(Itar-Tass) -- Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev said the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh can and should be settled peacefully with Armenia.
"We believe the resources of the negotiating process have not been exhausted and our adherence to the peaceful process is the main argument that confirms our constructive approach," he said in an exclusive interview with Tass.
Aliyev stressed the conflict shall be resolved on the basis of territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.
He recalled the latest joint declaration with Armenia, which says that international guarantees should encourage all stages of conflict settlement.
"We have always said the conflict can be resolved only by stages. At the first stage occupied Azeri territories shall be freed. They include seven districts around Nagorno-Karabakh. Refugees and resettled people shall return there. International guarantees shall ensure security of the population that lives and will live in the region. At the next stage the legal status of Nagorno-Karabakh shall be determined," Aliyev said.
"The status shall be defined in the framework of territorial integrity of Azerbaijan with a high degree of autonomy for the population of Nagorno-Karabakh, which has never been mono-ethnic like it is now," the president said.
Azerbaijan is working to intensify the negotiating process and hopes the new Armenian president will promote the settlement.
"There is a new leader in Armenia now. There is certain hope for a more constructive and realistic approach of Armenia to the issue. It is not only we who have the expectations, the intermediaries also have them," Aliyev said.