Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev characterized the year of 2009 as positive in term of settlement of the Armenian -Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, but saying it was "less positive than it might be."
"There is proximity in some positions, while there are disagreements on others," Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev told Russian television channel Vesti.
Aliyev said even in 2008 the Azerbaijani and Armenian presidents held talks. A joint declaration on the way of solution to Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was signed with the participation of the Russian Federation.
"The document clearly indicated that the conflict should be solved on the basis of international law, decisions and resolutions of international organizations. There are four resolutions of the UN Security Council, demanding urgent withdrawal of Armenian occupation forces from the Azerbaijani territory. They have not been implemented for over 20 years," the Azerbaijani president said.
According to President Aliyev it is important to restore the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, to deoccupy Azerbaijani lands and to achieve repatriation of refugees and internally displaced people. "Unfortunately, hopes for 2009 did not justify themselves to the extent which we expected. The joint declaration of the presidents of Azerbaijan, Russia and Armenia was a very significant event, and it became the first after the signing of a ceasefire agreement in 1994. There were hopes to solve the dispute in 2009, even to solve the basic principles. However, they did not justify themselves, and not by our guilt," the Azerbaijani president said.
President Aliyev said there is certain optimistic mood for 2010, because the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has become one of the central issues in the international agenda.
"It became clear to many - those who did not understand it perfectly - it will be impossible to solve any regional problem without regulating the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict. We believe we will succeed to coordinate major positions in 2010, but we are strongly against making permanent the negotiation process," the president underscored.
According to Ilham Aliyev, talks to solve the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute have been held since 1992, when the OSCE Minsk Group was established. "A ceasefire agreement was concluded in 1994. Although 15 years have past, still there is no result. Therefore, we cannot allow the process to become frozen namely in the literary meaning of this word," Aliyev stated.