressure up, who knows, we might even find answers to these most important outstanding questions.

Onnik Krikorian said...

Bruce, no, I don't agree to Azerbaijan holding a referendum to determine the status. It has to happen among the population of Nagorno Karabakh. This is why I've mentioned the issue of the necessity to change Azerbaijan's constitution so that a referendum can be held in a localized location rather than nationally.

Regarding the other stuff, I really don't believe that Kocharian or Sargsyan will agree to anything that loses Karabakh its independence. Actually, despite claims to the contrary from nationalist circles, I don't believe that Ter-Petrossian would of either.

Indeed, when the term "sell-out Karabakh" is used in nationalist circles here they are not referring to Karabakh itself, but rather the territories surrounding it. And as we can see, the issue of Lachin and Kelbajar are still contentious issues in negotiations.

Well, that's nationalists in Armenia, but what worries me is nothing from this side to be honest. It's the nationalist rhetoric from the other. Ultimately, such talk can only lead to war. The international community must demand he stops it immediately.

It's pretty much brinkmanship when you consider that, as Saakashvili's nationalist rhetoric also achieved in Georgia over its breakaway regions, the population there does consider military action not only a solution, but also an inevitability.

R said...

I agree with Onnik. The problem is that Aliyev has boxed himself in with his uncompromising rhetoric about never allowing Karabagh to secede.

This deal is only acceptable if the referendum is conducted in Karabagh by an internationally supervised body and it allows the people of Karabagh to secede if they choose. The rest are details.

Bruce Tasker said...


The point is that the recommendation does NOT stipulate that the referendum on the final status of Nagorno-Karabagh in some undefined, future date should be carried out in Karabakh.

This is absolutely typical of the Kocharian / Sargsyan regime, who, if they were protecting Karabakhi rights, would INSIST that the recommendations clearly stated the referendum on the final status of Nagorno-Karabagh in some undefined, future date should be carried out ONLY in Karabakh - and that is what they would have us believe.

Unless Serzh or one of his 'competent' cronies makes a clear statement to the contrary, this should be clearly understood as being a classic Kocharian Sellout of Karabakh - For money, BIG money!!

Onnik, you 'don't believe that Kocharian or Sargsyan will agree to anything that loses Karabakh its independence'. Firstly Karabakh does not have independence to lose, and secondly, I am amazed that Armenia does not realize by now that Kocharian and Sargsyan do ONLY what is good for them; they do not give a damn for Karabakh, or for that matter for Armenia, except that Armenia should keep filling their pockets, the same way that Karabakh is about to do.

Haik said...

I think all of you miss a very important difference between 98 an 08.
In 1998, before Kocharian came to power, the NKR government was directly involved in all the negotiations as the third side. The three negotiating parties were Armenia , NKR and Azerbaijan. This was an important achievement, one of the outcome of the won war, the other main ones were the ceasefire and keeping the buffer zone. This huge plus was binned by Kocharian.

A question is Why ?.

Onnik Krikorianq said...

Haik, I agree. Karabakh should be involved. Sure, it's pretty much subservient to and reliant on Yerevan on everything, but it should be involved.

Bruce, I had already left a comment on another of Mika's posts about Karabakh regarding Azerbaijan's constitution. It should be the center of all of our attentions.

As for independence, when you're not recognized by anyone and your enemy is spending billions on its military, it can be quite easily lost.

Onnik Krikorian said...

Hmmm, "Keeping the buffer zone?"

This was a temporary measure, only. The intention was to use it in negotiations.

With the exception of a corridor through Lachin it was always going to be given back.

As Mika said about LTP's version:

4. Provision of an overland link connecting Nagorno-Karabagh to Armenia through the Lachin corridor;

Onnik Krikorian said...

Anyway, as "R" says, these are all details. The problem is that just as Karabakh was used to bring Ter-Petrossian down, they're now being used to attack this government.

In both cases the most important detail was overlooked and sacrificed in the interest of political intrigues and ambitions -- the need for peace.

Bruce Tasker said...

Onnik, You seem very attentive to Azerbaijan's constitution, which we here in Armenia can do nothing about, although I do agree that it is useful to keep an eye on it. Haik is right that Kocharian took all negotiating rights away from NKR, and Kocharian has been dominating the matter throughout his tenure. Azerbaijan's military might is building, and if Serzh and Kocharian are not prepared to do what they have been promising to do for many years, I for one would not blame Azerbaijan if it decided to take its land back by force. I consider that should it ever get to that, God Forbid, then the Sargsyan / Kocharian regime will be mostly to blame - and as I have repeated many times, for demanding too much secretly negotiated compensation money.

If my gut feeling is right, the whole sordid affair will blow up in their faces before they have the chance to take Armenia to war.

Onnik Krikorian said...

