OSCE Co-Chairmen Supports Idea of Meeting between Presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia in Bucharest: Russian Co-Chairman
Austria, Vienna, 14 March /corr. Trend A.Alasgarov / Trend interview with the OSCE Minsk Group's Co-Chairman - Ambassador Yury Merzlyakov of the Russian Federation - as a result of the consultations on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict which took place on 12-13 March in Vienna. Together with Merzlyakov, the consultations were also attended by the Minsk Group Co-chairman Bernard Fassier of France and U.S. Assistant Co-Chairman- Mike Karpenter.
Question: What steps will the OSCE Minsk Group's Co-chairmen take after the consultation in Vienna?
- Briefing of the Minsk Group took place in Vienna. We basically hold it once per quarter and inform about our activities of the past three months, i.e. since the end of November, when the Foreign Ministers of Russia, France and the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State came together in Madrid and sent the Foreign Ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia a document reflecting base principles for the conflict settlement. In addition, we speak about our plans for the coming future. However, this briefing is confidential and held only for the members of Minsk Group. Our plans are concrete and key for the future perspective. However, due to the known reasons, now I can not provide you with details.
Question: Is the Minsk co-chairmen date of visit to the region confirmed?
- Our last visit to the region was in January. Still, we have no plans to visit the region soon. Everything will depend on the results of our meeting with the Ministers, where our proposals on concrete steps will be known. Thus, I can not definitely say when out visit to the region will take place.
Question: Are talks being held with newly elected President of Armenia, Serj Sarkisyan and President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev with regards to the possible meeting between them in Bucharest summit of NATO at the beginning of April? Are preparations being held for such a meeting?
- In January when we were in both the countries, we suggested the Presidents to think about the meeting. We knew that Kocharyan is not going to attend the Bucharest summit, but Sarkisyan will attend. Such idea was suggested to us then. We would like it to be realized.
Question: Is there any similarity between Kosovo and Nagorno-Karabakh problems?
Question: If to speak about it not as an OSCE Minsk Group co-chair but simply as a citizen of Russia, then our position on Kosovo is well known. It is universal and can be applied on all conflicts, including Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Our principle is that all sides involved in the conflict must reach to an agreement and take a mutually acceptable decision. However, we, the co-chairs, will support this decision, contribute and act as guarantee for such decision.
As to the idea that Kosovo variant was directed to another course, we are not guilty for that. We would like to return the Kosovo process to legal platform. We do not view Kosovo model as a resolution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. For the time being, the sides, thanks God, only negotiate and meet. At least, this process is ongoing within the legal course. Unfortunately, over the past period we are not observing in Kosovo, after its unilateral declaration of independence, and especially after following the statements against this independence by some members of the international community.
Question: On 14 March, the UN General Assembly will discuss a resolution on the situation in the occupied territory of Azerbaijan. What is your opinion about the draft resolution, presented to UN by Azerbaijan?
Answer: We spoke about it at different levels with our Azerbaijani friends, saying that we cannot welcome the draft document in this version. All OSCE Minsk Group co-chairing countries stick to such opinion. It does not reflect the one which only the co-chairs but also the sides in the conflict dealt. It is very unilateral and very selective among set of 'basic principles' of the conflict resolution which we deal with. It selects only those of Azerbaijan's interest. The draft document turned out to be unilateral, absolutely imbalanced and not advanced. It was so unexpected for us.
Our proposals offer either to postpone the consideration of this Draft document, or simply try to make it acceptable for the approval. The Azerbaijani delegation rejected them in New York, referring to the absence of relevant testimonies. In this situation all co-chairing countries concluded that they cannot support this document. I should say that the sixth item of the document contains a very good paragraph, indicating better work of the OSCE Minsk Group.