Sunday, 2 November 2008

Empty words: Karabakh talks in Moscow

OK, the only fact of negotiations (not war) taking place is positive, indeed. Armenian and Azeri sides reiterated their readiness to “continue” negotiations, and to continue it under the OSCE Minsk group mediations and according to those (not so) mysterious Madrid principles, full details of which are yet to be disclosed.

Full text of the “Declaration” (in Russian)

I am afraid I do not share excitement of number of news agencies which specifically mention that for the first time in 14-15 years, Armenian and Azeri presidents signed under the “Declaration”. So what? There were always meetings and discussions on various levels, including presidents, over the past decade but nothing came out of the negotiations, for real. The only reason that today Armenian and Azeri presidents signed under the “Declaration” is because this was a meeting initiated by Russia, and (taking into account current geopolitical situation in the region) Russia had to show that it achieved some kind of ‘breakthrough’ even if there is none.


Ani said...

After the buildup, not much "there" there. They agreed that they all liked being president, and that being agreeable was a good thing to be right now, considering the recent "unpleasantness" in Georgia, and that being agreeable will help them when the OSCE gets together in January, and that it would be nice to see how the U.S. presidential works out. At least it's better than macho posturing.

Onnik Krikorian said...

So, does this mean that a) all the talk of Serge getting ready to "sell-out" Karabakh was just a vain attempt by some in opposition to score cheap political points, and b) that Levon Ter-Petrossian was wrong when he said a deal was coming.

I suppose c) would be does this now mean opposition protests will resume or was there another reason for their suspension? Some believe that it was low attendances at the rallies, for example.

Anyway, Ter-Petrossian said that resolution of the Karabakh conflict would take place within 2-3 months. He also said Russia would be sidelined in negotiations. So, what's happening? Was this just a PR exercise for Medvedev after Georgia or is something happening behind the scenes we don't know about?

Anyway, I'm reserving judgement on the matter until more information and analysis comes out over the next few days.

Ani said...

Well, it feels like they're playing a waiting game--maybe Sargsyan should change his motto to "parking gear, Armenia!"

Time to revisit Gogol for illumination:

Onnik, can't resist saying--why must every conversation turn to Levon? You're disqualified from saying that next time... ;)

Onnik Krikorian said...

Ani, I think it's relevant because a number of his people were saying Serge was about to "sell-out" Karabakh when in reality it looks like nothing has changed.

Moreover, Levon stopped his protests precisely because of this expectation about a deal so actually contributed to heightening expectations.

Anyway, it's not just me. The media approached him for a statement on the matter today and he will be instead issuing one tomorrow so it is relevant in many ways, I think.

Besides, a Karabakh breakthrough was given as the main reason for stopping the protests. So, now it looks like the positions of Armenia and Azerbaijan remain incompatible, what happens now?

Onnik Krikorian said...

Incidentally, I think it's obvious that the West AND Russia needs to put a lot of pressure on Azerbaijan to compromise and to agree to what we think are the Madrid principles.

Some say the issue of Lachin is a sticking point, but I think it's pretty clear that Armenia has stated it is ready to compromise as much as it can.

The trouble is that I'm not sure anyone is interested in applying pressure on Azerbaijan which is unfortunate.

The status quo offers stability, for sure, but in the long term I'm not sure this situation is good for either country, and especially Armenia. Both sides need to compromise and I think Armenia has.

Azerbaijan remains the issue.

Ani said...

Yes, relevant of course, I was just yanking your chain ;) It will be most interesting to see the LTP statement on this, which some at least are highly anticipating. We'll just have to wait and see,I guess--what a day tomorrow, huh?

Onnik Krikorian said...

Oh yeah, something else was meant to happen tomorrow...

What was it again? ;-)

spm said...

Dear Onnik, if you expected Serj to come back with a paper testifying he has sold Kharabakh, you are mistaken. The fact is, and it always was, that Russia in no way interested in giving Kharabakh to Armenia as a gift. It rather would make a present to Azerbaijan in return for control of hydrocarbon wealth, or at least its delivery to the West. After 5-days war in Georgia and USA apparent weakness to defend its allies, Russia is using momentum to intimidate Azerbaijan and get keys to the treasure chest. Serj in those talks is a mere statist, he has noting to receive or even give. Russians are convinced that if they decide to return 5 regions it would be 5, if they decide 7, then 7. They can as well give entire Kharabakh. So our faith is in Aliev's hands, if he bends under Russian pressure and decides to exchange oil and exit to west with Kharabakh, we may see once again realization of operation "KOL'CO". As for Serj, he will be given time to return to republic and prepare public opinion.