Bruce, the issue of the Azerbaijani constitution is one that EVERYONE will eventually be talking about. All I hope for is that it's sooner rather than later.

Haik said...

We kept the buffer zone during the 1994 peace deal because we won the war. Keeping the buffer zone was an achievement among other things. I think we should not take it for granted or underestimate its importance. I think the bufferzone should still stand for some time (for 100 year) even after NKR is granted independence. The buffer zone should be a DMZ.

As to why Kocharian removed NKR from negotiating table can be answered simply. Sometimes answers are simple and the answere is his personal character. Kocharian decalared that he will never tolerate competition and therefore disagreement.That he is the alphaman. Watch his Interview with A1+ right before he became president ( and It is a fact that whoever disagreed with that guy and came closer to be a threat was either killed, inprisoned or exiled. Untill RK has his hand on the Armenian political puls we cant expepect any democratic development. No surprise that he was given the nickname Girza or Cobra even before he cam to Armenia.

Onnik Krikorian said...

There was a ceasefire. There was no peace agreement thus the war has not technically ended. Regarding the buffer zone (which was always intended to go back in exchange for Karabakh's independence) it will be demilitarized according to this deal and policed by international peace-keepers.

My only regret is that such a deal wasn't signed back in 1997 when Vazgen Sargsyan allowed Kocharian to come to power. Ironic that I'm saying this on the anniversary of his death.

Any idea if there's a rally to mark it? There usually is, but I've heard nothing so far. Part of Ter-Petrossian's hiatus, I'm not sure. Still, strange to say the least.

artmika said...

P.S. They marked the anniversary of 27 Oct - both opposition (with Ter-Petrosyan) and MPs, in Yerablur and outside the parliament building, respectively.

Onnik Krikorian said...

Yerablur I know, but I meant a demo. Is there's something outside parliament today? Can't see anything on A1 Plus.

Talking of which, Serge still maintains the same position as he always has. And yes, I believe it's genuine.

“The settlement of the Karabakh conflict is possible if Azerbaijan recognises the right of people of Karabakh to self-determination, if Nagorno Karabakh is guaranteed a land border with the Republic of Armenia and if the international organisations and the international community guarantee the security of the people of Nagorno Karabakh,” Armenia Serzh Sargsyan said in an interview with the Public TV.

Bruce Tasker said...

Onnik, I really can not imagine why you continue to think that what Serzh and his cronies say has any association with the truth, after all the lies they tell, on an almost daily basis. The truth of the matter is in black and white on the Minsk and OSCE recommendations, which all the parties are using as the basis of agreement. If Serzh does not agree with that, then he should state categorically that he does not agree, rather than saying he is proceeding on the basis of 'Madrid Proposals'.

And again, you refer to Karabakhi independence, to which Azerbaijan has never agreed. LTP's plan was for Karabakh to have an Armenian dominated autonomy, but under Azerbaijani sovereignty. The longer this matter is drawn out, the weaker the situation becomes, for Karabakh and for Armenia.

As you are so intent on the importance of the Azerbaijani constitution, maybe we should all read it? Do you have a copy - in English?

artmika said...

Bruce, I think this is an important interview by Serj (full text is below, via As most of you said, the importance is in details which we do not know (published in my post are basic principles only). I agree with stated by Serj 3 preconditions of Karabakh conflict settlement, and I do think that it is possible to incorporate them within the Madrid principles (at least theoretically! - well, they do not contradict announced basic principles). It’s a different matter whether it is possible in practice, or whether Armenian side actually pursue them successfully during the negotiations. And yes, Azeri constitution seem important too, as unless there are changes there, it is impossible to speak of Karabakh self-determination based on referendum, it will remain just a cover-up. However, taking into account Azeri's position, unfortunately (!) I can't see the resolution - based on Serj’s stated conditions - any time soon.

I genuinely hope that he will initiate open public debate on the issues, as stated in the interview. (and kick started by Ter-Petrosyan, in fact, during his latest rally) But public has to know the details for the debate to be efficient.


Mr. President, the discourse of the settlement of the Karabakh issue has been revived recently, different evaluations and forecasts are made. What phase are we in now in reality?

The reality is that after a lasting phase of passiveness the settlement of the Karabakh issue has stepped into an active phase. This is determined by at least two important circumstances: first, the presidential elections ended in both Armenia and Azerbaijan, and second, the famous events in the region once again showed to everyone that the military way of solution of the conflict is impossible.

The settlement of the Karabakh conflict is possible if Azerbaijan recognizes the self-determination of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh, if Nagorno-Karabakh has a land border with the Republic of Armenia, and if the international organizations and leading countries guarantee the security of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh.

I think activity is useful, public debates are useful, and I am deeply convinced that soon we will enter a more active phase of public debates. Discussions are always useful but only one interest should be underlying it, the interest of the Armenian people. We have contributed a lot to the settlement of the Karabakh conflict in order to shut an eye on or overlook the facts of manipulation.

