Baku, Azerbaijan, May 3
By Samir Ali - Trend:
Continuation of intensive and substantive negotiations is the next stage in the process of settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Hikmet Hajiyev, Head of the Department of Foreign Policy Affairs of the Azerbaijani Presidential Administration, told Trend News Agency in “Interview with Sahil Karimli”.
Hajiyev commented on futile attempts of the Armenian side to change the format of the talks in the conflict settlement process. Armenia must demonstrate goodwill and constructivism, he noted.
Hajiyev added that Armenia made attempts to change the format of negotiations and even put forward preconditions.
“These attempts, as a result, turned out to be fruitless,” he said. “As the head of our state noted at the meeting of the cabinet of ministers, Azerbaijan’s position remains unchanged. This is a decisive, unequivocal position, and the process of negotiations must continue in the existing format. In this process, Azerbaijan, being a constructive party, is interested in the earliest possible settlement of the conflict. That’s because it is namely Azerbaijan that suffered from the occupation and aggression.”
Hajiyev noted that the international community also responded adequately to the attempts of Armenia to change the format of negotiations.
“Armenian Prime Minister [Nikol Pashinyan] visited the headquarters of the EU and, as part of the visit, put forward claims regarding changing the negotiation process,” Hajiyev said. “However, the press statements made at three levels - by EU President Donald Tusk, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini and European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy Johannes Hahn with the participation of the Armenian authorities, openly and unequivocally expressed that attempts to change the format of the negotiation process are unacceptable and that the negotiation process must be continued in the existing format. At the same time, on March 9, the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs made a statement.”
“It was a rather voluminous statement, which can be called a "road map" of the resolution of the conflict. The co-chairs said that the format of the negotiations could not be changed, the status quo was unacceptable and the conflict should be resolved in stages. One of the steps to be taken as part of the process is the liberation of the occupied regions of Azerbaijan around the Nagorno-Karabakh region. We saw the triumph of this principle during the meeting of President Ilham Aliyev with the Prime Minister of Armenia in Vienna. This once again fixed the format of the negotiations. The following meeting of the main diplomats of both countries in Moscow, with the participation of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs and the Russian foreign minister, also confirmed that Armenia is a party. All this shows that, eventhough Armenia continues to put forward claims, it puts itself in a very difficult position."
The official representative of the Presidential Administration stressed that next stage is the continuation of substantive and intensive negotiations: “There is a serious need to demonstrate goodwill and constructivism on the part of Armenia. We still hope that the current leadership of Armenia will not repeat the mistakes of the former regime. We think that they are, to some extent, getting closer to accept this logic. Recently, the Prime Minister of Armenia gave an interview to “Nezavisimaya Gazeta” and, answering the journalist's question about what the problems of Armenia are, he said that the problem is connected with the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, as well as with economic development. Addressing the head of Armenia, we can note that both of these issues are interrelated: the economic development of Armenia is impossible without the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict."
Hikmat Hajiyev added that Azerbaijan takes a strong and firm position in the negotiation process: "Armenia is an occupying country and Azerbaijan should have a decisive and unequivocal position towards it. If Armenia wants to be saved from this hopeless situation and see the country's future development, it should build civilized relations with neighboring countries, and put an end to its aggressive policy. In this sense, it should withdraw its troops from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, and seek to create comprehensive opportunities for a political solution of the conflict."