When summarizing 2016 one should also refer to the Karabakh conflict settlement process and particularly the document that today the mediators put on the negotiation table.
Though today there are no publicly declared political negotiations, as after the April war Azerbaijan is hindering even the implementation of Vienna and St. Petersburg agreements on confidence-building measures, the mediators claim that in parallel with creation of trust, political negotiations should be resumed.
In the beginning of the year alternative variants for conflict settlement were disseminated in media. Aliyev also declared that there is a pressure on him to recognize Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, declared that he is ready to grant Karabakh autonomy in the territory of Azerbaijan, etc. The so called "Lavrov plan" was also widely discussed, which allegedly assumes concession of 5 regions to Azerbaijan, instead having open communication; a plan, which allegedly does not have any clear implication on Karabakh’s status. This option, however, is not documented and was disseminated only by media, which creates more uncertainties than simplifies the situation.
In reality the developments of the negotiations of 2016 and the current situation was summarized in the joint declaration of the Foreign Ministers of the OSCE MG Co-Chair countries made in the framework of the Ministerial Summit held in Hamburg. "We remind the sides that the settlement must be based on the core principles of the Helsinki Final Act, namely: non-use of force, territorial integrity, and the equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and additional elements as proposed by the Presidents of the Co-Chair countries, including return of the territories surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh to Azerbaijani control; an interim status for Nagorno-Karabakh providing guarantees for security and self-governance; a corridor linking Armenia to Nagorno-Karabakh; future determination of the final legal status of Nagorno-Karabakh through a legally binding expression of will; the right of all internally displaced persons and refugees to return to their former places of residence; and international security guarantees that would include a peacekeeping operation," the statement said.
In this declaration the representatives of the mediating countries stressed that the settlement should be based on the so called "Madrid principles". This means that the issue of status will be solved through referendum, while the manipulations of the Azerbaijani side are directed towards deviating the path of the negotiations the way it is in their interests.
Thus, after the April war, the political negotiations over Karabakh conflict settlement have not resumed. However, when resumed the mediators will put the Madrid principles or their renewed option on the negotiation table and in that option the important element – referendum for determining the status of Karabakh, will not be absent.