Onnik Krikorian said...

Well, if you consider what we think are the Madrid principles to be "selling Karabakh" then we're just going round in circles. To date, the Armenian position is that Karabakh must be independent and have a land border with Armenia.

Sure, that won't please the nationalists in both countries, but mutual compromises are necessary and this would be an achievement for Armenia if Karabakh's indendence is recognized internationally.

As for preparing the population for peace, it's vital. However, the same MUST also occur in Azerbaijan and this is where the real problem lies. Regarding Russia, by your logic -- if correct -- Armenia is doomed anyway.

Whoever is in power will have to dance to Moscow's tune. Anyway, I agree, if Russia decides to give back Karabakh then yes, Armenia will be in a difficult situation.

However, it seems to be the consensus from most observers, for now at least, that Medvedev needed a photo op to clean up Russia's image after Georgia.

Neverthless, I would agree promising to speed up negotiations does imply they have something follow through on. However, we will have to wait although I don't think many are counting on anything to happen.

Meanwhile, some analysts are at least saying that something good did come out of this meeting. That is, Azerbaijan effectively agreed NOT to use force to regain the territory.

More than that, one minute the opposition says Serge and Kocharian think only of their native Karabakh, the next that they're ready to sell it. Instead, I'm still inclined to consider this an attempt by some political forces to use Karabakh for their own ambitions and goals.

In reality, nothing has indicated that Armenia is ready to give up Karabakh. Instead, it is its insistence on a Lachin corridor and problems with Kelbajar from the Azerbaijani side. Talk of "selling out" just seems like an attempt to spread disinformation and panic.

Onnik Krikorian said...

Anyways, before any of us can really speak about this issue, the Madrid principles need to be disclosed and discussion initiated in both countries.

Nationalists in Armenia and Azerbaijan won't like the points if they're what we think they are, but there must be full disclosure and discussion in society.

Indeed, the only way this is going to get solved is when real discussion and debate based on known facts and details happens.

If that happens next then I can consider the declaration as to mark an acceleration in negotiations. If it doesn't, then this is all pointless anyway.

spm said...

Accusations of selling are used by both sides, regardless who is in power and who is in opposition. Being unhappy to various degrees about RK, SS and LTP, I never thought that any of them is going to sell Kharabakh. What I am saying is that if Russia decides to give it away in return for oil, Armenian president has very little say. In that regard RK position was the wisest, to carry slow and fruitless negotiations, maintaining status quo. However war in Georgia and Turkey's frantic activity changed the situation. If before the West was happy carrying oil and gas through Georgia, now it is looking for alternatives. And they think Armenia is viable alternative if by some miracle peace is achieved. At the same time Russia wants to please Azeris, because they can not pull the Georgian string twice. Besides, it is a warning to Armenia not to get too excited about Nabuco etc.

In a long term Russians should also be happy with status que, because thy can exert pressure on both parties of conflict. But sometimes emperors get carried away by their own ego. Someone should remind Russians that once they made an error betraying Armenia to win Turkey and failed. And it should not be Igor Muradyan. It is job of FM and President himself.

Anyway, it is very probable that focus soon will shift to Ukraine and Kharabakh again will return to limbo.

artmika said...

Guys, here is the most bizarre opinion piece I came across re Moscow “Declaration”. It's written by Liz Fuller from RFE/RL 'Moscow Declaration' A Victory For Armenia

There is no headline which I’d like to see more than “Victory for Armenia”. But... Sorry to Liz Fuller, I got an impression that this reflection is written by someone under drugs.

artmika said...

And here is opposition leader Ter-Petrosyan highly critical take on the Moscow “Declaration” - interview with the A1+ (in Armenian). Hopefully, during the day, English versions of the interview will appear too.

Briefly - He disagrees that the “Declaration” is “empty words.” He considers this “Declaration” as tip of the iceberg; what is underneath it is more important. And he considers the “Declaration” as a matter for concern.

He reiterated the points he outlined as Madrid principles during the rally and says that for the first time they’ve been formally agreed in Moscow by Azerbaijan and Armenia. He finds worrying the sign that Karabakh is formally pushed out of the negotiations.

He thinks that now the process of settlement will continue in Europe and “reach its conclusive phase” in the US in December.

