RF ready to continue contribution to Karabakh settlement – Russia FM

March 15 2008

RF ready to continue contribution to Karabakh settlement – FM

15.03.2008, 17.58

MOSCOW, March 15 (Itar-Tass) – Russia is ready to continue active
contribution within the OSCE Minsk Group for Nagorno-Karabakh in
order to ensure stability and calm in Nagorno-Karabakh, the Foreign
Ministry reported on Saturday.

Commenting on the results of the Friday’s voting on the U.N.
resolution on the situation in the occupied territories of
Azerbaijan, the ministry said Russia jointly with France and the
United States `is ready to continue active efforts within the
framework of the OSCE Minsk Group in order to complete coordinating
basic principles of the settlement of the conflict between Armenia
and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh.’

The resolution was supported by 39 countries, the member-states of
GUAM (Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine) and the
member-countries of the Organisations of Islamic Conference.
Member-countries of the OSCE Minsk Group – Russia, France and the
United States, as well as Armenia, and some other states voted
against the document. Over 100 countries abstained and many states
did not take part in the voting. `In their joint statement on the
motives of the voting they reasoned that Azerbaijan’s step is
unilateral, untimely and counter-productive. Azerbaijan has been
informed about the Minsk Group position in this aspect,’ the ministry

`In particular, the draft resolution includes some of the basic
principles of the settlement that only respond to the interests of
Azerbaijan. For example, the final legal status of Nagorno-Karabakh
has not been mentioned. There is no information on ways to determine
the legal status of Nagorno-Karabakh by a plebiscite or by free will
of the population,’ the ministry explained.

`Such approach is unacceptable for Armenia and has aggravated
prospects for the soonest resumption of the Armenian-Azerbaijani
talks on the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement after the new Armenian
president took office,’ the Russian ministry stressed.

Azerbaijan expressed dissatisfaction with the OSCE Minsk Group
position on the voting on the U.N. General Assembly resolution on
Nagorno-Karabakh. The Friday’s U.N. resolution on the situation on
Azerbaijan’s occupied territories `is an important document and
should be considered a principled base for the settlement of the
Karabakh conflict’, Azerbaijani Deputy Foreign Minister Araz Azimov

The high-ranking Azerbaijani official who is presidential special
envoy for the settlement of the conflict stressed that during
discussions, `Azerbaijan faced resistance, including from the
co-chairmen of the OSCE Minsk Group for Nagorno-Karabakh – Russia,
France and the United States.’ Azimov explained this by their
unwillingness `to lose the leading role in the settlement of the

The deputy minister exposed Baku’s categorical position. In his
words, `the talks can’t continue in the dark on the base of the
priorities set up by the mediators and their pledges, which are not
always right.’

`They (the co-chairmen) can’t doubt that we’ll work further on the
base of our position supported by the U.N. General Assembly,’ Azimov
said. He disagreed with the co-chairmen’s statements saying the
resolution was aimed against the balanced package of mediators’

In his view, `the co-chairmen’s proposals can’t be considered
balanced because they don’t involve plans on the liberation of
Kelbajar and Lachi districts in the west of Azerbaijan that border
Armenia in the south-west and on the return of Azeris to

Azimov recalled that the three co-chairmen of the Minsk Group had
been elected in 1997 under difficult conditions. In his words, `it
can be changed under certain circumstances.’ `The co-chairmen should
realise that they are not monopolists and that there are other
countries in the Minsk Group,’ the deputy minister stressed.

Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanyan said the majority of U.N.
member-states refuted a unilateral approach towards settling the
Karabakh conflict. `The majority of U.N. member-countries rejected a
unilateral approach’ towards settling the Karabakh conflict.

The minister said the purpose of the draft resolution `is to provide
international support for Azerbaijan’s position on the Karabakh

He hopes that the results of the voting at the U.N. General Assembly
`will give Azerbaijan a clear signal’. The Armenian minister said he
showed interest in Azerbaijan’s next steps in this aspect – `if it
agrees to continue talks in order to search for a compromise’.

Oskanyan confirmed that newly elected president Serzh Sarkisyan `is
ready to meet Azerbaijani President Ilkham Aliyev at the earliest
opportunity whether the Minsk Group co-chairmen put forth such
proposal and whether Azerbaijan agrees’. `There is such an
opportunity and now it’s Azerbaijan’s turn,’ the Armenian minister