Azerbaijan, Baku, Dec. 7 / Trend E. Tariverdiyeva /
The progress in the Nagorno-Karabakh negotiations fully depends on Armenia's position to change status quo, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov said addressing the OSCE Ministerial Council meeting in Vilnius on Wednesday.
"The status quo in Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is unacceptable, however, unfortunately no progress in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement is observed, despite the OSCE mediation will mark its 20th anniversary next year," Mammadyarov said.
Azerbaijan is a key player in the region, and threat to the country's territorial integrity will question the safety of the South Caucasus as a whole, he said.
"Existence of unresolved conflicts in the OSCE space, including the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, undermines the authority and confidence to the organization," Mammadyarov said.
He said good neighborly relations are guarantee of successful development of the entire region, and Azerbaijan is ready to make compromises within international norms to achieve peace and stability in South Caucasus.
"Opening of borders in the region would make possible the successful development and prosperity of the South Caucasus," he said.
The last proposal, namely "Updated Madrid principles" drafted by all three co-chair countries has been submitted to the sides, on which Azerbaijan has declared its readiness to continue further on negotiations including to starting and drafting the comprehensive peace agreement. Very unfortunately that Armenia rejected this proposal.
"Today our main challenge is rebuilding trust between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and to achieve it we have to make a lot of efforts. Having around a million refugees and IDPs and with almost 20 percent of Azerbaijani territories under Armenia's occupation it is not easy task. We believe that one of the steps in this direction could be establishing more direct contacts and arranging meetings between Azerbaijan and Armenians communities of Nagorno Karabakh region," he said.
One can imagine what opportunities will be opened in the region as soon as Armenia starts gradual withdrawal of the Azerbaijani lands, Mammadyarov added.
"Rehabilitation of the conflict affected territories, restoration of disrupted communications, opening economic business opportunities and investments, increase of trade and most importantly creating predictable and secure environment that for sure will lead to the win-win situation," he added.
Azerbaijani and Armenian communities can live side by side in Nagorno Karabakh region of Azerbaijan within self rule.
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.