Onnik Krikorian said...

Well, a solution based on the Madrid principles -- if they mean Karabakh has the right to self-determination in terms of independence, a land border with Armenia and international security guarantees -- is positive.

However, Karabakh's independence must not be open to question. Anyway, by December, huh? Well, we've heard this before too, but let's see. I have my doubts, but as I said, nothing is clear at all at present.

But, for as many people there are who say a deal is close, there are maybe more who say one isn't. Been here before, heard that. Won't believe anything until I see some concrete signs of Azerbaijan preparing to compromise.

In reports this week they still maintain that Karabakh will not be independent, while Armenia continues to say that it must be. This is the main sticking point, and actually, what the whole war was about in the first place.

For now, I don't see this in anything but the context of local politics trying to use the lack of information surrounding the talks for internal purposes. Nevertheless, Ter-Petrossian is right.

This is a tip of an iceberg, but unfortunately we can't see what's underneath... and that's precisely the problem. Still, I'm not sure that an "iceberg" is the right image.

If we are close to a peace agreement based on the Madrid principles as think they are, this is actually good news although yes, the full disclosure of the details MUST now be made public.

Still, why am I even bothering with thinking on this. One side says one thing, another says another, and still more have other opinions. Fact is, we're totally in the dark which means rumor, speculation and misinformation gets treated as fact.

Time for full disclosure, please!

spm said...

If Liz is not under drugs then I can think of one possible reason for such article. The bosses of RFE/RL are not happy with Moscow initiative and trying to provoke one of the sides discontent. If I am right that Moscow is trying to please Azeris, then apparently the West is trying to demonstrate to them something opposite.

Onnik Krikorian said...



"The meeting could not have resulted in agreement," Aleksandr Iskandarian, a well-known pundit managing the Yerevan-based Caucasus Media Institute, told EurasiaNet. "The meeting was not even supposed to produce any serious outcome."


Sargsyan, on other hand, made clear, in remarks broadcast by Armenian state television two days later, that the conflict would remain unresolved unless Azerbaijan "recognizes the Nagorno-Karabakh people’s right to self-determination." In what might be a sign of lingering Armenian-Azerbaijani disagreements on this pivotal issue, the Moscow declaration makes no explicit reference to the Madrid principles, saying only that the parties should take into consideration their November 2007 contacts with the mediators.


The recent upsurge in Russian diplomatic activity over Karabakh has raised fears in Armenian nationalist circles traditionally sympathetic to Russia. They have speculated that Moscow may be turning its back on Armenia and trying to win over Western-leaning Azerbaijan as part of its new strategy of boosting Russian influence in the South Caucasus. "To that end, [the Russians] need to force Armenia into making essentially unilateral and absolutely unacceptable concessions on the Karabakh issue," the ARF weekly Yerkir wrote on October 24.

For analyst Iskandarian, such speculation says more about the Armenian opinion-makers’ "propensity to panic" than about Russia’s true intentions. He believes that Russian and Western pressure on the conflicting parties is still not strong enough to change the Karabakh status quo. "There is some pressure, but it has so far been outweighed by resistance from within the region," he said. "I don’t see any reasons why this situation should drastically change anytime soon."

“Aravot” notes that both the government and the opposition camps in Armenia have seized upon the Moscow declaration to claim that their Karabakh-related forecasts are materializing. The paper says the opposition will use the document to again accuse Serzh Sarkisian of surrendering Karabakh to Azerbaijan. The authorities, for their part, claim the opposite. “The reason for these diametrically opposite interpretations lies in the content of the declaration,” comments the paper. “It is written in a diplomatic jargon whose ambiguous formulations leave it open to differing interpretations,” it says. “Everything depends on the interpreter and their interests.”

Well, let's see what Ter-Petrossian says in December. For now, however, I consider all talk of an imminent deal or "sell out" (depending on your political position) to be just petty politics with nothing to back it up.

Still, not officially disclosing the Madrid principles doesn't help, but anyway.

artmika said...

Not that Bryza's words are particularly trustworthy, but still...

RFE/RL: Mediators Look To ‘Finalize’ Framework Karabakh Deal

International mediators plan to visit Baku and Yerevan next week to try to build on progress which they believe was made by the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents at their weekend meeting in Russia, Washington’s chief Nagorno-Karabakh negotiator said late Thursday.

In an interview with RFE/RL, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Bryza also insisted that the outgoing U.S. administration still hopes to broker a framework peace accord on Karabakh before handing over the reigns of power to President-elect Barack Obama on January 20.