We are solving a cherished issue. We are solving an important historical problem, and it is not immoral to pursue other interests in the solution of this historical problem.

Mr. President, judging by the recent developments, the other regional actors seem to become more active in the settlement of the Karabakh issue. In particular, I mean the Russian president Medvedev’s initiative on the meeting of the three presidents, and the statement of the Turkish president Abdullah Gul that you seem to have been the first to ask him to give their assistance to the settlement. Would you comment on this?

First, I should note that the framework of the settlement of the Karabakh issue is the OSCE Minsk Group, based on the principles of Madrid.

It has been said for a number of times, and I now repeat that there are no other mediators, the only mediators are the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs, and the fuss that is made about it is not helpful to us in any way. I repeat the only mediators are the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs, Armenia has never asked any country to mediate. Russia is one of the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, and Dmitry Medvedev’s invitation and activity about this issue are quite regular.

As to commenting on President Gul’s statement, first I would like to note that you must have noticed that usually I do not comment on what other people say, especially that the media cite passages separated from the context.

The reality is that the only mediators are the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs, and we do not turn down any assistance. Yes, I am sure that Turkey may give assistance to the settlement of the Karabakh issue, and I think it now does give. The visit of President Gul to Yerevan, the continuation of the Armenian and Turkish negotiations is an excellent model of solution of complicated problems. I am sure if Turkey opened the borders and set up diplomatic relations, it would be a great assistance to the settlement of the Karabakh issue.

Mr. President, what are your thoughts on the effectiveness of our army?

Our army is effective. It is more effective then yesterday, and yesterday it was more effective than the day before.

Army building is lasting, hard work taking a lot of effort, which is based on devotion, and the idea and mindset that something should add each day. Every year our army’s arms and effectiveness, and most importantly morale increase. It is the most important weapon of our army.

Onnik Krikorian said...

Bruce, your fixation on my mention of the constitution is a distraction to the matter at hand, and if you actually wanted, you could google it. For years we had the opposition try to convince people that Kocharian and Serge were against a compromise deal on Karabakh.

They were hard-liners, the argument went, nasty Karabaghtsi, and peace would only come with the opposition in power.

Now, in order to exploit the issue, some are trying to convince people they're ready to give it away. Sorry, but I can't take such talk seriously. It's an attempt to sew confusion and doubts in the hope that it can save a dying political movement.

Still, it's interesting what you say about Levon's position -- an Armenian-dominated autonomy. That's likely to prove the nail in the coffin among his supporters, but I'm glad so far he is not trying to politicize the issue as some are.

Anyways, as "R" said, the framework deal is quite clear. What matters is the details.

Onnik Krikorian said...

Yeah, I'm inclined to agree, Mika. I don't see a solution mainly because of Azerbaijan. The situation after Georgia makes a military solution less likely, but at the same time, his hardline speeches aren't exactly preparing Azerbaijan for compromise and peace.

Bruce Tasker said...


Yes, as you say it is possible that the situation could be resolved acceptably according to Serzh's words. The more important problem is that the situation could also be resolved most unacceptably according to his words, and to come back to what I wrote previously, if he and his cronies spent less time lying, then we would have less cause to doubt their words. And that is doubly important when taking into account their track records, i.e. how they have already stolen everything that once belonged to the people of Armenia, and how they recklessly abuse the privileges th people gave them.

To quote one blatant lie in the interview report you copy above, not long ago Armenia was in the throws of 'unilaterally' throwing Minsk and the OSCE out of the negotiations, and now Serzh says there has never been another mediator. Or, maybe in Armenia lies have a shelf life - about a day or so, or maybe an hour??

What are we meant to make of this: "it is not immoral to pursue other interests in the solution of this historical problem"

That brings me back to my main point. Are the Armenia people not allowed to know what other interests Serzh and his crew are not immorally pursuing? Smacks a bit like compensation to me.

Ruben Muradyan said...

Guys, I think that our friend Unzipped was misinformed.
This text is not the Madrid principles.
This text is taken out from report of International Crisis Group, and is nothing more than just recommendations.
Full text of those recommendations is located here - In this material there's no reference to those points as Madrid proposal, and the original author (to whom Unzipped refers in his post) did not provide any evidence, that recommendations of ICG are the real Madrid proposal.

That's it.
Ruben Muradyan

artmika said...

Thanks, Ruben, for this info. I wonder if Bruce could provide clarifications as to the origin of the document and why he thinks that it constitutes "Madrid principles". (To be honest, they sounded very similar to what is allegedly refered to "Madrid principles". Also, Ter-Petrosyan's outline of "Madrid principles" during the rally which I copied an extract from in this post, was in line with that outline).

