BAKU: Azeri leader, OSCE chairman discuss Karabakh conflict

Azeri leader, OSCE chairman discuss Karabakh conflict

Azerbaijani TV Channel One, Baku
16 Mar 04

[Presenter] President Ilham Aliyev today received the visiting OSCE
chairman-in-office and Bulgaria’s foreign minister, Solomon
Passi. They exchanged views on Azerbaijan’s closer integration into
European organizations. Aliyev regretted that there was still no
progress in the activity of the OSCE Minsk Group which is tasked with
resolving the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagornyy

[Correspondent over video of the meeting] Aliyev and Passi met in
private first. They discussed Azerbaijan’s relations with the OSCE and
closer integration into other European organizations. Aliyev talked
about the political and economic reforms that are under way in
Azerbaijan. The social policy will continue, he said.

Aliyev told Passi that the Nagornyy Karabakh conflict between Armenia
and Azerbaijan remained unresolved. It is essential that the
international community should take more effective steps to resolve
the conflict, Aliyev said. It is possible to resolve the conflict
within international legal norms, Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity
and the return of Azerbaijani refugees to their native lands, he said.

Passi said that he highly rates Azerbaijan’s commitment to European
values. The world welcomes Azerbaijan’s course of integration and
democratic reforms. The European organizations understand the
importance of solving the Nagornyy Karabakh conflict between Armenia
and Azerbaijan for a lasting peace in the region. He said that he will
discuss ways to resolve the conflict during his upcoming visit to

The meeting between Aliyev and Passi continued in a broader
format. During the conversation, Aliyev said that Azerbaijan will
continue its policy of integration into international bodies. He
especially noted all the achievements Azerbaijan has made in every
sphere of life. Building a democratic society is Azerbaijan’s
strategic line, he said.

Aliyev once again drew Passi’s attention to the fact that the Nagornyy
Karabakh conflict still remained unresolved. Armenia’s nonconstructive
position is a threat to regional stability and stable development,
Aliyev said.

[Aliyev in Azeri] Unfortunately, due to Armenia’s nonconstructive
stance, the Armenian armed forces are unwilling to withdraw from the
occupied territories. Thus, this creates a big threat to the region as
a whole. In order to resolve the conflict, the principles of
international law have to be observed first of all. Only on the basis
of those principles, can the conflict be resolved, and the essence of
that is in ensuring the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, in
withdrawing the Armenian armed forces from the occupied territories
and returning refugees and internally displaced people to their native

We hope that the OSCE and its Minsk Group will continue their efforts,
and that the conflict will be soon resolved in a fair way and in
accordance with the principles of international law.

[Correspondent] Passi congratulated Aliyev on his election as
Azerbaijan’s president and on success in his work. I am visiting Baku
with pleasure, he said, respectfully noting that Azerbaijan has rich
history and cultural heritage.

Speaking about integration into Europe, Passi said that Azerbaijan’s
achievements in this regard are visible. The integration of Azerbaijan
and Bulgaria into the Euro-Atlantic community is becoming a reality,
he said. He is certain that closer integration will intensify in the
Black Sea basin and in the Caucasus. All possible assistance will be
rendered to Azerbaijan in every area, Passi said.

The Nagornyy Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan is a
truly serious problem. All we can do to resolve the conflict is to
speed up the talks, he said. Passi thanked Aliyev for his constructive
position and said that he will talk about his impressions in Yerevan.