BAKU: Azeri FM calls for Russia’s “more active role” on Karabakh

Azeri foreign minister calls for Russia’s “more active role” on Karabakh

ITAR-TASS news agency
11 Apr 04

Baku, 11 April: Baku hopes for a more active role of Russia as one of
the three co-chairmen of the OSCE Minsk Group in settling the
Armenian-Azerbaijan conflict around Karabakh, Azerbaijan Foreign
Minister Elmar Mammadyarov said on Sunday [11 April] in an exclusive
interview with TASS.

“Our eyes are turned to Russia as one of the most important partners
in efforts for settling the Karabakh problem,” he emphasized. The
minister regards the establishment of peace as “the main factor of
stability in the South Caucasus”.

“It is very important that something should be done in this
direction,” Elmar Mammadyarov added, stressing that Azerbaijan is
dissatisfied with the approach of the co-chairmen of the Minsk Group
who suggest that the sides should come to agreement on their own,
promising to support any of their decisions.

“The conflict should be settled, since the situation of ‘neither war,
nor peace’ cannot go on under the precarious cease-fire regime,” he
said. Elmar Mammadyarov claimed that the unsettled nature of the
conflict is one of serious threats to stability in the region.

“The quicker it is settled, the more all profit from this: peoples,
politicians and the region as a whole,” the minister
underlined. According to Mammadyarov, the “achievement of peace will
give a natural impetus to the development of the entire South
Caucasus”. He said a solution to the conflict is a priority in the
activities of the country’s Foreign Ministry. “This is quite
understandable, since the Karabakh problem is the main headache for
Azerbaijan,” he continued.

Elmar Mammadyarov reported that he would meet the Russian, French and
American co-chairmen of the Minsk Group as well as Armenian Foreign
Minister Vardan Oskanyan in Prague on 16 April. “This will be a forum
of acquaintance and free discussion,” the minister added.

“Our stand is clear enough: Azerbaijan will never agree to
independence of Nagornyy Karabakh as well as to its accession to
Armenia,” the minister went on to say. He contended that all new
initiatives on a settlement should be within these principles.