ArmInfo. The recognition by the political team of Armenia's Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, of his communication with his Azerbaijani counterparts as negotiations indicates serious changes in the position regarding the process of resolving the conflict. Former head of the Artsakh Foreign Ministry, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Arman Melikyan expressed a similar opinion to ArmInfo.
"For already several days, representatives of the ruling political team in Armenia began to characterize their meetings with the Azerbaijani side and the mediators of the negotiation process as negotiations rather than communication, as had been stated previously. And this happens in the light when Stepanakert continues to be absent from the negotiations, and trilateral format of the negotiations has not been restored yet, "he stressed.
The diplomat also pointed out the absence of any signs of a response from the OSCE Minsk Group co- chairs to Prime Minister Pashinyan's demand regarding clarification of some points of the Madrid principles. In his opinion, all this together indicates a change in approaches voiced earlier by the country's political leadership. Or, at least, their substantial mitigation. Moreover, a lot of people are concerned that reasons for such a change in the mood of the authorities remain unknown.
Since 1992, the OSCE Minsk Group, represented by the co-chairs from Russia, the USA and France, has been engaged in the settlement of the Karabakh conflict. Currently, the settlement process is nominally proceeding on the basis of the "Madrid principles" put forward by the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs in 2007 in Madrid and updated in 2009, which, among other things, envisage the deployment of a peacekeeping contingent in the conflict zone.
The diplomat recalled that until recently, both Pashinyan and his immediate circle, including Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, basically referred to their meetings with the Azerbaijani negotiators on Artsakh as consultations. And they categorically refused to define this process as negotiations.
"Such a line, in all likelihood, was caused by the need to adhere to Pashinyan's statement that he didn't have the right to represent negotiators and Artsakh people at the table. He also claimed that he could not characterize the existing process as negotiations until the mediators gave him satisfactory explanations regarding the essence of the negotiations and the Madrid Principles Agenda, "the former Foreign Minister of Artsakh summarized