So here we are again. We still need to get access to the original document on "Madrid principles", which Serj Sargsyan said is available in Internet but which is impossible to find a genuine copy of.

Ruben Muradyan said...

I understand, why Serzh Sargsyan do not want to reveal the exact text of Madrid principles. The logic is simple: If/when he reveals this plan - he will make it subject for trade and hate speech between the officials of Armenia and Azerbaijan, and actually will bury it. And it is not just words - the same situation was with Key-West plan, that was buried by azeris after making it public. I think/hope that we will get more info in next 2-3 weeks, but do not want to predict.

Anyway I have a question to public. Is there any document dated 1997, or 1998 listing the peacebuilding proposal of Levon Ter-Petrosyan, after which he was pushed to resign? I mean some genuine document, not a rally rhetoric.

artmika said...

Ruben, as far as I understand, this proposal (originated by the OSCE back in 1996) was initially rejected by our government, but then pressures by the OSCE and Minsk group on Ter-Petrosyan administration increased and reportedly Ter-Petrosyan gave in to accept it, and therefore pushed to resign. As opposed to Madrid principles, they called Lisbon principles:


You all know that no progress has been achieved in the last two years to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the issue of the territorial integrity of the Republic of Azerbaijan. I regret that the efforts of the Co-Chairmen of the Minsk Conference to reconcile the views of the parties on the principles for a settlement have been unsuccessful.

Three principles which should form part of the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict were recommended by the Co-Chairmen of the Minsk Group. These principles are supported by all member States of the Minsk Group. They are:

- territorial integrity of the Republic of Armenia and the Azerbaijan Republic;
- legal status of Nagorno-Karabakh defined in an agreement based on self-determination which confers on Nagorno-Karabakh the highest degree of self-rule within Azerbaijan;
- guaranteed security for Nagorno-Karabakh and its whole population, including mutual obligations to ensure compliance by all the Parties with the provisions of the settlement.

I regret that one participating State could not accept this. These principles have the support of all other participating States.

This statement will be included in the Lisbon Summit documents.


As far as I recall (I may be wrong), everything started with that document (above). There were some further developments as a follow-up to this document to shape up the so called "phased process" but the essence remained the same.

Ruben Muradyan said...

No, Sir.
In 1997 there were to plans for settling Karabakh conflict 1 was the "package solution" presented in May-June 1997, which was rejected by Karabakh, and the second was "phased solution", presented in September 1997.

The rest is what I remember, so please do not take it as 100% true, because I'm still looking for the details for "phased solution".
There were 2 parts/phases - Phase 1 was dealing with all the issues, excepting the issue of Karabakh final status. So, the issues of removal of armenian forces from liberated territories, return of refugees, peacekeeping forces, etc. must be signed, and ONLY AFTER THAT, the issues of Karabakh status and Lachin issue must be DISCUSSED (sic!).

So, if (!) we are taking the recommendations of ICG as Madrid principles, we can see a few major differences:
1. Special modalities for Kelbajar and Berdzor
2. The the exact thesis about referendum, instead of discussion.

Anyway - here you can find very interesting piece of analysis on this issue, while I will be looking for document on phased solution.

Ruben Muradyan said...

Here it is!
Still analyzing it, but anyway - it is better for the public to see it.

Ruben Muradyan said...

And here it is!
XI. The three Sides in the present Agreement, having thus put an end to the military aspects of the conflict, agree to continue the conduct of negotiations in good faith and with the assistance of the Minsk Conference co-Chairs and other Sides invited as appropriate by the Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE, aimed at the urgent achievement of a comprehensive settlement for other aspects of the conflict, including political aspects such as the determination of the status of Nagorny Karabakh and the resolution of the problems posed in Lachin, Shusha and Shaumian; following the attainment of an agreement at these negotiations and its signing by the three above-mentioned Sides, it would be subject to recognition by the international community at the Minsk Conference, to be convened as soon as possible.

What does this actually mean?
It means, that Levon Ter-Petrosyan agreed, planned and promoted the way of Karabakh conflict resolution with giving out everything but Lachin, without clear definition of Karabakh status.
So if we accept ICG proposal as Madrid principles, we can set those 2 key differences, I've mentioned in one of my earlier comments.

And sorry for flooding - I was writing in parallel with reading.

Bruce Tasker said...


Here is the article which accompanied the recommendations I have on my blog, and some of which you have posted.

I applied to the email address given on the post, but without reply, so I recently applied again and copied my message to you.

My information from this is that the recommendations are in fact the Madrid recommendations. If there is concern that this is not correct, then I strongly suggest someone in the press, or with other authority, insist that they be made available, as Serzh Sargsyan has STATED THEY WOULD BE in his last weeks press conference. Or is that another Serzh Sargsyan LIE?


