Armen Ashotyan, deputy chairman of the Republican Party of Armenia (RPA), commented on the OSCE Minsk Group statement on simultaneous exchange of prisoners between Armenia and Azerbaijan in his Facebook post on June 29. In that context, he drew attention to the formulation “substantive talks” in the statement calling it “alarming.”
“However, the following formulation in the Co-Chairs’ statement is again alarming: “․․․to further consolidate an atmosphere conducive to peace and favorable to substantive talks as soon as possible“.
It is about a year since Co-Chairs have developed a habit of talking about the so-called “substantive talks” invented by the Azerbaijani diplomacy.
Does our Foreign Ministry have no reason to worry about it? After all, everything starts just like this, with words that can be fatal ” Ashotyan writes.
Fip.am has revealed that the thesis of substantive talks mentioned in the Co-Chairs’ statements and cited by Ashotyan is not a new thing. It comes from an earlier period when the Republicans were in power.
What do the contents of the recent statements by the mediators tell us?
During 2018-2019, the need for substantive talks is mentioned in the statement of 29 June 2019, and in the June 20 statement, and before that, in the 12 July 2018 statement. That is to say, the so-called “Azerbaijani thesis” is not mentioned in more than a dozen statements over a year.
Meanwhile, after the April war in 2016, the OSCE Minsk Group mediators called for “substantive” talks in the June-to-October statements.
“We also urge progress in substantive talks and on a proposal to establish an OSCE investigative mechanism. We will continue our engagement with the sides to advance all of these outcomes from the last two meetings between the Presidents” the June 24 statement says.
The statement of 22 September 2016 addresses the meetings of Armenian and Azerbaijani Presidents Serzh Sargsyan and Ilham Aliev in Vienna (May 16) and St. Petersburg (June 20) in the same year, highlighting the further steps that would “create an atmosphere for advancing substantial negotiations that could lead to a settlement.”
On 26 October 2016, the Co-Chairs discussed “current working proposals to advance substantive negotiations towards a lasting peace.”
In addition to the Minsk Group Co-Chairs, US Secretary of State John Kerry made a similar statement in 2016. According to the State Department’s official statement on 30 June 2016, the latter reaffirmed US support for “substantive talks that can lead to a comprehensive settlement.”
Studying the statements made earlier by the mediators, we will meet the aforementioned formulation again, for example, in the December 19, 2013 statement.
In fact, the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs also mentioned the so-called “substantive talks invented by Azerbaijani diplomats” in previous years too, and the RPA Vice President’s post is aimed at manipulating public opinion.