Azerbaijan, Baku, Oct. 5 /Trend/
The status of Karabakh should be determined jointly with the Armenian and Azerbaijani communities, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov said in an exclusive interview to RT Arabic Rusiya Al-Yaum.
"The status of Karabakh should be determined jointly with the Armenian and Azerbaijani communities that have lived there together," said Mammadyarov. "First, we must create conditions for it, whilst it is impossible to talk about the voluntary determination of status, which the Armenian side is insistently speaking of, in presence of occupied territories."
"Azerbaijan, as a country that has suffered in the context of the occupied territories and refugees, is the most ardent supporter in order to move this process from deadlock," said Mammadyarov.
"It is impossible to resolve the conflict for one night, and therefore, starting the next stage of negotiations in Prague seven years ago, we realized that it should be solved step by step, that is to clean the negotiating table from the most negative consequences of armed component of the conflict," said Mammadyarov.
"If there are occupied territories, captured, completely ethnically cleansed, as well as people who have been driven out from their places of residence, then to move towards positive and breakthrough is quite difficult," said the minister.
He said the negotiations are continuing, and there is a definite plan of settlement titled "Madrid principles", under which discussions have been conducted for already over seven years, he said.
"In general, we understand the concept of the road map, how and where we need to move," said Mammadyarov. "There is a common understanding for us and for the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs - Russian Federation, U.S., and France. I think Armenia also understands that the existing status quo is not only unacceptable, but also rolls back the development of the region," Mammadyarov underscored.
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.