Baku Wants to See Turkey as Co-Chairman of OSCE Minsk Group

Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict Materials 24 September 2008 20:20 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, 24 September /corr. Trend I.Alizade / Official Baku wants Turkey to more closely participate in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement as a mediator.

"Azerbaijan would like Turkey to become Co-chairman of the OSCE Minsk Group," the Head of the Foreign Relations Department of the Presidential Administration of Azerbaijan, Novruz Mammadov, said.

The conflict between the two countries of South Caucasus began in 1988 due to territorial claims by Armenia against Azerbaijan. Armenia has occupied 20% of the Azerbaijani land including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and its seven surrounding Districts. Since 1992, these territories have been under the occupation of the Armenian Forces. In 1994, Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement at which time the active hostilities ended. The Co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group (Russia, France and USA) are currently holding peaceful negotiations.

"Turkey is a friendly, fraternal country and strategic partner of Azerbaijan, and it is represented in the Minsk Group. But the formation of the chairmanship to the Minsk Group is realized via consensus. I consider that the probability of Armenia's consent to Turkey's chairmanship equals zero. Therefore it is impossible to speak about this extensively," said Mammadov.

According to him, leaderships of Turkey and Armenia held discussions for several times.

Mammadov said that due to the recent processes, Turkey's leadership makes certain statements.

"If as a result of the efforts made by the Government of Turkey in the last negotiations with the Armenians for the solution of conflict, they can convince the Armenian side of consent to representation in the Minsk Group, a number of questions can be clarified. If an agreement is reached upon the format, cochairmen, it can come out that Turkey will become the cochairman of the Minsk Group. But I do not consider this real," he added.

He said hat considering that today South Caucasus is one of the sensitive regions of Eurasia, the events between Georgia and Russia affected the processes in the world and the international relations. Also these events created a new situation in the international relations.

"Therefore, taking into account the processes in the foreign relations, several analysts, centers declare that possibly the cochairmen or the format of the OSCE Minsk Group will change. Here the discussions deal with the change in the format. Because in these processes, tension arose between Russia and the USA, and each of these countries stand on the different positions contrary to each other," said Mammedov.

He also added that despite this, still the agenda does not include and is not expected to include a change to the cochairmen or format of OSCE Minsk Group.

"In such questions it is necessary to be to patient. Simply, as the cochairmen of the Minsk Group visited the region individually, an opinion appeared regarding the change to the cochairmen-countries or format," said Mammadov.

The correspondent can be contacted at: [email protected]