Baku, Azerbaijan, Dec. 11
By Emil Ismayilov - Trend:
Once Turkey closed its border with Armenia, two reasons were given. First due to Armenia's territorial claims against Turkey and second in connection with the occupation of Azerbaijani lands by Armenia, Azerbaijani Deputy Foreign Minister Khalaf Khalafov told media today.
He was commenting on a Turkish media publication about the possibility of reopening the Armenian-Turkish border in exchange for liberating two occupied regions of Azerbaijan.
"If we consider this issue today, we will see that nothing has changed," Khalafov said. "That is, Armenia's hostile attitude toward Turkey has not changed. Armenia has not refused from open territorial claims toward Turkey or from claims for "recognition" of the "Armenian genocide" in the global scale. Moreover, the occupation of Azerbaijani lands is underway. The negotiations, held in this area, do not bring any results."
"These problems have not been resolved because of Armenia's lack of constructive position in this issue," he said. "Armenia is not ready for a settlement. The reason for lack of progress in the peace process is the lack of Armenia's resolve and in particular, the political will.
Regarding the media information about Turkey's requirement for Armenia to return the two occupied regions of Azerbaijan, Khalafov said that Azerbaijan's position in the negotiations is clear.
Khalafov said that the OSCE Minsk Group and other international organisations must support this problematic settlement.
"The co-chairmen must try to finish their mission," Khalafov said.
"This means that they must force Armenia to the peace table, refrain from its aggressive policy and return Azerbaijan's occupied lands," he said. "Afterwards, we can talk about the peace process and its progress."
"Azerbaijan believes that Armenian-Turkish relations are Turkey's internal affair," he said.
"We do not interfere in this issue," he said. "Turkey makes its own decisions on how to establish relations with Armenia. We are fully confident that if Armenia is located in our region and adopts an aggressive policy, it bears an international responsibility for this.
"Other neighbouring countries must not remain indifferent. They must express their attitude to the predatory, aggressive policy of Armenia. We believe that Iran and Russia must also exert pressure on Armenia because the main cause of violating peace and stability in the region today is Armenia's policy."
"A new approach must be demonstrated on the international plan, especially by the three countries of France, Russia and the U.S, which had taken an intermediary mission in the OSCE," Khalafov said. "Action must be taken to promote this process."
Turkey and Armenia have no diplomatic relations. The border has been closed since 1993. The reason was Armenia's claims for international recognition of the so-called 'genocide' and occupation of Azerbaijani territories by Armenian armed forces.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan.
Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 per cent of Azerbaijan since 1992, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.
Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Russia, France and the U.S. are currently holding peace negotiations.
Armenia has not yet implemented the U.N. Security Council's four resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding regions.
Translated by NH
Edited by SM