Armenia should Step Away from Its Maximalist Position on Annexation of Nagorno-Karabakh and Come to a Happy Medium : Azerbaijani President’s Special representative

Armenia should Step Away from Its Maximalist Position on Annexation of Nagorno-Karabakh and Come to a Happy Medium : Azerbaijani President’s Special representative

Russia, Moscow / corr Trend R.Agayev / Trend's exclusive interview with Araz Azimov, the Azerbaijani deputy foreign minister, also special representative of the Azerbaijani President on the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

Question: When is it planned to hold the US-Azerbaijani consultations on security in Washington?

Answer: We are holding consultations with the United States on the date of the next round of the US-Azerbaijani dialogue on security. I think, the next round will be held in June, while the exact date will be confirmed later.

Question: When is it planned to hold the next meeting of the Azerbaijani and Armenian foreign ministers and special representatives of the Azerbaijani and Armenian Presidents on the resolution of the Armenian and Azerbaijani conflicts? Has Baku agreed upon the organization of a meeting of the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan in St. Petersburg on 10 June?

Answer: Strasbourg will host a meeting of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs on 10 May. The meeting will be held within the framework of separate talks between Azerbaijan and Armenia together with the co-chairs. The negotiations to be held in Strasbourg with the participation of the Azerbaijani foreign minister and me [Azerbaijani deputy foreign minister] will enable us to make a decision and we will discuss specifically what can be submitted to a meeting of the Presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia. If these bases are substantive, then we will offer the two leaders to consider any issue. If it is difficult to expect any progress, then the President himself will make a decision with respect to the forthcoming meeting.

Question: The Armenian defense minister stated that if Azerbaijan wants to achieve an agreement in connection with seven districts attached to Nagorno-Karabakh, it will have to make compromises. What compromises does Armenia demand from Azerbaijan and what can Azerbaijan offer in his respect?

Answer: Firstly, the situation is based upon real opportunities. We are part of the world community which is regulated by currently existing principles of the international law. They cannot be violated and no one will allow Azerbaijan to do it.

Secondly, the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan is principally dictated by international law and in this case acts as the basis of the conflict. Thirdly, both sides should make compromises and it actually means mutual compromise. Armenia should step away from its maximalist position on annexation of the Nagorno-Karabakh from Azerbaijan and come to a happy medium. In turn, Azerbaijan should also step back from its maximalist position on full, total and vertical subornation of Nagorno-Karabakh to the Azerbaijani authorities. As a result, this could be a satisfying compromise. Therefore, Armenia is stepping back from an idea of separation, while Azerbaijan comes to an idea on self-government of the Armenia and Azerbaijani communities in the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan Republic. This is the topic of compromise.

Question: In its last statement the Azerbaijani President noted that statement by Armenia on the Nagorno-Karabakh negotiations are linked with the forthcoming parliamentary elections. Does it not mean that after the elections in Armenia the peace talks will be suspended, as occurred previously?

Answer: Elections in Armenia and generally, elections in any country should actually improve the situation. I definitely expect the elections in Armenia to lead to informal approaches to the resolution of the conflict. I expect to see in the Parliament of Armenia people mostly concerned with the question as to why we cannot establish peace with Azerbaijan, the people who are eager to see pluralism in the country, but not the captivity of 'every and everything' for hypertrophied, distorted and exaggerated idea of nationalism and 'sufferings of the great Armenian people, etc and attempt to solve their problems at the expense of neighboring countries. Respectively, if elections assist Armenia to go on the right path and to the correct understanding of the situation, then I will be very happy. But it is still an internal affair of every country. In 1997 we witnessed the progress, which was achieved through the efforts of the ex-president of Armenia, Levon Ter-Petrosian and ex-President of Azerbaijan, Heydar Aliyev, being destroyed following the Armenian President's removal from the state power under pressure. It is necessary to remember the tragic events at the Armenian parliament later in 1999, which was also related to the resolution process. I saw how the democracy suffers. So, not only the people, but also democracy suffers.

Question: Do you regard Russia's position on the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict resolution as unbiased amid its military co-operation with a belligerent Armenia?

Answer: The Russia allied relations with Armenia enjoys special weight and obviously occupies its place in a composition which actually relates and opposes us. The relationships between Russia and Armenia cannot prevail over Russia's entire interests in the South Caucasus region. I think Russia is more focused on interests linked with Azerbaijan, and in co-operation with Azerbaijan can be more weighty rather phantom strategic formations for some extreme situations in the context of allied relationships with Armenia, actions in the southern lank, etc

It all additionally loads the geopolitical region. But what to do? In due time we advised and drew attention to this issue. If Russia is so frivolous in its alliance with Armenia, this is their business. We are ready to build normal and good neighboring relations with Russia and offer, call and invite Russia to form such equal partnership. Perhaps, due to its aspiration to be present constructively in Azerbaijan, Russia takes steps to resolve the conflict together with the United States and France. In principle, Armenia should realize more and more that the world community in the face of three leaders will not tolerate the occupation anymore.

I have always told Armenians that the occupation is a perishable product. It is necessary to get rid of the occupation in due course. They cannot imagine how many opportunities they will have after the liberation of occupied territory. Furthermore, entire areas under occupation are being dealt with. The liberation by parts, or portions, cannot suit anyone, even Armenians themselves, because 5 does not make 7. This is simple arithmetic.

The liberation of 7 occupied districts and repatriation of Azerbaijanis to the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan will be the most efficient factor which will assist Armenia to set up its way of occupying a deserved place in the region, rehabilitation of normal relationships with Azerbaijan, and in complex this country will gain more than it gained and, as a result, will receive non-constrictive policy.

Question: How will you comment on Russia's intention of announcing a moratorium on its participation at the Agreement on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (ACAFE), sounded by President Putin in his letter to the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation?

Answer: As far as I understand, for the time being Russia has proposed to establish a unilateral moratorium on the implementation of the ACAFE. However, Azerbaijan has its specific attitude on this document. Obviously, we currently observe that in wider frames and wider geography, the agreement construction in the sphere of control over the arms and non-proliferation experiences enough shocks and blows. During the cold war and confrontations, there were agreements on Anti-missile Defense, Strategically Offensive Arms, which adequately stabilized the static situation. There was not any movement, or crisis or resistance. There existed stable static resistance and these agreements were observed by sides which were implementing them. Furthermore, the participants in these agreements had possession ofthe arms.

Firstly, the situation has been destabilized, all stabilizers were removed, there is no shock-absorbers, in the sense that shocks caused by conflicts and crisis situations follow each other, crisis is provoked, crisis are caused, armed actions and attempts for pressure by force. These factors actually lead to a situation when a country withdraws from the agreement and announces that the document is not of interest. In some cases this evokes another response. The accumulation of additional arms and their purchases are carried out by force of obligation. We observe the crisis situation is used in the issue of Anti-Missile Defense; the United States has left the Agreement on Anti-Missile Defense and is developing its similar system in the European scale, while Russia is more concerned because of feeling that it makes them take certain steps and other countries will also feels an impact of these shocks. So, in this concrete course ACAFE is perhaps separation of the situation, crisis situations one following another, while use of the force has become an ordinary case. It is necessary to acquire arms and I do not mean the amount of armaments, which for example, Azerbaijan could purchase, but it is developing in another strategic and global level. So, they all are very serious.

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