EDITOR's NOTE: Details have been added after the fourth paragraph
Azerbaijan, Baku, March 15 / Trend U. Sadikhova /
Azerbaijan supports the gradual process of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
"Azerbaijan supports the gradual process of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, because it knows that it is impossible to resolve all problems within one day", Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov told media today.
The Azerbaijani side thinks that if there are conflicts in the world, they must be resolved diplomatically.
"I would like to say that there are opportunities for diplomatic settlement," minister said.
The 'Prague Process' was launched six years ago. As a result, the Madrid principles were approved in 2007. The presidents, foreign ministers have met within the last two years. The co-chairmen have often visited the region. As a result of negotiations in December 2009, an updated version of the Madrid principles was given to the parties", Mammadyarov said.
Azerbaijan approves this document and believes that it opens an opportunity to sign a more extensive document in future, minister said.
Minister said that Azerbaijan has chosen the diplomatic route and follows it.
Concerning the position of Armenia, Yerevan must say whether it approves this document or not. Then Azerbaijan will determine the next actions.
"But I want to assure you that in the Foreign Ministry we are discussing various options, as well as ways to negotiate this year", Minister said.
He said that Prague process is incremental. "These stages are reflected in the Madrid document. At the first stage the Armenian armed forces must withdraw its troops from five regions (5 regions and 13 villages in Kalbajar region).
"After withdrawal of troops, the Armenian side must restore all communications", Mammadyarov said.
He said that after Armenian forces withdraw its troops from Lachin and Kalbajar, all roads open at the first and the second stages. After the return of the Azerbaijani community, there will be an opportunity to discuss the status of Karabakh, Mammadyarov said.
"We think if Armenia withdraws its troops from the occupied lands stage-by-stage, it will open many opportunities for the region, both in terms of security, and from an economic point of view. As Azerbaijani foreign minister, I think that it is the best process, he said.
As to security, it also deals with the international observers, given that the security problem of Azerbaijani refugees after their return is very important, the minister said. He added that after the return of the Azerbaijani community, there will be an opportunity to discuss the status of Karabakh.
"This is Azerbaijani land. It is incorrect for any Azerbaijani territory to be out of the administrative control. All will take place within the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan ", Azerbaijani foreign minister said.
"Nobody can take away the territory and escape. Whether you like it or not, it is necessary to establish the right policy with neighbors. Moreover, a gradual process is the best option, because we need to remove the issue concerning the results of the war, the occupation of Azerbaijani lands and the problem of internally displaced people from the negotiations. The sooner this happens, the better ", minister said.
According to him, if the troops are withdrawn from the occupied lands, it will open many opportunities in the region, both in terms of security, and from an economic point of view, and improve the living conditions of ordinary people.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan since 1992, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and 7 surrounding districts. Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994.
The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group - Russia, France, and the U.S. - are currently holding the peace negotiations.
Armenia has not yet implemented the Security Council's resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh region and the occupied territories.
Azerbaijani foreign minister asked about the position of Azerbaijan on the latest discussions in the U.S. Congress on the "Armenian genocide". He said that Baku does not approve this document, adopted by the Congress's committee. "If the U.S. Congress is discussing the incident which took place a hundred years ago, it must assess the issues occurred 20 years ago, Mammadyarov said.