OSCE Minsk Group issues statement on Nagorno-Karabakh

MADRID, 29 November 2007 - The OSCE Minsk Group issued the following statement today:

"Prior to the opening of the OSCE Ministerial Council in Madrid on November 29, 2007, U.S. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, and French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner met with the Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan, Vardan Oskanian and Elmar Mammadyarov, to demonstrate political-level support for the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair countries' effort to forge a just and lasting settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

"In the meeting, the representatives of the United States, France and Russia formally presented a set of Basic Principles for the Peaceful Settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict to the Armenian and Azerbaijani Foreign Ministers for transmission to the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan.

"It was noted that over the last three years of talks the two sides had significantly narrowed their differences through the mediation of the Co-Chair countries and that only a few differences remained to be settled. As noted by the representatives of the three Co-Chair countries, the joint proposal that was transmitted today to the parties offered just and constructive solutions to these last remaining differences.

"The parties to the conflict were strongly urged to bring to a close the current stage of negotiations by endorsing the proposed Basic Principles and commencing as soon as possible to draft a comprehensive Peace Agreement."


23 Shatberashvili Str.
Tel: +995 32 29 24 24
Fax: +995 32 98 85 66

E-mail link:

Bruce Tasker said... is not available.

Anyone help?

artmika said...

Bruce, I suppose what is unclear is whether the International Crisis Group recommendations (which are the exact copies to the ones you posted) are in fact Madrid proposals? Lets hope we’ll get clarifications at some point soon.

It should be

Ruben, many thanks for the links. I started reading now, will reflect soon.

Ruben Muradyan said...

Dear Bruce,
But there's no sign in this article, that ICG Recommendations ARE Madrid principles.
BTW this piece of text is located here -

And there's a mistake in your address for the phase sollution. The correct one is:

artmika said...

OK, now I read the document, and here are my first reflections. If it is indeed the genuine document, it seems to me very similar to the basics of Madrid proposal (whether they are ICG ones or the ones which vaguely discussed here and there), as I already said in this post.

Look, as you said, and as mentioned in that review you cited, Karabakh had significant voice in deciding the fate of the settlement in past. It is not that clear if Karabakh has the voice in negotiations, as of now.

It’s difficult to assess the security details of the previous and current proposals as we need more details of the current proposal and expert opinions.

I would separate couple of points from the document and will wait to see if and how they are reflected in the current proposal

B (3) Azerbaijani armed forces will be withdrawn to the line…and will be withdrawn from all territories of Armenia

III. A. Upon the completion of withdrawal of armed forces the buffer zone will be located along the 1988 boundaries of the NKAO and the north and south boundaries of the Lachin corridor. The buffer zone will remain without human population and is completely demilitarized, with the exception of elements forming part of the OSCE peacekeeping mission.

D. Security conditions in all districts controlled by the Nagorny Karabakh authorities after the withdrawal of forces in accordance with Article II will be guaranteed by the existing military and security structures of Nagorny Karabakh.

Also there is mention of Shahumyan region in XI.

“It means, that Levon Ter-Petrosyan agreed, planned and promoted the way of Karabakh conflict resolution with giving out everything but Lachin, without clear definition of Karabakh status.”

Did you see any clear definition of Karabakh status in Madrid proposals or ICG recommendations? There is none. Just stating the vaguely defined referendum may mean nothing. In fact, as of now, we have not seen any sign of Azerbaijan even considering the possibility of independence of Karabakh as a result of the referendum. Instead, we have uncompromising speeches and references to their constitution which will make the whole idea of the referendum nonsense.

Ruben Muradyan said...

1. Karabakh had significant voice
I have to agree.
2. Security
Let's just state, that there was plain exchange: territory for discussion.
3. Did you see any clear definition of Karabakh status in Madrid proposals or ICG recommendations?
Sir, but I hadn't seen the Madrid proposals, moreover, I'm not sure that ICG recommendations ARE the Madrid proposals. Anyway - yes. There is statement on status: "Nagorno-Karabakh’s final status to be determined eventually by a vote, with an interim status to be settled on until that time;"
4. Azeri speeches
To be honest, Mika, I'm not pay big attention to azeri speeches, neither taking them into account. ;)

Bruce Tasker said...

Today.Az » Politics » Serzh Sargsyan: "There is no alternative to the peaceful resolution of the Karabakh conflict"

27 October 2008

"The resolution of the Karabakh conflict is possible in case Nagorno Karabakh has a land border with Armenia, if 'international organizations and leading states' ensure the security of the people of Nagorno Karabakh"

What happened to Armenia's repeated insistences that it would always be responsible for the security of Karabakh and its people?

The truth starting to come out, exposing more lies from the Sargsyan regime.

Haik said...

