BAKU: Baku Urges Moscow To Step Up Conflict Settlement Efforts

BAKU URGES MOSCOW TO STEP UP CONFLICT SETTLEMENT EFFORTS

AzerNews Weekly
April 29 2009
Azerbaijan

An Azerbaijani official has said the nature of his country`s relations
with Russia requires strong efforts from Moscow in settling the
Armenia-Azerbaijan Upper (Nagorno) Garabagh conflict.

Asked whether the expected sales of Azerbaijani gas to Russian
giant Gazprom could be used as a card in Garabagh settlement,
Novruz Mammadov, head of the international relations department at
the President`s Office, told a local TV channel that the issue is
instead of a geo-political magnitude.

"Supplying gas to this country is part of Azerbaijan-Russia
relations. The relations between the two countries are
comprehensive. We are maintaining political, economic, humanitarian,
scientific and cultural ties. All these relations demand the Russian
leadership to be sensitive in the resolution of the Garabagh conflict."

Baku-Moscow ties have gained momentum in the past few
weeks. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, who visited the Russian
capital earlier this month, described Russia as Azerbaijan`s strategic
ally.

Russia co-chairs the OSCE Minsk Group brokering the peace process,
along with the United States and France.

As for indignation of the United States over Russia`s increasing role
in the Garabagh settlement, Mammadov conveyed Baku`s message to other
superpowers as well.

"It would be better if, instead of indignation, they would put forth
a strong will for a fair solution to the conflict. We are expecting
resolute steps toward conflict settlement from the U.S., France and
other countries. If we take into account what US President Barack
Obama said regarding the conflict during his visit to Turkey in
early April, a conclusion can be made that Washington, on its end,
will work harder to resolve the problem."

Meanwhile, Vladimir Dorokhin, the Russian ambassador in Baku, said
Russia is the only country contributing to a negotiated Garabagh
settlement through the OSCE Minsk Group on the presidential level. He
added that Moscow is ready to act as a guarantor in the conflict
resolution at any time if it receives such a request from Baku.

Dorokhin emphasized that Russia has always supported Azerbaijan`s
territorial integrity, saying that Moscow`s stance within the Minsk
Group was simple and comprehensible.

"Talks on resolving the Garabagh conflict are underway between
Azerbaijan and Armenia. Russia is merely a mediator. We will support
any decision to be passed by the conflicting sides," the ambassador
said.

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