Head of Azeri PACE delegation says Karabakh talks to go on – Armenia

Head of Azeri PACE delegation says Karabakh talks to go on – Armenian paper

Aykakan Zhamanak, Yerevan
19 May 04

The head of the Azerbaijani delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of
the Council of Europe (PACE), Samed Seidov, comments on the Karabakh
issue. He underlines Azerbaijan’s commitment to the peace process,
which he believes has not yet been exhausted. Following is the text
of a Naira Zograbyan report by the Armenian newspaper Aykakan Zhamanak
on 19 May

[Aykakan Zhamanak correspondent] Mr Seidov, the Armenian and Azeri
president met 16 or 17 times. How much do those meetings promote to
peaceful settlement of the Karabakh issue?

[Samed Seidov] These talks between the two presidents continue,
the presidents continue to negotiate and I am sure they are still
necessary. As for their promotion to move settlement of the issue
from a zero state, I think that only the presidents of Armenia and
Azerbaijan can answer this question. You know that the OSCE Minsk
Group is working in the direction of the Karabakh issue settlement,
and unfortunately I should say that the Minsk Group is not active in
drawing out new proposals and submitting them to the parties. For this
reason the Azerbaijani party thinks that the talks between Armenia
and Azerbaijan should continue.

[Correspondent] Mr Seidov, it is obvious that the Karabakh issue
may be settled only by means of compromises. What is the limit of
compromises which Azerbaijan will never cross?

[Seidov] Certainly, that limit is the international norm on territorial
integrity. Azerbaijan will never agree to lose Karabakh.

[Correspondent] But one should not also forget another international
norm – the right of nations to self-determination.

[Seidov] Armenia used its right on self-determination having gained a
firm hold of its territory. We think that the Karabakh conflict should
be settled only within the framework of the territorial integrity
principle. If we act according to your logic, it is not ruled out
that tomorrow the Armenian Diaspora, let us say, of Krasnodar or
Georgia will raise a problem about self-determination. I think
it is not serious. Finally, one should admit that the conflict is
between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Of course, there are still European
countries which do not know all the details of the Karabakh conflict,
for this reason Armenia can submit to them that the conflict is between
Azerbaijan and Karabakh. But reality is different. Both Armenia and
Azerbaijan understand very well that the conflict is between Armenia
and Azerbaijan because the Armenian troops occupied Azerbaijani
territories. Finally these territories will be undoubtedly liberated.

[Correspondent] How do you imagine liberation of the territories?

[Seidov] We still prefer peaceful talks and a peaceful settlement
to the conflict. We hope that Armenia is also for a peaceful
settlement. The Azerbaijani party thinks that the resource of peaceful
talks should be used to the end. But naturally Azerbaijan will never
agree to the territories remaining occupied forever.

[Correspondent] You speak of a peaceful settlement of the issue, but
some top officials of Azerbaijan, including President Ilham Aliyev,
make open statements about the settlement of the Karabakh issue by war.

[Seidov] The talks continue, and I think that both Armenia and
Azerbaijan need them so that peaceful settlement of the Karabakh
issue becomes possible. Today let us still talk about the peaceful
methods of settling of the conflict. Azerbaijan still thinks that
the potential of a peaceful settlement to the conflict has not been
exhausted yet, but it is not inexhaustible either.

[Correspondent] Mr Seidov, let us again touch on the announcement
of the Azerbaijani party on peaceful settlement of the issue. Do
you think that the murder of the Armenian officer in Budapest is a
normal pre-condition in the sense of promoting a peaceful settlement
of the issue?

[Seidov] You should not speak of this event so much, this is just
an incident, a bad incident, which by the way happened because
the conflict has not been settled yet. It is strange for me that a
representative of the Armenian delegation in Strasbourg Armen Rustamyan
made a speech and spoke about the genetic incompatibility of the
Armenians and Azeris. How can one speak about such incompatibility in
the 21st century? I accept what happened is a big tragedy, but it is
unacceptable to politicize it and speak about genetic incompatibility,
because the next step is fascism.

[Correspondent] Let us again touch on the bellicose statements of the
Azerbaijani party. Why is Azerbaijan sure that it will win if the issue
is transferred from the field of peace to the field of battle actions?

[Seidov] I repeat once again, we should negotiate as the peaceful
methods of the negotiations have not been exhausted yet. As for
the rest of the options for settlement of the conflict, let us talk
about them when it is registered that the negotiating process has
been exhausted.