The question of buffer zone. It is a preventive measure for another 1915. Bufferzone should stay and it should be under Armenian control. Who else can protect the population other than the sons whose families are under risk. There was a French ptotaction in 1920 in Cilicia. A UN bufferzone between Lebanon and Israel. There was a similar one in Mitrovice. A Russian one in S Osetia. None of them prevented the slaughter of innocent people. The security of Armenian population shouldn't be left on the mercy of creators of worldwide misery. Not a centimeter of land should be given to a party who is full of hatred and ready to slaughter you. The buffer zone protected the Armenian population since 1994 and Armenian side didnt show any aggression. As for the return of Azeri refugees they suffer because of the policies of multibillion Aliyev country. They still live in tents and train cars because Aliyev family doesn't care. They are used for photoshoots and inflicting hatred toward Armenians so that the Aliyev family can divert the attention and stay in power.

Onnik Krikorian said...

Again, we're talking about details we simply don't know enough about. For example, I was told by by one prominent (and incidentally pro-opposition) journalist/analyst close to the talks that two years ago the interim status of Karabakh which was being discussed was one where it would be a protectorate of Armenia until its status was resolved.

The fact that Lachin and Kelbajar appear to remain a stumbling block in negotiations also indicates that Armenia is thinking about the necessity to move in troops very quickly if the need arises. Like I said, I believe that the issue of a Karabakh "sell-out" is now being used in the hope that it can bring down the government.

However, there is no indication that Sargsyan has done anything other than stick to his repeated line that Karabakh must have the right to self-determination, there must be a land border with Armenia, and international security guarantees must be in place. Anyway, there is nothing wrong in the principles Mika outlined wherever they came from.

Anything else is speculation and an attempt to encourage panic in something we simply don't know enough about. Therefore, I would agree that it's time there was more disclosure. However, that depends on Azerbaijan's position.

Bruce Tasker said...

Onnik, You seem to be under the delusion that the words the Sargsyan regime speak have any relationship with the actual truth. On the one hand you write there is "no indication that Sargsyan has done anything other than stick to his repeated line that Karabakh must have the right to self-determination", then you agree with 'the principles Mika outlined wherever they came from'.

The principles Mika outlined do NOT 'give Karabakh the right to self-determination', it simply states that a referendum on the final status of Nagorno-Karabagh will be Conducted in some undefined, future date'. It does NOT state that Karabakh will conduct that referendum, which effectively means Azerbaijan will.

Garen said...

Hi Unzipped,

A link to this item was posted on yesterday, and within hours it was already on the front page with a score of +9 (12 votes in total including votes against). I must say that rarely is there an an item on khosq that moves up the popularity ladder so quick. I guess the "Madrid Principles" are still hazy, controvercial and unclear to most people. So thank's for posting this and thanks all for all these 38 comments!

What's more, your blog item about Madrid Principles was voted the best item on khosq for this week, and Second best for this month. (and all this in less than 2 days. I'm sure it will still gather more votes while on the front page.)



Onnik Krikorian said...

Bruce, Sargsyan is not going to sell out Nagorno Karabakh. As with Levon, the territories around it with the exception of part of Lachin will be returned, but nothing else.

You can say Sargsyan (as with Kocharian and Ter-Petrossian) are authoritarian, undemocratic leaders and so on, but this is one thing that just strikes me as absurd.

That is, exploiting Karabakh in the hope to make political gains. I will say this, however.

I believe that Ter-Petrossian was right in linking the future development of Armenia to resolution of the Karabakh conflict. I also believe that Sargsyan's position articulated over the past few years is genuine.

Kocharian was a hardliner in comparison and I didn't consider him as interested in a deal as Ter-Petrossian or Sargsyan. Now, the latter is not proving the same as Kocharian.

Love him or hate him, he is not Kocharian, and on this matter as well as on Armenian-Turkish relations he has been consistent. RFE/RL journalists as long ago as 4 years ago said the same from insider information on these matters.

Nothing has changed since. Trying to argue to the contrary is really nothing more than trying to turn people against him. Fine, but on this issue (as with relations with Turkey) are not it.

Democracy, the oligarchs, the inquiry into 1 March... for sure, there's plenty to take exception to. However, Karabakh and Turkey are issues where he has had a position over the years and that has not changed.

Onnik Krikorian said...

Besides, it is quite clear, and to repeat myself again. Sargsyan has put himself behind the right of Karabakh Armenians to be independent.

“The settlement of the Karabakh conflict is possible if Azerbaijan recognises the right of people of Karabakh to self-determination, if Nagorno Karabakh is guaranteed a land border with the Republic of Armenia and if the international organisations and the international community guarantee the security of the people of Nagorno Karabakh,” Armenia Serzh Sargsyan said in an interview with the Public TV.

Plain and simple, in fact.

Ani said...

