Azeri Minister Comments on Ter PEtrosyan News Conference

BAKU (Itar-Tass)–Levon Ter-Petrosyan has come to a more realistic understanding of the settlement of the Armenian-Azeri conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh–Azeri Foreign Minister Hassan Hassanov said.

He commented on Tuesday on the Armenian official’s recent statement and his support for a gradual solution of the complicated problem. The statement was circulated last Sunday by a number of Baku newspapers.

The minister told journalists he felt positive about such an approach and especially Ter-Petrosyan’s statement which admitted that the international community would not allow Karabakh to proclaim independence and eventually annex it to Armenia or even resume combat operations in the conflict zone.

The minister believes that a change in the stance of the Armenian leadership is caused by an active foreign policy of Azerbaijan and its ability to inform the international community of its real understanding of the Karabakh issue.

An initiative of gradual settlement of the Karabakh conflict belongs to the Russian–French and US co-chairmen of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Minsk Group on Nagorno-Karabakh. The initiative was first outlined to the sides two months ago when the co-chairmen visited the region.

The settlement process includes two phases. The first one provides for neutralized Azeri firing points–the return of refugees and opening of communications–and the second asks for the determination of the status of Shushi and Lachin–while the third and final stage will be the decisive stage as it pertains to the status of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.

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