Armenia Should Change Its Position: Deputy FM


Nov 19 2009

The Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents will meet in the coming days.

Azerbaijan expects to discuss major issues and changes in Armenia’s
position since the last meeting, Deputy Foreign Minister Araz Azimov
said in at press conference today.

"Azerbaijan leaves room for compromise," he said. "We are now standing
on the middle of a bridge and we expect Armenia will have also traveled
part of the way. One can not talk about progress on the issue without
compromises from the Armenian side."

Azerbaijan’s position is clear – "resolving the conflict within its
territorial integrity," Azimov added.

"This position is supported by the international community, which
is based on international principles and norms and there cannot be a
matter of double standards," he said. "Although Armenia talks about
willingness for a peaceful settlement, we see no action."

Baku sees no compliance with international principles and standards
in Armenia’s position, the deputy foreign minister said.

The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988
when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Armenian
armed forces have occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan since 1992,
including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and 7 surrounding districts.

Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The
co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group – Russia, France, and the U.S. –
are currently holding the peace negotiations.

According to Azimov, the liberation of the occupied Azerbaijani
territories is a major component of the negotiations between the

Nagorno-Karabakh and seven occupied districts are an integral part of
Azerbaijan and this is not a matter of discussion, the deputy minister
said. According to Azimov, the release of the seven districts has
always been a key principle of Azerbaijan’s position.

"Armenia has only two options – either the conflict will not be
resolved or the status of Nagorno-Karabakh will be determined after
Azerbaijani refugees return to the occupied territories," he said.

According to the official, "until everything is agreed, nothing is
agreed." Although discussions will continue, everything has a limit,
he said.