Another round of Russian and OSCE-mediated negotiations among Armenia, Karabakh, and Azerbaijan to settle the Karabakh conflict ended in Moscow November 12, without advancing toward a proposed comprehensive political agreement. Again, the main stumbling block was the problem of Lachin corridor, an Azerbaijani area which used to separate Karabakh from Armenia until seized in 1992 by Karabakh. Russian mediators proposed giving Lachin the status of a "transit zone" with guaranteed safe movement for people and cargoes between Armenia and Karabakh, and gradually demilitarize the corridor before determining its final disposition. The sides however failed to agree on this approach or even on the geographic configuration of a transit zone. Armenia pronounced itself pleased with the Russian mediators’ stance. "Most proposals and ideas promoting progress of the peace process come from Russia’s Foreign Ministry," Armenian Foreign Minister Vahan Papazian told a November 13 news conference. The next round of talks is planned for late November in Bonn. (18)
Karabakh and Armenia seem determined never again to allow themselves to become non-contiguous, much less separated by Azerbaijani territory. They argue that the security of Karabakh’s population requires an overland link to Armenia. Azerbaijan for its part demands the return of Lachin based on the principle of the inviolability of borders. A substantial part of Lachin’s indigenous population is Kurdish. The corridor has been incorporated de facto into the Karabakh republic which has appointed a prefect there.
Kazakhstan Pressed On Ethnic Russian Issue.