Meeting with New Armenian Minister Will be of Familiarization Character: Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan (Interview)

Meeting with New Armenian Minister Will be of Familiarization Character: Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan (Interview)

Latvia, Riga, 26 April /Special corr. Trend R.Ushakov / Trend interview with the Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan, Elmar Mammadyarov.

Question: Is any advancement expected to take place with regards to the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement in 2008, especially taking into consideration the recent presidential elections in Armenia and upcoming presidential elections in Azerbaijan?

Answer: We always expect advancements to take place as long as this conflict exists and continues, and the time in this case does not work for settlement of the conflict in its own account, it needs to make efforts for its settlement.

In the recent months, the understanding that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict should be settled only within territorial integrity, sovereignty and inviolability of borders has acquired new approvals. Particularly, they are specified in the Resolution of the UN General Assembly and closing declaration of the NATO Summit in Bucharest as well as statements of the Minsk Group member and co-chairman countries.

We consider that it needs to use the time exactly in the context of new leadership of Armenia in order to understand that the conflict should be settled on the bases of norms and principles of the international law, i.e. within territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.

Question: A meeting is planned to take place between you and the new Foreign Minister of Armenia within participation in the meeting of the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers in Strasburg on 6 May. What do you expect from this meeting?

Answer: I gave consent to this meeting before my visit to Latvia. We shall see the results of the meeting, but in my opinion, it will be a familiarization meeting. Firstly the familiarization envisages studying the reaction of the new leadership of Armenia to the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement.

Of course, we believe that Armenia will take more constructive position on the conflict settlement, and the understanding that the conflict should be settled based on principles of the international law will grow.

No-one can forcibly change the borders and territorial integrity of states via ethnic cleansing and later, make requirements to gain self-determination. Here one mutually excludes other one. If firstly you carry out ethnic cleansing and later speak about self-determination, it is absolutely not an acceptable model according to the international law. In this case, only after re-establishing the situation in occupied territories and returning displaced persons to Nagorno-Karabakh, it will be possible to speak about advancement in status, but again the status of Nagorno-Karabakh as part of Azerbaijan.

Question: What steps does Baku expect to be taken by the European Union as well as EU member-Baltic states in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement?

Answer: The President of Lithuania made an initiative to establish a Group of GUAM Friends in the European Union and this idea was supported by other Baltic states, including Latvia. Poland, Romania and other states also supported the Group. We consider that taking into consideration our past - Latvia, other Baltic states and Azerbaijan - our understanding and explanation of the situation should be shifted to other EU capitals as well. We understand that our position being accepted by our Latvian partners will find its reflection in other European capitals.

Question: The meetings with the senior officials of Latvia also focused on the energy issues. Were discussions held on realization of Nabucco gas pipeline being lobbied by the European Union, as well as Odessa-Brody-Plotsk-Gdansk Pipeline?

Answer: Debates were organized on Nabucco during negotiations because the Latvian side asked to clarify our position on Nabucco gas pipeline. Principally Baku's position is clear - the gas pipeline is very interesting project and I think that it is possible to realize it. In this regard, I informed my Latvian colleague that the gas volume in the region is sufficient to implement the first phase of the Nabucco gas pipeline. The topic of Odessa-Brody-Plotsk-Gdansk Pipeline was also discussed. As you know, the next energy summit will take place in Kiev in May which will fully focus on the results of the works being done after the similar summit in Vilnius. The meeting with the Latvian colleagues also covered this topic. Currently we expect the results of feasibility study which should be presented by Sarmatiya Company.

Question: Your Latvian colleague informed of several bilateral agreements that the countries will conclude. Can you provide details on them?

Answer: There are 13 documents between Azerbaijan and Latvia, which are under consideration currently. These agreements deal with economic issues, mutual legal consultations, financial and banking system.

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