ONLY RETURN OF ALL OCCUPIED TERRITORIES BACK TO AZERBAIJAN WILL HELP RESTORE OUR TRUST AND CONFIDENCE IN ARMENIA - AZERI FM

Only the return of all the occupied territories back to Azerbaijan will help restore our trust and confidence in Armenia and its declared intentions on the establishment of good neighborly relations with Azerbaijan.

There should be no place for illusions: Azerbaijan will never compromise its territorial integrity, Elmar Mammadyarov

Minister of Foreign Affairs, said in his statement to the General Debate of the 60th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York on 18 September 2005.

Since accession of Azerbaijan to the United Nations, this Organization has been closely associated in our society with the hopes for liberation of the territories of Azerbaijan occupied by Armenia.

Although the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe is strongly involved in the settlement process, prompt reaction of the United Nations Security

Council in response to the occupation of the territories of Azerbaijan and adoption of four
resolutions 822, 853, 874 and 884 still generates optimism for peaceful settlement of the conflict in and around the Nagorno-Karabakh region of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

The principles unanimously adopted by the Security Council in those resolutions continue to be the basis for the settlement of the conflict.

Last year consideration by the General Assembly of the agenda item entitled "The situation in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan" played a crucial role in attracting attention to the dangerous practices carried out by Armenia in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan.

“As for the negotiation process itself, I must admit that we are now at a critical juncture
where the chances for resolution of the conflict are cautiously optimistic.

The Government of Azerbaijan remains committed to the peaceful settlement of this protracted conflict, based on the respect for the norms and principles of international law,
the implementation of the relevant Security Council resolutions and the OSCE documents
and decisions.

We expect that the Armenian side will proceed from the similar constructive approach and will not miss this window of opportunity,” he stressed.

В"Such a step will relieve the Government of Armenia from a label of aggressor inherited after occupation of the territories of Azerbaijan and will provide for both parties the opportunities to be brought by the settlement of the conflict,” he underlined.

He reiterated Azerbaijan’s readiness for providing the security assurances for the Armenian population of the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan.

“As for the status of the region, it is necessary to create favorable conditions for the secure and dignified return of the expelled Azerbaijani population to the Nagomo-Karabakh region and other occupied territories, to establish there normal living conditions and to provide opportunities for economic development for both communities,” the Minister emphasized. .

Once the agreement is achieved, both for political and legal guarantees of its
implementation we will need the support of the international community for the deployment of the multinational peacekeeping forces, demining, restoration of communications, rehabilitation of lands, as well as the provision of security guarantees for the population in the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan, including the creation of local police forces in the region for both Armenian and Azerbaijani communities.

Last, but not least point on the conflict resolution. It is the issue of communication of the Armenians living in the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan with Armenia and that
of the Azerbaijanis living in the Nakhchivan region of Azerbaijan with the rest of the
country.

В"From this high rostrum, after the recent meeting of the Presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia held in Kazan on August 26 2005, I urge the Armenian not to loose this chance and to advance the negotiation process with the assistance of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-chairmen in accordance with the mutual understandings reached with in the Prague process,” Mammadyarov underscored.

Mammadyarov is to be back on Tuesday.

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