BAKU: Azeri Official Blasts Minsk Group Co-Chairs Over ‘Misinformati


AzerNews Weekly
May 13 2009

An Azerbaijani official has strongly criticized the OSCE Minsk Group
(MG) co-chairs brokering settlement to the Armenia-Azerbaijan Upper
Garabagh conflict, blaming them for spreading false information about
the current state of peace talks.

Novruz Mammadov, head of the President’s Office international relations
department, said Yerevan was very non-constructive during the last
meeting of Presidents Ilham Aliyev and Serzh Sarkisian held in Prague
on May 7.

"The Armenian side was unwilling to take even a step toward a
conflict settlement and once again demonstrated that it had claims
to Azerbaijani territories. Nonetheless, despite the lack of mutual
agreement, the co-chairs issued a statement supporting the position of
the Armenian leader, and, it turns out, that of their own, without any
prior consultations with the Azerbaijani president. Providing erroneous
information to the US president and secretary of state, and the leaders
of other states, they indicated that peace talks are allegedly going
very well and the positions of the sides are drawing closer."

Following the Aliyev-Sarkisian meeting in the Czech capital, the MG
co-chairs issued a joint statement claiming "significant progress"
had been achieved in Garabagh settlement.

"We don’t understand what the purpose of saying all this is," Mammadov
continued. "It seems to me that all this once again shows that bias
toward aggressor Armenia persists and the process of defending its
interests continues. On the other hand, the co-chairs are interested
in this process stalling, for them to come and go on official trips
and fulfill their duties, as if this is their career. Or else,
it could be that Mathew Bryza [the US MG co-chairman], himself,
has an interest in advancing his career, his job, and so forth,
by misinforming Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. That’s the only
presumption that comes to my mind," Mammadov concluded.

Azerbaijan and Armenia have been locked in conflict for nearly two
decades. The MG, co-chaired by the United States, Russia and France,
is brokering the peace process. Peace talks kicked off after a lengthy
war that ended with the signing of a cease-fire in 1994, but have
brought little tangible result so far. Armenia continues to occupy
Upper Garabagh and seven other Azerbaijani districts in defiance of
international law.*