Azerbaijan, Baku, 17 January /corr. Trend E.Huseynli / Changing the format of the OSCE Minsk Group, established to settle the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, is not in disposal of the Minsk Group Co-chairs. "The Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh can not be involved in the negotiation process," the Head of the Azerbaijani Community of Nagorno-Karabakh, Nizami Bahmanov, reported to Trend on 17 January.
Bernard Fassier, the French Co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, said on 17 January in Yerevan that discussions are being held to involve Karabakh as a full-value side, in the talks on Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement. As sooner as Karabakh is involved in the negotiation process as one of the negotiation sides, better it is, he said.
Bahmanov said that the format of the Minsk Group may be changed during the OSCE summit. The decision in this structure is being made according to consensus. Bahmanov said that if Azerbaijan imposes veto on this decision, the format can not be changed.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries appeared in 1988 due to Armenian territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Armenia has occupied 20% of the Azerbaijani lands including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and its seven surrounding districts. Since 1992 to the present time, these territories have been under Armenian occupation. In 1994, Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a cease-fire agreement at which time the active hostilities ended. The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group ( Russia, France and USA) are holding peaceful negotiations.