BAKU: Azerbaijan unhappy with US visitors’ Karabakh remarks

Azerbaijan unhappy with US visitors’ Karabakh remarks

Ekho, Baku
29 Oct 04

“I do not understand why Nagornyy Karabakh does not take part in talks
(on a settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict – author),”
Regnum news agency has quoted the leader of the Project on Transitional
Democracies and director of the NATO Committee of the US Senate,
Bruce Jackson, as saying.

Earlier this week a delegation of MPs from Europe and the USA led by
Jackson held a number of meetings during a visit to Azerbaijan.

[Passage omitted: the delegation visited Azerbaijan, Armenia and
Nagornyy Karabakh; French MP admires combat readiness and cohesion
of the Karabakh army]

“We, obviously, knew nothing about this position of the members of
the delegation,” the head of the public and political department of
the Azerbaijani Presidential Executive Staff, Ali Hasanov, has told
Ekho newspaper. He said that during the delegation’s visit to Baku
the sides had discussed the development of democracy in the region and
the whole world. In addition, the meetings focused on the settlement
of conflicts in line with international legal norms.

“But, regrettably, we have to say that these people changed their
position to a certain extent following their visits to Yerevan and
Nagornyy Karabakh,” Ali Hasanov said and added that Azerbaijan had
its own arguments with regard to “Karabakh’s non-involvement in the
settlement”. He added that Karabakh was not a party [to the conflict],
but Armenia was.

In addition, Armenia does not deny the fact of its involvement in
the occupation of the Azerbaijani territories. “The Baku-Xankandi
[Stepanakert] talks will only be possible if Armenia steps aside in
favour of Nagornyy Karabakh and recognizes that the conflict is an
internal affair between the latter and the Azerbaijani Republic and it
is up to them [to solve it], as well as withdraws its occupying troops,
stops backing the separatists on the international arena and repeals
a decision of the Armenian parliament on Karabakh’s annexation,”
Ali Hasanov said.

“Only then can we start the talks with our citizens in Nagornyy
Karabakh. But, regrettably, Azerbaijan is currently in conflict with
Armenia, but not Nagornyy Karabakh. That is why, Nagornyy Karabakh’s
involvement in the talks is inadmissible.”

At the same time, the Azerbaijani side is always ready to consider
every possible aspect which can help settle the conflict, Ali Hasanov
pointed out.

[Passage omitted: Azerbaijan may re-consider its attitude to members
of the delegation, if Jackson’s statement is not Armenians’ hoax]