All issues can be settled if Armenian troops leave Azerbaijan’s occupied territories

Photo: All issues can be settled if Armenian troops leave Azerbaijan’s occupied territories / Nagorno-karabakh conflict

Baku, Azerbaijan, May 8

By Sabina Ahmadova - Trend:

Azerbaijan's territorial integrity is not a negotiations subject, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister, Elmar Mammadyarov said Thursday, May 8.

Minister Mammadyarov made the remarks at a press conference commenting on the six conditions proposed by the U.S. Co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, James Warlick.

Azerbaijani minister stressed that all the problems can be solved if Armenian troops will be first withdrawn from Azerbaijan's occupied territories.

Mammadyarov said the Azerbaijani side agreed to start working on a peace treaty to settle the Nagorno-Karabakh problem.

He went on to add that the peacemaking forces should be stationed in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict territories within the framework of settlement of this conflict.

"There is no trust between the conflict parties, and peacemakers should be placed in order to secure the internally displaced persons' safety," Mammadyarov said. "We can solve the problem, if we reach an agreement from a political point of view."

The OSCE Minsk Group's U.S. Co-chair, James Warlick speaking yesterday at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, D.C, presented a report on the 'Nagorno-Karabakh: The Keys to a Settlement'.

Earlier, Warlick wrote on his Twitter that the report's postulates do not reflect his personal opinion, but the political line of the United States.

He believes that any peace agreement must be based on the following six elements:

First, in light of Nagorno-Karabakh's complex history, the sides should commit to determining its final legal status through a mutually agreed and legally binding expression of will in the future. This is not optional. Interim status will be temporary.

Second, the area within the boundaries of the former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region that is not controlled by Baku should be granted an interim status that, at a minimum, provides guarantees for security and self-governance.

Third, the occupied territories surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh should be returned to Azerbaijani control. There can be no settlement without respect for Azerbaijan's sovereignty, and the recognition that its sovereignty over these territories must be restored.

Fourth, there should be a corridor linking Armenia to Nagorno-Karabakh. It must be wide enough to provide secure passage, but it cannot encompass the whole of the Lachin district.

Fifth, an enduring settlement will have to recognize the right of all IDPs and refugees to return to their former places of residence.

Sixth and finally, a settlement must include international security guarantees that would include a peacekeeping operation. There is no scenario in which peace can be assured without a well-designed peacekeeping operation that enjoys the confidence of all sides.

The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.

The two countries signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Russia, France and the U.S. are currently holding peace negotiations.

Armenia has not yet implemented the U.N. Security Council's four resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.

Translated by E.A.

Edited by C.N.

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