Just a thought--since Sargsyan said that the Madrid principles are available on the Internet, and there is confusion and mystery involved as to what and where they are and may be, why not ask him personally to clear this up?? The site now seems to actually be working, and there's an "ask the president a question box":

This seems in fact like a perfect question to ask him (though the questions should come from citizens or at least residents), since he stated how open he is to discussing the issue.... :)

Onnik Krikorian said...

This is about the only thing I can find on the Madrid principles:

The basic principles, which were first made public last year, envisage the progressive liberation of the seven Azerbaijani administrative districts bordering on Nagorno-Karabakh that Armenian forces have been occupying since 1992-93. They also provide for the demilitarization of the conflict zone, the deployment of an international peacekeeping force, the repatriation of Armenian settlers, and the return of Azerbaijani internally displaced persons. The future status of the unrecognized republic of Nagorno-Karabakh would be determined later.

But, as Mammadyarov once said, "the devil is in the details" and a number of outstanding differences remain.

Among them are the practicalities of any future referendum on Nagorno-Karabakh’s final status. The Minsk Group co-chairs have suggested that, pending a vote, the region be given an interim status that would be recognized by both sides.

Other sticking points include the scope and modalities of the Armenian withdrawal from Azerbaijan’s occupied Kalbacar and Lachin districts, which are sandwiched between Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia. Yerevan views those two districts as being of vital importance to Karabakh’s future security, and has conditioned their liberation on stringent requirements.

What new proposals, if any, the set of basic principles that France, Russia and the United States presented the Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers in Madrid is unclear. Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Xazar Ibrahim on December 7 said the package contained "nothing particularly new."

"There are a few nuances, but generally speaking those basic principles are those that have been negotiated within the framework of the Prague process," he told reporters in Baku.

In their respective speeches to the OSCE ministerial council, neither Oskanian, nor Mammadyarov made any reference to the document they had just received.

While noting the existence of a generally positive trend, the Armenian foreign minister denounced what he said were Azerbaijan’s persistent threats to resort to a military solution to the conflict. Mammadyarov, in turn, accused Armenia of "deceiving" the international community and pursuing a policy of "fait accompli" by sending settlers and large ammunition stockpiles to the occupied territories.

The Madrid announcement generated relatively little interest in Azerbaijan and Armenia -- something international mediators may view as a frustrating circumstance. According to OSCE officials, the co-chairs had hoped that the presentation of basic principles would stoke public debate in both countries, thereby accelerating the negotiation process. Such hopes, however, have not been fulfilled.

artmika said...

Onnik, this effectively provides additional suggestion that the ICG recommendations published in this post are in fact basic Madrid principles. What we do not know are the details, the ones we read in relation to the 1997 phased settlement proposal.

Onnik Krikorian said...

Mika, Sure. Agreed. If not exactly the same, pretty damn close. In fact, the principles are pretty much those which have been in place since Paris. The stumbling block there, I think, was the issue of Kelbajar.

Anyways, in addition to that, the EurasiaNet article appears to say the issue of the referendum seems to be a crucial one. I'd argue therefore that the prohibition on a localized referendum in the Azerbaijani constitution is a matter that should be raised.

I'm sure Aliyev will be able to push constitutional amendments through at some point along the line (they did that here okay without an actual voter turn-out), but it should be monitored.

Incidentally, if the provisions of a framework deal are still in place, it was said that Karabakh would be granted the interim status of a protectorate of Armenia. Regardless, the details should be made known.

However, that needs the approval of all sides, apparently, and I'd guess that Azerbaijan is once again a stumbling block. Certainly, Aliyev's statements of late do not indicate he's ready to sign such a deal.

Populist rhetoric, I'm sure, but it doesn't help, gets his population ready for war, and anyway, he doesn't need to play the Karabakh card given his apparently strong position in terms of domestic politics.

Ruben Muradyan said...

Guys, right now the discussion is out of context. While we do not have the Nadrid principles from a proven source, all our discussion is based on speculations, and misinformation.
While officials are hiding the details - there can not be any constructive debate on those details.

While I agree with Onnik, that ICG recommendations are something really close to everything officials say, I can't refer to them as Madrid principles.

Moreover, I simply reckon, that serious discussion on false information is a nonsense itself.

I think this post by Artmika is a good start for research of public statements, trying to find actual Madrid principles.

I personally will try to bring all the public statements by officials in one place, so we will have something, that can be analyzed.

Onnik Krikorian said...

Maybe we'll know soon enough if this is anything to go by:

MOSCOW (AFP) – The presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan will meet in Moscow this weekend to discuss the Nagorny Karabakh conflict in talks mediated by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, the Kremlin said Wednesday.
"On November 2, 2008, in Moscow... a meeting will take place between Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian with the participation of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on the regulation of the Nagorny Karabakh conflict," the Kremlin said in a statement.

Armenia and Azerbaijan confirmed that the meeting would take place, but presidential officials in both countries declined to comment further.

