BAKU: Working visit of Aliyev to Belgium – Press conference

Azer Tag, Azerbaijan State Info Agency
May 18 2004

[May 18, 2004, 22:39:17]

Q. Why does not the European Union pay due attention to the existing
conflicts in the South Caucasus? What role can the European Union
play in settlement of the Nagorny Karabakh problem?

Romano Prodi. We have comprehensively discussed this problem from
simple to complex. We regret from existence of such conflict. In
general, our wish to see these three countries in the “neighborhood
policy” means that we do not want conflict among them. We shall do
our best to settle the conflicts. There is a special group engaged in
this question – the Minsk Group. We would not like to interfere with
their business. We do not want to worry them, but we shall make
pressure. It is because that they are engaged in this buy there is no
result. The European Union considers the question as urgent. Should
we be asked, appealed, we are at your disposal – of course, the
appeal related to intensification of settlement of the problem.

Q. Mr. Prodi, who must appeal related to your participation? Before
involvement of Armenia and Azerbaijan to the “neighborhood policy”,
how will you regard the statement of president Ilham Aliyev related
to peace way settlement of the Nagorny Karabakh conflict? Mr.
President Aliyev, What steps are expected to make after the latest
meetings connected with Nagorny Karabakh?

Romano Prodi. We have not touched the details. But I expressed our
wish that we are at disposal of both countries and can assist. We
cannot make any offer in this phase. Merely, we call the sides to
consensus and say that if we are asked we can help and this is a
positive step we make. This is our respect for political independence
of the counties in conflict and in their choice.

Ilham Aliyev. I think, meetings of the foreign ministers of
Azerbaijan and Armenia are necessary to continue peace dialogue.
Continuation of dialogue is a good indication. At the same time, we
always say, the talks can be continued in the case of existence of
subject of talks. If there is no topic on the agenda to be discussed,
we don’t think it is necessary to continue the talks only for talks
or for show. If there is a question to discuss, we shall be in the
negotiation process. I think that the meetings of foreign ministers
enable us to largely discuss the topic. We are of the opinion that
the talks should be continued and are hopeful that they would give

Q. The question is to Mr. Aliyev. Mr. Prodi said that if you ask, the
European Union would be engaged in the problem. When will you ask?

Ilham Aliyev. We have already appealed. We have once again appealed
in today’s meeting. Of course, we all should understand that the
Minsk Group has mandate from OSCE and nobody doubts in this mandate.
The MG is seeking possible way for peaceful settlement of the
conflict. At the same time, the European structures, European
organizations – the European Union, the Council of Europe, as well as
European public opinion can also join the process and have certain
impact for peaceful resolution to the problem. We never mean that any
structure will be alternative to the Minsk Group. We want large
international attention be rendered to this question. Thank you.