Azeri leader rules out concessions over Karabakh

Azeri leader rules out concessions over Karabakh

ANS TV, Baku
19 May 04

[Presenter] Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s official visit to
Belgium is continuing. Aliyev will meet NATO Secretary-General Jaap
de Hoop Scheffer today. ANS’s special correspondent, Qanira Pasayeva,
is joining Xabarci [news programme] now. Good afternoon, Qanira. We
can hear you.

[Correspondent, on the phone] President Ilham Aliyev had a working
breakfast organized by the European Politics Centre. His speech,
questions and answers were focused on the Nagornyy Karabakh
problem. Aliyev said that the Armenian armed forces on the
occupied territories of Azerbaijan were a source of instability
in the region and that the territories were being used for illegal
activities. For this reason, the Armenian armed forces should withdraw,
and Azerbaijan will not give up this principled position. Asked
about possible compromises, the president said that no compromises
would be made. Because the current situation in the conflict and
international legal norms urge the liberation of [Azerbaijan’s]
occupied areas. According to the president, today we talk about
integration into the European Union. But one European country, which is
a Council of Europe member, is keeping under occupation the territory
of another European country.

The president also touched on regional cooperation. He said that the
main reason for Armenia being on the sidelines of regional projects
was that it was keeping Azerbaijani territories under occupation. The
president also responded to questions about the 15-16 October events
[post-election riots in Baku in 2003] and freedom of the press. The
president said there was no press censorship and the press did not
have any serious problems.

We call on the opposition to hold discussions at the negotiating table,
not in the streets, the president said. He added that he had offered
them dialogue a few times. However, his offer has received no response.

The president then met Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych. In
an exclusive interview with ANS after the meeting, Yanukovych said
they had discussed some issues of reviving economic ties between
Ukraine and Azerbaijan and that they had no problems in the political
sphere. Moreover, the sides touched on the issues to be discussed
during Ilham Aliyev’s official visit to Ukraine in early June. Asked
if they had discussed the Odessa-Brody oil project, Yanukovych said
that he would express his official stance before Ilham Aliyev’s visit
in June. [Sentence indistinct] That’s it, Leyla.

[Presenter] Thank you, Qanira.