Azerbaijani deputy prime minister criticizes OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs

Azerbaijani deputy prime minister criticizes OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs

Baku, Azerbaijan, May 16

By Elchin Mehdiyev - Trend:

Azerbaijani Deputy Prime Minister, Chairman of the State Committee for Affairs of Refugees and IDPs, Ali Hasanov has criticized the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs.

"Each co-chair works for three or four years, makes tourism visits to the region, receives a salary, but there is no result," Hasanov said on May 16 at an event dedicated to the 22nd anniversary of the occupation of Azerbaijani Lachin District by Armenian armed forces.

Hasanov also commented on the issue of opening of the Lachin corridor, as reflected in the six principles presented by the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group.

"Armenians live in Russia, Iran, Georgia, in Europe and the United States. Armenians occupied Lachin, and announced that they were creating a corridor; they occupied Kelbajar and said they were creating a buffer zone," Hasanov said. "Armenians densely populate the Stavropol and Krasnodar regions of Russia, so that means that they have to create a corridor to Armenia there too? Should there also be created corridors in the Armenian-inhabited territories in the U.S. and Europe? Or, if a country is inhabited by millions of Azerbaijanis, then there should also be talks about a humanitarian corridor?"

Hasanov also noted the world community's indifferent attitude on this issue.

Earlier, on May 7, OSCE Minsk Group's U.S. Co-chair James Warlick presented a speech on the keys to settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

During his speech at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Warlick presented a report titled 'Nagorno-Karabakh: The Keys to a Settlement' in which he outlined six main elements that he believes any peace agreement must be based on.

James Warlick's report outlined the following elements:

- First, in light of Nagorno-Karabakh's complex history, the sides should commit to determining its final legal status through a mutually agreed and legally binding expression of will in the future. This is not optional. Interim status will be temporary.

- Second, the area within the boundaries of the former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region that is not controlled by Baku should be granted an interim status that, at a minimum, provides guarantees for security and self-governance.

- Third, the occupied territories surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh should be returned to Azerbaijani control. There can be no settlement without respect for Azerbaijan's sovereignty, and the recognition that its sovereignty over these territories must be restored.

- Fourth, there should be a corridor linking Armenia to Nagorno-Karabakh. It must be wide enough to provide secure passage, but it cannot encompass the whole of Lachin district.

- Fifth, an enduring settlement will have to recognize the right of all IDPs and refugees to return to their former places of residence.

- Sixth and finally, a settlement must include international security guarantees that would include a peacekeeping operation. There is no scenario in which peace can be assured without a well-designed peacekeeping operation that enjoys the confidence of all sides.

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict broke out in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan.

As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.

The two countries signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Russia, France and the U.S. are currently holding peace negotiations.

The UN Security Council adopted four resolutions on liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions; however Armenia is still not complying with any of these resolutions.

Translated by E.A.

Edited by S.I.

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