Turkish FM: Stalemate in Nagorno-Karabakh conflict leads to negative atmosphere in regional dynamics

Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict Materials 20 April 2011 13:47 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, April 20 / Trend /

Turkey's vision towards the Caucasus aims at the establishment of a long-lasting, comprehensive and sustainable peace and stability in the whole region, Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu said in an interview with Armenian Arminfo agency.

"Inspired by the regional ownership idea, we want to focus on building a secure, sustainable and prosperous future in the region for the benefit of peoples by creating regional integration," minister said. We have a clear vision to this effect".

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 four resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.

Unfortunately, the stalemate in the Nagorno-Karabakh (NK) conflict leads to a negative atmosphere in regional dynamics, he said.

"We are looking for ways to alleviate this problem so that the region will move closer to peace and stability," he said.

In this context, a step to be taken towards resolving the NK conflict, which constitutes a major impediment to the maintenance of regional peace and security in the region, would certainly give a positive impulse to normalization processes on all tracks, he said.

At first glance the issues of normalizing the Turkish-Armenian relations and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict seem to be of each other, he said.

"Each has its own dynamics and its own negotiating platforms," he said. We do not deny this. However, there is an undeniable interaction between the two tracks, namely Turkey-Armenia and Armenia-Azerbaijan. We should ensure that these two tracks remain mutually reinforcing; a positive move in one track could facilitate progress in the other".

Turkey's aim is to bring comprehensive and sustainable peace to the South Caucasus. All actors interested in the resolution of the conflict should combine their efforts to bring the position of the parties closer to one another. Hence the clear need for a better environment stimulating regional partnership transforming the Caucasus into an area of common prosperity, he said.

"We have to persist in our efforts to promote dialogue and keep all negotiation tracks open," he said.

The unresolved conflict of the Nagorno-Karabakh problem continues to be the main obstacle for developing an environment conducive to peace and stability in the region, he said.

"The Minsk Group has been trying to give thrust towards the peaceful solution of the NK conflict for almost three decades," he said. We support their efforts. We also think that as a regional power, Russia is playing a constructive role as a responsible member of the Minsk Group Co-chairmanship. We think that President Medvedev's personal involvement is encouraging and should be maintained".

In this regard, we hope that the trilateral Sochi meeting held on 5 March 2011 would serve as another step to move the negotiation process forward.

"We welcome the declaration made at the end of the Summit and hope that further positive steps will be undertaken in the near future," he said.

The meeting in Sochi is the eighth tripartite meeting of the Presidents of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Russia

Earlier Astrakhan hosted a trilateral meeting of the presidents of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, Armenia Serzh Sargsyan and Russia Dmitry Medvedev on Oct. 27. The parties signed a declaration envisaging the return of POWs.