Azerbaijan, Baku, July 15 /Trend S.Agayeva/
Trend interviewed Presidential Administration International Relations department head Novruz Mammadov
Q: The next round of the Armenian-Azerbaijani negotiations on the peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is expected to be held in Almaty this week. Taking into account the recent statements by the presidents of the Minsk Group co-chairing countries, is it possible to expect a constructive position from Armenia in the negotiations?
A: Taking into account all the points on this issue, we must accept the statements by the Presidents of the United States, Russia and France, especially the recent statement made in the Canadian city of Toronto, as their common position. I believe that the processes which became more intense amid this statement are a serious signal for the Armenian side, because Armenia was first indicated in the statement in an open form. I do not know how it is indicated in the translation, but the original says that a serious step must be taken in this regard, that is, in the settlement of Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
The proposals on the Madrid principles on which the Azerbaijani side has expressed its position are on the agenda. Taking into account that Armenia has not yet announced its position on this issue, this statement and the appeals relate to the Armenian side. Therefore, I believe that the Armenian leadership must recognize that. It gives us a chance to believe that sooner or later, the Armenian side will feel the pressure and will be forced to take a constructive position.
Q: How do you assess possible exerting pressure on Armenia by the Minsk Group co-chairmen?
A: These statements mean a kind of pressure. Keeping borders closed up to now is also pressure. The Azerbaijani President's putting Azerbaijan's fair position in the forefront within the territorial integrity and international law, and in parallel - strengthening the army, rapid development also mean pressure on the Armenian side.
Pressure is just so. The pressure on the international arena, in international relations must be understood in that context. Of course, other forms will appear gradually. I think that all the members of the international community express their position to Armenia regarding this matter at the meetings with the Armenian leadership.
Some time ago, Armenians held "elections" in unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh. All international organizations and countries stated non-recognition of these "elections". These countries and organizations see Nagorno-Karabakh only as part of Azerbaijan. They recognize the territorial integrity of the country. This fact is pressure.
The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly former president said that the responsibility in this matter falls on Armenia. But it is a pity that he did not say it during his presidency, but only after leaving the office. This means that Armenia must take steps towards the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement. I believe that Armenia is under heavy pressure over recent years.
Q: The issue of returning the Kalbajar and Lachin regions has been on the agenda of the talks over recent period. Azerbaijan has agreed with return of these regions within five years. Can this be estimated as the last limit of concessions to the Armenian side?
A: In certain sense, tasks have been already made within the Madrid principles and an agreement has been reached. Now one can talk only about specific details of the issue. Certainly, these issues will be discussed in details.
I think the main issue is today's position of Armenia on the Madrid principles. If a meeting is held in Kazakhstan, they will have to announce their positions on basic principles under OSCE patronage. At the same time, discussions may be held, views on other specific issues may be exchanged. There is nothing abnormal, as the process of conflict settlement must be the result of discussions.