Deputy FM: Azerbaijan welcomes Turkey's co-chairmanship in OSCE Minsk Group (UPDATE)
Details were added.
Azerbaijan, Baku, May 13 /Trend, E.Ostapenko/
Azerbaijan could only welcome Turkey's co-chairmanship in the OSCE Minsk Group, deputy foreign minister of Azerbaijan Araz Azimov told reporters.
"The Institute of co-chairs is not permanent. At first, the co-chair of the Minsk Group was only one state. From 1994 to 1996 there were two, and since 1997 co-chairmanship has been continuing in the format of three countries, Azimov said. If the format has expanded to the co-chairs of the three countries, then it can take the format of four countries".
The question of Turkey's co-chairmanship in the Minsk Group, which is a mediator in the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement, has been discussed for long. During his recent visit to Turkey, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev stated the intention of Moscow to, together with Turkey, promote stability in the Caucasus region, and in particular the solution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
"To do this, first of all, Turkey must officially express its desire and conduct discussions on this issue with other co-chairs of the Minsk Group," said Azimov.
According to him, Turkey's co-chairmanship is possible only due to a consensus on this issue.
The Minsk Group currently exists in the format of three countries - France, Russia and the U.S, and has been conducting peace talks to resolve the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict since May 1994, when the sides reached a cease-fire agreement.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan since 1992, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and 7 surrounding districts.
Azimov said that Turkey's co-chairmanship to the Minsk Group would be an important factor for Azerbaijan.
"Turkey recognizes and supports the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and has positioned itself as the strongest supporter of solving the problem taking into account the above principles," said Azimov.
The deputy minister mentioned the stagnation in the negotiations on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement, which has been observed after a meeting of presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia in Sochi in January.
"After the meeting of presidents in Sochi, because of the position of Armenian president, stagnation took place in the negotiations, and discussions and meetings do not continue as planned," said Azimov.
Despite the adequate attention of the Minsk Group towards the negotiation process, the negotiations get stuck due to non-constructive position taken by the Armenian side. "To achieve a breakthrough, Armenia's position must change," said Azimov.
Azerbaijan's constructive position is that Azerbaijan considers that until the determination of the final status, the sides could temporarily come to an agreement on the status of communities, because there are both Azerbaijani and Armenian communities in Nagorno-Karabakh," Azimov said. Human rights, freedom of movement should be provided for both communities.
According to Asimov, the Azerbaijani government is ready to start economic activities in the territory of Karabakh, but for this, the lands should be released, the roads should be opened, communications should be restored.
"The Armenian community should have a temporary legal status so that the Azerbaijani government could cooperate with them, he said. The Azerbaijani community, belonging to this region, should also have the same rights."