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Azeri Official Says Armenia Should Use the Opportunity

Azerbaijani Deputy Foreign Minister Araz Azimov has held a press conference devoted to results of visit of OSCE MG co- chairmen to Azerbaijan and Armenia on Monday.

He said co-chairmen’s meetings in Baku were “effective and fruitful.” “All elements and questions have been discussed,” added Azimov. But he said that “negotiations were rather difficult and complicated.”

“I can’t say that agreements have been reached. At all the meetings Azerbaijan has demonstrated a constructive position. Armenia also should occupy a constructive position, otherwise all opportunities will be missed,” said Azimov.

“In the past time Armenia uses many disputes and speculations. Peace agreement, which is in the interests of only one side, is impossible,” said Azeri Deputy Foreign Minister.

He said Armenian and Azerbaijan Foreign Ministers are expected to meet in Moscow on August 23 to prepare for the meeting of the two countries’ presidents, which is scheduled to be held on August 26 in Kazan. Azimov said Armenia tries to bring “new elements,” which are not subject of the talks, in the negotiations. “There are great chances to achieve peace right now and the opposing party can lose them. I urge Armenia to use this chance,” said Azimov, but he did not go into details.

Asked about arisen difficulties, Azimov answered: “Azerbaijani territories must be given back. Armenia must not claim to Azerbaijani territories under the pretext of the corridor. Armenia can use the road passing through the Lachin corridor. But Lachin city cannot remain under occupation.”

He also expressed his opinion on the Nagorno Karabakh status. He added that this question could be resolved only through joint efforts of Armenian and Azerbaijani communities of Nagorno Karabakh.

“At present part of people living in Nagorno Karabakh are Armenians, who arrived from abroad. Local Armenians are Azerbaijani citizens and Azerbaijanis must determine their status by themselves. For this purpose Azerbaijani population must return to the liberated territories and economic relationships and mutual confidence must be restored,” said Azimov.

He refuted information about liberation of only five occupied regions around Karabakh earlier disseminated in media. Now the question of seven occupied regions is under discussion. But it’s too early to speak about any agreement, said Azeri Deputy Foreign Minister.

Azimov also refuted information about the forthcoming referendum in Karabakh. “Referendum is not a subject of talks. We are ready to any cooperation within the framework of Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity. According to Azerbaijani Constitution, referendum must be only national,” said Azimov.

Opening of Aghdam-Khankendi-Shusha-Lachin-Sisian-Shakhbuz road will help to improve relationships and restore cooperation and confidence between people. MG co-chairmen support Azerbaijan in this question. Turkey is also ready to open communications, now it’s up to Armenia to decide, said Azimov.

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