“It’s absolutely possible,” he said, commenting on chances for the signing of an Armenian-Azerbaijani agreement in the coming weeks. “I’m not predicting that it will happen. I’m just saying it is possible and I want to do everything I can to make it a reality.” [...]

Bryza indicated that the parties have yet to fully agree on some of they provisions of the proposed framework agreement, notably a future referendum on Karabakh’s status. He said they are still trying to reconcile the internationally principles of territorial integrity and self-determination. “It’s not agreed on yet but it’s under discussion,” he said. “And I sense that the two sides, especially the presidents, are talking things through and thinking things through with regard to that issue and others.” More...

In the meantime, as RFE/RL reports, "The Miatsum (Unification) National Initiative issued a statement on Friday condemning Sarkisian for signing the Moscow declaration. It claimed that the document poses a grave threat to Armenia’s national security." More...

Bruce Tasker said...

As I have been writing for more than a year, I have absolutely no doubt the agreement will be signed very shortly, and with massive (and secret) benefits for the Sargsyan / Kocharian regime. If we take Onnik's position that there is no 'sell-out' then we are presumably to assume that giving up the surrounding territories and putting tens of thousands of Armenians living in those territories and in Karabakh under yet another risk of ethnic cleansing at the hands of the Azerbaijanis should be done as a good will jesture?

Also, although Serzhik continues to insist Karabakh will have a referendum to determine its own future, Aliyev is to this day repeatedly adamant that karabakh and the surrounding territories will always be Azerbaijani sovereignty and under Azerbaijan control.

Ask this very simple question - if the referendum aspect is agreed, then why is Serzh and his motley crew keeping it such a secret. Only one reason, because he is lying - as usual.

It is not a question of 'sell-out', it is a question of what compensation Armenia should receive in return for transferring these very valuable assets to Azerbaijan without them having to go to war for them.

Azerbaijani full recognition of Karabakh independence would be suitable compensation. But that is not an option, and it is very doubtful that Karabakh will be having its internal referendum. So where is the benefit for Armenia?

Ani said...

Here's a link to ArmeniaNow's attempt today to divine some meaning:
At present, there are no grounds to think that the “Madrid principles” determine a political status for Nagorno-Karabakh independent from Azerbaijan. The contents of the document proposed in Madrid remain unavailable for the public, but one can form a certain idea about it proceeding from the statement of U.S. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns who was also in the Spanish capital during the handover of the document and held a meeting with the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan.

It was this high-ranking American diplomat who made a non-accidental statement less than four months before Kosovo’s declaration of independence: “Any agreements that will be reached on Kosovo cannot be applied to other conflicts. I don’t think that any parallels can be drawn between the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh and a possible solution in Kosovo.”

Bruce Tasker said...

Bryza is the US co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, which has been mediating between Armenia and Azerbaijan since 1992. Also present at the news briefing were ...7th November 2008. The presentation the Minsk Group co-chairs made before the OSCE Permanent Council on November 6 was followed by a lively exchange between the representative of Yerevan, who defended the principle of self-determination for Karabakh, and that of Baku, who pleaded for a solution based on the restoration of Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity. Both capitals have still to agree on the Madrid principles which, in Bryza’s words:

"embrace both self-determination and territorial integrity, as well as the non-use of force."

So much for Serzh's promises that Karabakh will have an internal referendum.

artmika said...

Well, the lack of details, clarity and practicalities of the proposed referendum on Karabakh is a matter of concern, along with the issues of security of Armenia and Karabakh. I find the following quotes (from the same report you cited) more concerning (even though they still remain as speculation):

Those principles, which have not been made public, reportedly envisage the progressive withdrawal of Armenian forces from seven Azerbaijani administrative districts bordering on Karabakh that Armenia has occupied since 1992-93. They also call for the demilitarization of the conflict zone, the deployment of an international peacekeeping force, the repatriation of Armenian settlers from occupied territories and the return of Azerbaijani internally displaced persons. Karabakh’s future status would be determined later, possibly through a referendum.

Among the outstanding differences that remain to be solved is the scope and modalities of the possible withdrawal from Azerbaijan’s occupied Kalbacar and Lachin districts, which are sandwiched between Karabakh and Armenia. Yerevan views those two districts as being of vital importance to Karabakh’s future security, and has in the past conditioned their liberation on stringent requirements.