Medvedev visited Armenia last week in a fresh push to end the long-simmering conflict over Nagorny Karabakh, an enclave of Azerbaijan with a largely ethnic Armenian population that broke free of Baku's control in the early 1990s.

Sarkisian said at the meeting that he was ready for talks with Baku on the basis of principles worked out at negotiations in Madrid last year, meaning that the people of Nagorny Karabakh gain the right to self-determination.

The enclave has been the subject of heightened international diplomacy in recent weeks, with US and Turkish officials visiting Armenia to push for a negotiated solution.

Analysts say Moscow is keen to maintain influence in Armenia, its main ally in the Caucasus, after Russia's brief war with US-allied Georgia in August raised tensions throughout the region.

Bruce Tasker said...


I have never actually said that Serzh was about to 'sell-out' Karabakh, I have said it looks like he could. But the return of the surrounding territories will undoubtedly be a 'sell-out'.

'On this matter as well as on Armenian-Turkish relations he has been far from consistent'.

Serzh is known for his consistency. Up until the 1st March he was consistent about never turning his own security services out in the streets with guns (when water cannon or teargas, or a host of other alternatives would have done very nicely) against crowd of his own peaceful Armenians - Until he did it and murdered at least ten innocent Armenians.

The only difference between the 1st March and karabakh (and Genocide) is that with the latter, he has not actually done it yet. But he is about to!

Then who will look after the 15,000 Armenians who live in the surrounding territories - as far as Serzh is concerned, they do not exist.

Onnik Krikorian said...

Lachin, where most of the settlers are situated, will be a land link and populated. The other settlers mostly moved there because they were poor in Armenia. They can be quite easily moved back and will probably be glad to if financial incentives are made available.

As for those other territories, that was always going to be the case. Under Ter-Petrossian, under Serge. And that is not a sell-out except for die-hard nationalists and those in the opposition who are trying to exploit this card for their own purposes.

Anyway, let's wait and see. This region needs peace badly, and I hope that based on principles that gives Karabakh it's eventual independence and a land-link with Armenia, we'll get it.

Still, Russia is not exactly the most trustworthy of partners so let's see. We should know soon enough, but the unknown is actually Azerbaijan. All speculation on Armenia is just that.

Bruce Tasker said...


The people of Lachin and the other surrounding territories will be pleased to know you have the situation so well under control. Whilst we're on the subject, maybe you could let them know what 'financial incentives' they will be able to look forward to when they are kicked out of their homes, so that they won't have to spend their days protesting in front of the Government building, together with those evicted from the Northern Prospect.

In fact, some of them probably are the ones from the Northern Prospect who used to protest in front of the Government building.

Let's wait and see.

Onnik Krikorian said...

Bruce, many of them still have their homes in Yerevan, Sisian, Gyumri, etc and oh yeah, I've spent years researching Lachin and the surrounding areas. In fact, I have friends and relatives of my ex-wife living there. I've spent a lot of time there and living with those settlers.

So, I know the situation quite well, and why most of them moved there i.e. social vulnerability in Armenia and financial incentives in Kashatagh. Not all, but most. Moreover, Lachin is where everybody wants to be and not some god-forsaken village cut off from the main town.

Echoing these sentiments, Irkoyan says he would refuse to leave. "Some might have moved here because of the social conditions in Armenia," he says, "but others did not. I can't guarantee that I will always live in Lachin, but there is a connection with this land. It is our life, and if we lose that, there is nothing. While I am not saying that everybody will fight again, at least 30 percent would. Nobody can tell us what to do, not even the Americans."

Anyway, for anybody interested, there's photos from Lachin and the last few articles I wrote from there at the following URLs:

Life in No Man's Land


Lachin: The Emptying Lands, IWPR

There's also a lot of stuff on my old blog at

Long and the short of it is that there needs to be a peace deal, Karabakh must have it's independence recognized, there must be a link through Lachin and the closest surrounding villages (where most of the settlers are) and so on.

The only alternative is the continuing isolation of Armenia, the Karabakh issue used for internal political purposes and frustrating democratization, and possible eventual war in the future. I know which sounds best to me.

Bruce Tasker said...


It is good that you have such valuable knowledge of the situation in Lachin. And I agree that everything you say about Karabakh and the surrounding territories should happen. The point I keep trying to impress upon you, but no longer the many others who already understand the seriousness of the situation, is that the regime is making their preparations in secret, not to the benefit of these people who you know very well, but to satisfy their own greed - as always.

But, as you have such confidence in Serzh and his cronies, rather than to-ing and fro-ing on this topic, let us simply ignore it and wait until it has happened. Then Armenia's independent reporters will have several months reporting on the tragedy that has happened, hoping it will be important enough to attract the attention of the international press.

artmika said...

Empty words: Karabakh talks in Moscow