Azerbaijani FM: Armenian position prevents achieving progress in negotiations over Nagorno-Karabakh (UPDATE-2)
Details added (the first version was posted at 11:40)
Azerbaijan, Baku, March 2 / Trend, V.Zhavoronkova/
Armenia's unconstructive position prevents achieving a progress in negotiations over Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov said.
"Despite the OSCE Minsk Group's efforts, we cannot make progress," Mammadyarov said addressing the Third Forum of the OIC member countries' "Think Tanks".
He stressed that the co-chair countries presented new basic principles and Azerbaijan has accepted them as a good basis to start work to achieve a peace agreement that will lead to great stability and a progress in the negotiation process.
"The Armenian side refused to accept the updated principles. After all the efforts we can not achieve a progress in negotiations, and it sometimes happens because of the unconstructive position of the Armenian side, which tries to preserve the existing status quo in the region and does not agree with the terms to withdraw its troops from Azerbaijani territories," Mammadyarov said.
He said the conditions are quite simple - all recognize that the presence of foreign troops on the territory of another state is absolutely unacceptable, progress should be achieved step-by-step and the first step should be the withdrawal of Armenian troops from the occupied territories.
"We were able to establish good relations with our neighbors, but the unresolved conflict with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh impedes the region's steady development," Mammadyarov said.
UN resolutions call for the withdrawal of the Armenian troops from Azerbaijan's occupied territories and the return of refugees to their homeland, he underlined.
"But, unfortunately, we can not achieve the fulfillment of these resolutions. This sometimes causes questions about double standards. Some resolutions of the UN Security Council are fulfilled next day or within a week, however, the resolutions on Nagorno-Karabakh have not been fulfilled yet, while all recognize that Azerbaijani territory is under occupation and population was subjected to ethnic cleansing," Mammadyarov said.
He stressed that it is very difficult and sensitive topic.
"We believe that we should make every effort to make progress in the negotiations for the withdrawal of the Armenian troops from Azerbaijani territories and the return of our IDPs back to their homeland," Mammadyarov underscored.
Mammadyarov said that Azerbaijan recognises that the withdrawal of Armenian troops from Azerbaijani territories is not the end of the conflict resolution and it is necessary to determine the status of Nagorno-Karabakh to complete the process.
"It will be possible to open communications which are now completely destroyed, build roads and railways after the Armenian troops are withdrawn from Azerbaijani territory," he underlined.
Exchanges of fire are observed on the frontline periodically, but all agree that these cases happen because Azerbaijan has foreign troops on its territory, Mammadyarov said.
"According to the UN Charter, there are internationally recognised legal norms in accordance with which we can use all means to liberate our territories from the illegal presence of foreign troops and restore Azerbaijan's territorial integrity and sovereignty. Resolutions of the UN and other organisations including the OIC clearly reflect the requirement to restore Azerbaijan's territorial integrity," Mammadyarov said.
The conflicting parties should create an opportunity, including an economic one, so that refugees and IDPs could return to their homes, Mammadyarov said.
"If there is no stability, then it is necessary to create at least predictability in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict," he stressed.
This year is an election year in all three co-chair countries and in addition elections are expected in Armenia and therefore a difficult time to negotiate, Mammadyarov said.
"This year will be difficult enough, but we ask our partners to use this situation not to slow down peace negotiations and reaching agreement, but for greater understanding, particularly between the Armenian and Azerbaijani communities of Nagorno-Karabakh through building confidence," he underscored.
Mammadyarov said the logic of Azerbaijani is simple - no one can take its people and run away from the neighbours.
"The history of mankind shows that building dividing walls is not good. It is counterproductive and like it or not, one should take its neighbours into account which clearly helps to steadily develop not only the economy, but also society," Mammadyarov said.
He said the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict sides should make progress for the mutual benefit of the Azerbaijani and Armenian peoples.
"I believe that we will achieve this through the Islamic world that supports our just position. I believe that the only problem in the development of Azerbaijan is the resolution of this conflict," Mammadyarov said.