Artur Harutyunyan, the parliamentary leader of the ruling party in the self-declared Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR), yesterday (3 July) announced that last month de facto authorities rejected an offer made by the United States of US-mediated talks with Baku on their "integration" into Azerbaijan.
Speaking to RFE/RL's Armenian Service, Artur Harutyunyan - who is not to be confused with the de facto NKR President Arayik Harutyunyan - said that "there was a proposal of a direct Stepanakert-Baku dialogue mediated by America", but argued that "the issues that were supposed to be discussed were, in essence, an agenda pushed by Azerbaijan".
It was for this reason that US-mediated talks with Baku were rejected by the Karabakh Armenians, he added. Instead of discussing their potential "integration" into Azerbaijan in the event of a peace treaty between Armenia and Azerbaijan in which the former formally recognises Nagorno-Karabakh as a territory of the latter, Stepanakert insisted on discussing the "lifting of the Azerbaijani blockade of the Lachin corridor and other humanitarian issues", according to RFE/RL.
Azerbaijan insists that the current situation on the Lachin corridor and at its checkpoint installed in April does not constitute a "blockade", and as recently as Monday (3 July), Azerbaijani state media have published videos purporting to show Karabakh Armenians crossing into Armenia at the Lachin checkpoint while being accompanied by International Committee of the Red Cross convoys.
source: commonspace.eu with agencies
photo: RFE/RL / AFP