The practicalities of any future referendum are another sticking point. The Minsk Group co-chairs earlier suggested that, pending a vote, Karabakh be given an interim status that would be recognized by both sides.

In remarks printed in Russia’s "Rossiiskaya Gazeta" daily on October 6, Lavrov said that "there remain two or three unresolved issues which need to be agreed upon at the next meetings of the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan." The Russian foreign minister added that, in his view, an agreement on Lachin was "perfectly realistic." He did not elaborate on the other stumbling blocks.

Asked whether any progress was made on those or other issues at the Moscow meeting, the Minsk Group co-chairs remained customarily elusive, citing an arrangement which forbids them to divulge details of the negotiation process without the consent of the parties.

Yet Merzlyakov said that, in his opinion, the number of major differences between Armenia and Azerbaijan has been "probably" reduced to one by now. "This is a very serious issue on which there is not yet any mutual understanding between the sides.

Bruce Tasker said...

So here we GO....

“Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan have been instructed to continue talks on the basis of Madrid principles. If we agree on them, we will seal a..... "final treaty,”.... Serzh Sargsyan said after talks with European Commission President in Brussels, Armenia TV channel reports.

It seems from this that Serzh also did not know what was in the November 207 'Madrid Principles'?

And what happened to Serzh's 'The people will have to decide before a final decision is made??

It took the Armenian independent press ten years to finally realize that Robert Kocharian had stolen nearly all the assets that belonged to Armenia. It will probably take another ten years before you eventually realize how the Serzh /Kocharian regime sold Karabakh.
The only referendum Karabakh can expect will be after the regime has signed an agreement to recognize that Karabakh is Azerbaijani sovereignty. Baku will then dictate the terms of the referendum and what limited decisions the Karabakhi people have the right to make.

Bruce Tasker said...

Declaration On Nagorno Karabakh Settlement Will Be Followed By Agreement On Principles, Then By Main Agreement

Armenian President - In case of reaching common points an agreement on principles should be signed, which should be followed by the main agreement. RA President Serzh Sargsyan expressed such an opinion at the November 6 joint press conference with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso in Brussels.

"I think there will be a need of public discussions in this period. At least for Armenia, Armenian society I see a necessity of a discussion, we will go to these discussions with pleasure".

Onnik Krikorian said...

Can we get something straight. There are NOT tens of thousands of people living in those territories outside of Karabakh. When I was down there last, people were saying there might even be as few as 5,000 with the vast majority in or around Lachin.

I'd also consider the many more Azerbaijanis who were ethnically cleansed from those territories have the right to return to their homes. Anyways, I've made it quite clear with regards to my position.

Both sides need to compromise and this basically means that Azerbaijan must understand that it has lost Karabakh.

Moreover, in return for those territories outside of Karabakh, the right to self-determination must be upheld and the Lachin corridor should link it to Armenia with international peacekeepers deployed.

I want peace and integration in this region. I do not want the chance of peace sacrificed in the petty internal political struggle. Anyway, from what we know the main issues to resolve are the hardest too.

That is, the width of the Lachin corridor, the timeline for the return of Kelbajar and how the status of Karabakh will be decided. Armenia has made its position on this clear. Azerbaijan is the obstacle.

Anyway, funny comment I heard from a Levon supporter on Friday night. Serge can't sell out Karabakh -- the people would not let him. If Levon were president, however, he could give Karabakh to the Azeris and nobody would say anything.

So, I wonder, is this really about Karabakh or is it just exploiting the issue and trying to stir up panic for internal political purposes?

Onnik Krikorian said...

As for Bryza, I've never heard him downbeat on the prospects for peace. Indeed, I sometimes wonder what it would take to depress him or make him pessimistic. Even in the middle of the Russia-Georgia war he was walking around smiling and laughing at the Saakashvili-Rice press conference I attended.

Really, I had to joke with some of the other journalists about what it might take to depress him. All-out war in the South Caucasus, perhaps. Even then I suspect he'd find something positive to tell reporters.

Onnik Krikorian said...

Here's an unofficial translation of the 5 May Bishkek Protocol which called for the return of refugees to their homes and the deployment of an international peace keeping mission -- something that never happened:

call upon the conflicting sides to come to common senses: cease to fire at the midnight of May 8 to 9, guided by the February 18, 1994 Protocol (including the part on allocating observers), and work intensively to confirm this as soon as possible by signing a reliable, legally binding agreement envisaging a mechanism, ensuring the non-resumption of military and hostile activities, withdrawal of troops from occupied territories and restoration of communication, return of refugees;

Can't find the actual text of the cease-fire agreement, however. Anyone know where one is? This is about the most I can find which refers to the return of refugees to their homes and the deployment of international peace keeping forces.

