Azerbaijani FM: Independence to Nagorno-Karabakh can not be subject of further negotiations
Azerbaijan, Baku, July 19 / Trend S. Agayeva /
Giving independence to Nagorno-Karabakh can not be the subject of further negotiations, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov told media at a joint press conference with Ukrainian counterpart.
"Armenians have an independent state of Armenia. Self-determination as the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh can only occur within the autonomy of Azerbaijan", the minister said.
Azerbaijani Foreign Minister noted with regret that the Almaty meeting was fruitless. Armenia refused from making a statement in the format "3+2". Baku welcomed its signing. "Today there is nothing secret in the negotiation process. A plan of the talks is known to everybody. It was approved in a statement of the presidents at G-8 summit in Toronto, " Mammadyarov said.
The presidents of Russia, the United States and France, Dmitry Medvedev, Barack Obama and Nicolas Sarkozy made a joint statement within the June summit of G-8 in Canada. They urged the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan to accelerate work on the main principles of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict to proceed then to drafting of the Peace Agreement.
The statement adopted by three leaders in Canada on Saturday noted that a lasting settlement must be based on several principles, including the return of the occupied territories of Nagorno-Karabakh to Azerbaijan, an interim status for Nagorno-Karabakh, which provides guarantees of security and self-governing; corridor linking Armenia with Nagorno Karabakh. Determination of a final legal status of Nagorno Karabakh by the will of people having legal power, the right of all internal and displaced people and refugees to return to their homes, international guarantees of security, including peacekeeping operations are also included. These provisions are consistent with the basic items of the Madrid principles.
The minister said that details of the talks were announced to inform the public about the negotiations. "This is a very sensitive issue for Armenia and the Armenian community of Nagorno-Karabakh," Mammadyarov said.
The minister said that the Azerbaijani side is still willing to continue negotiations, but their effectiveness will depend on the Armenian side.
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 U.N. Security Council's resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh region and the occupied territories.