BAKU: Aliyev Urges MG Co-chairs to Mediate, Not To Observe Talks

Baku Today, Azerbaijan
May 8 2004

Aliyev Urges Minsk Group Co-chairs to Mediate, Not To Observe Talks

Co-chairmen of the Minsk group of the Organization for Security and
Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) have to display that they are really
mediating the talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan, President Ilham
Aliyev told reporters on Friday.
Expressing dissatisfaction over the co-chairs’ activities, Aliyev
said `they have to stop just observing the talks.’
The Minsk group was set up in March 1992, and its co-chairmen
representing the United States, France and Russia have failed in
their activities to find a peaceful settlement to the 16-year-old
conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

President Aliyev reiterated his government’s position that the
chances for resolving the conflict by peaceful means have not been
exhausted yet.

In regard to the status of Nagorno-Karabakh – a mainly
ethnic-Armenian populated region within Azerbaijan – Aliyev said that
all the internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Azerbaijan’s
occupied territories should be returned to their homes first, and
then the status issue could be discussed.

Armenia occupied former autonomous Nagorno-Karabakh region and also
seven Azerbaijani districts in 1991-94 war, forcing over 700,000
Azerbaijanis to leave their homes. Despite an armistice signed in May
1994, no final solution has been achieved to the conflict between the
two countries.