On February 18, 1994, Russian Defense Minister Grachev presented a plan, for a cease-fire, disengagement and withdrawal, Russian mobile observer groups, and a joint staff from Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Karabakh. Karabakh's status would be decided at a summit of Russian, Armenian, and Azeri Presidents, with Karabakh participating. Armenia and Karabakh reportedly agreed to withdraw; Azerbaijan agreed to a cease-fire, but insisted that Armenians withdraw first. Russia revised the plan, but Azerbaijan called for simultaneous pull backs. Armenia favored a cease-fire, but only with separating forces, and said that Russia represented the only potential guarantor because the international community was "detached." On April 1-2, the Russian President's Special Envoy Kazimirov and a CIS delegation offered a plan: (1) a cease-fire, followed by separation of forces, and mechanisms to prevent resumed military operations; observers deploy; (2) withdrawal of troops and equipment from occupied territories, lifting blockades, and return of refugees. A revision called for Russian separation forces 3 days after a cease-fire, with CSCE observers deploying 3 days later. The Azeri parliament rejected the plan. The Russian Speaker arranged a cease-fire, called the Bishkek Protocol. Armenia and Karabakh agreed. Azerbaijan agreed on May 8, substituting "international" for "CIS" peacekeepers in the text.

A cease-fire took effect on May 12, 1994. On May 16, Grachev revised his plan: a cease-fire, disengagement, observers from Russia, the CIS, and the conflicting sides (with a Russian in charge) at buffer zone posts, safeguarded by 1,800 CIS troops, primarily Russians, under the command of the Russian First Deputy Defense Minister. No CSCE representative was the meeting and Grachev's plan was believed to be designed to thwart CSCE oversight. In June, the Minsk Group chairman suggested that a unified CSCE/Russian approach might prevent antagonists from playing intermediaries off against each other. A Minsk Group meeting in July directed him to clarify the CSCE role in Russia's plan. Azerbaijan insisted that no country provide more than 30% of the peacekeepers. An armistice agreement was signed on July 27. A revised Russian plan called for Russians to comprise 60% to 90% of a 3,000-6,000 man force with 254 CSCE observers to be deployed 4 to 6 weeks after a political agreement. Baku wanted Russia to deploy after the CSCE. Kazimirov charged that the Minsk Group wanted to increase its role and decrease Russia's role.

Onnik Krikorian said...

The Bishkek Protocol also calls for the implementation of the 1993 UN Security Council Resolutions on Nagorno Karabakh.

Basically, the withdrawal of forces from the territory around Karabakh and the return of displaced people to their homes.

Onnik Krikorian said...

To be honest, from looking into the terms of the 1994 ceasefire and what prevented its full implementation, I don't see how Sargsyan's position on the return of territory contradicts what has always been discussed.

Indeed, the sticking points remain the same -- the status of Karabakh, the status of Lachin, international security guarantees, and the time table for withdrawal from Kelbajar. As usual, it is Azerbaijan's position on these items that is the problem.

Of course, the makeup of any peacekeeping force is another issue, with Russia likely wanting to constitute the bulk of any deployment. This is also another possible reason for Medvedev's interest in getting more actively involved.

In July, Armenia and Karabakh emphasized threats to Karabakh that might follow troop withdrawal, arguing that OSCE peacekeepers could not counter an armed assault. They sought to increase Armenia’s role in guaranteeing Karabakh security . In October, the two sides reportedly agreed on separation of troops, withdrawal of heavy weapons, and a no-fly zone; but not on status, Lachin, etc. On October 19, Azeri Presidential Advisor Guluzade reportedly said that Azerbaijan was ready to discuss limited OSCE control over the Lachin corridor. On October 20, the Russian and Finnish Presidents wrote to their Armenian and Azeri counterparts, calling for focus on liberating occupied territories, return of refugees, and security guarantees for Karabakh, and saying that an understanding on Lachin would give impetus to negotiations. In November, Russia proposed that Lachin and an adjacent area become a “transit zone” through which the movement of goods and people would be guaranteed and where international observers, not peacekeepers, would be deployed. Armenia and Karabakh insist that the corridor remain under Armenian control until final status is determined.