Azerbaijan Rejects Minsk Group Proposal

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Azerbaijan Thursday rejected a new peace plan for the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict put forth by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Minsk Group co-chairmen during their recent visit to the region–the Baku-based ANS-Press news agency reported–quoting diplomatic sources in Baku.

The official rejection was presented Thursday to the co-chairmen of the OSCE Minsk Group. The Minsk Conference was notified of Baku’s refusal Friday. The OSCE Acting Chairman Bronislav Geremek who is due in Baku on November 25 will also be notified of the official Azeri position.

Baku said it was ready to discuss two options to end the existing deadlock. Azerbaijan expressed willingness to begin negotiations on proposals made by Minsk Group co-chairmen on September 19–1997 which called for a "phased" approach to the settlement of the Karabakh conflict.

According to Azeri authorities–diplomats reserved the right to return to 1997 plan since–according to Azeri logic–the proposals corresponded to resolutions passed at the 1994 Budapest summit OSCE member-states. Otherwise–Azerbaijan said–the co-chairmen would have to develop new proposals which will take some time.

Diplomatic circles in Azerbaijan said that the idea of "common state" proposed by the co-chairmen was not only unacceptable for Azerbaijan–it also was deemed wrong from an international law perspective.

Azerbaijan accused the co-chairmen of attempting to revise the Helsinki principles of 1975 which lay the foundations for the pan-European security system.

According to ANS-Press reports–Baku regarded the new proposals of the co-chairmen as "an attempt to interpret the principles of territorial integrity and right to self-determination from Armenia’s perspective–although the relations between these two principles is clearly outlined in the Helsinki Final Act of 1975–which stipulates that the realization of the right to self-determination is possible only within the framework of a country’s territorial integrity. This provision was further developed at the 1996 [OSCE] Lisbon summit–which established the dominance of the territorial integrity principle over that of the right of a nation to self-determination."

Referring to diplomatic circles–the agency reported that Azerbaijan deemed it impossible to participate in talks based on the idea of "common state."

Immediately following the Minsk Group co-chairmen visit to Baku last week–Azeri presidential advisor Vafa Guluzade already deemed the proposal unacceptable by Azerbaijan.

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