BAKU: Azeris insist on return of occupied districts in exchange for

Azeris insist on return of occupied districts in exchange for opening railway

Azad Azarbaycan TV, Baku
15 May 04

[Presenter Namiq Aliyev] The sides only exchanged ideas at the
Strasbourg meeting of the Azerbaijani and Armenian foreign ministers,
and the co-chairmen [of the OSCE Minsk Group] did not voice specific
proposals, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov has
said. According to him, the reopening of the Baku-Naxcivan-Yerevan
railway in return for the liberation of the seven occupied lands will
be the main subject of the talks in the future as well.

[Correspondent over video of Mammadyarov speaking to microphone]
Despite the Yerevan government’s denial, the liberation of the seven
districts under Armenian occupation was discussed at the Strasbourg
meeting of the Azerbaijani and Armenian foreign ministers, Mammadyarov
said in an exclusive interview with Azad Azarbaycan TV on his return
from the Strasbourg meeting. We should recall that Armenian Foreign
Minister Vardan Oskanyan had denied that the issue of the seven
districts was discussed and had described this subject as absurd. But
Mr Mammadyarov said that this issue, which was discussed in Strasbourg,
would be included in the agenda of the future talks as well.

[Mammadyarov] You are aware of Azerbaijan’s position on the railway
and the seven districts. We, the Azerbaijani side, will always put it
forward as an idea. Well, this is Azerbaijan’s idea. The Armenian side
expressed its idea as well. The co-chairmen expressed their ideas as
well. We think that this exchange of ideas is to be continued at the
next meetings.

[Correspondent] Describing the Strasbourg talks as useful on the whole,
Mammadyarov did not reveal the details of the meeting. According to
him, the sides agreed to keep the results in secret.

[Mammadyarov] We had a very useful exchange of ideas at the meeting
and agreed to continue these meetings. For the time being, this is the
only thing I can say, because we decided to continue these meetings
and exchange any ideas in a confidential way.

[Correspondent] Mr Mammadyarov added that after submitting a report to
President Ilham Aliyev about the Strasbourg meeting, he could answer
specific questions. We should recall that the co-chairmen of the OSCE
Minsk Group attended the talks as well. As for the new proposals on
the settlement of the Nagornyy Karabakh conflict, Mr Mammadyarov said
that all this was only an idea so far.

[Mammadyarov] I would not say that they were in the form of new
proposals. All this is an exchange of ideas. At the moment, we,
each side, express our own opinions. The time will show which ideas
will turn into proposals in the future.

[Correspondent] The sides also discussed a meeting between the
Azerbaijani and Armenian presidents in Astana. According to
Mammadyarov, if the heads of state’s schedule makes it possible,
their meeting will take place this autumn.

Rasad Huseynov, Bahruz Maharramov and Ziyad Aliyev for “Son Xabar”.