Azeri leader favours step-by-step solution to Karabakh
Media-Press news agency
30 Apr 04
Azerbaijan will never accept the loss of Armenian-occupied Nagornyy
Karabakh, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said addressing the
spring session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
[PACE] in Strasbourg. The president said that apart from Nagornyy
Karabakh, which “was and remains a constituent part of Azerbaijan”,
Armenia had also occupied some other Azerbaijani districts. He said he
favoured the step-by-step settlement of the conflict with Armenia. The
first step in this settlement could be “the withdrawal of Armenian
troops from seven occupied districts of Azerbaijan” which is not part
of Nagornyy Karabakh, he said.
Aliyev said that such an initiative could be a vital step towards the
building of confidence. This idea has already been discussed at the
European Parliament and other European institutions and has received
their approval, he said.
[Passage omitted: reported details]
Touching on the mediation of the OSCE Minsk Group to settle the
Nagornyy Karabakh conflict at a press conference after his speech at
the PACE session, Aliyev stressed that Russia, the USA and France,
being the co-chairmen of the Minsk Group, ought to play “their
specific role”. “We hope that they will all step up their efforts in
this direction,” he said.
Russia plays a particular role in the Minsk Group, Aliyev said, adding
that this was not only because of its geographical position. Russia
maintains good relations both with Azerbaijan and Armenia, and Moscow
is proficient in mediating conflicts.
[Passage omitted: PACE drafting report on Armenian-Azerbaijani