Fighting upsets secret Karabakh talks

RENEWED fighting in the Caucasus has tripped up secret negotiations between Azerbaijan and Armenia that had offered the most promising possibility yet of ending the four-year Nagorny Karabakh conflict, diplomats said yesterday.

The fighting has also been used as a pretext for Turkey, under severe pressure from its Azeri allies and ethnic cousins, to withdraw a goodwill offer of 300 million kwh of electricity to Armenia from 1 December. The Azeri President, Abulfaz Elchibey, on Thursday declared a state of emergency in the area. Armenia's presidential spokesman, Reuben Shugarian, said the attack was made to silence Azeri guns after shelling and aerial bombardment of the Armenian town of Zangezur killed 59 civilians.

Diplomats in Baku said the upsurge of fighting had caused Azerbaijan to back out of a peace process that had brought the two countries closer than ever at a secret meeting in Geneva in early December between representatives of Armenia, Azerbaijan, the United States, Russia and Turkey. 'There is an overall feeling of a positive trend, with Turkey playing an intelligent and responsible mediating role,' said one Western diplomat in Ankara.

The initiative had grown out of the broader but stalemated 'Minsk process' meetings in Rome, as well as a recognition by all sides that the conflict over who ruled Karabakh's 180,000 people was hurting everyone's interests and helping no one.

The Armenian President, Levon Ter Petrossian, seems ready to compromise on the question of whether Azerbaijan could retain sovereignty over the mainly Armenian-populated enclave. 'The president will have enough courage to try to explain to the people . . . that the only way to come out is first peace, then status in the next round,' said Mr Shugarian. 'If there are international guarantees for the population, there can be a compromise on status. First we must establish a ceasefire.'

Such a compromise is, however, anathema both to the main opposition nationalist Dashnakstutiun party and to the local 'Karabakhchis', who, under Dashnak rule, refuse to contemplate Azeri sovereignty.

With around 25 per cent of Nagorny Karabakh won back by Azerbaijani forces since Mr Elchibey took power in June, Armenian fighters are also wary about giving back the corridor they opened up between Armenia and Nagorny Karabakh.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?