Kocharian Lists Paris Principles Refutes Azeris

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–The variant of the Parisian principles on the Karabakh problem settlement–which was published in the Azeri "Zerkalo" newspaper–only partly corresponds to the reality–President Robert Kocharian said. The president said that the article "presents the important issue in a little different way–in the light favorable to them–which does not correspond to the reality."

At the same time–the president did not elaborate on it–only mentioning: "I don’t want us to return to accusations. It would be more correct to concentrate on talks on the Karabakh issue settlement and keep the issue as far from various kinds of pre-election sentimen’s as possible. In this case–maybe we’ll have the possibility to register quite serious successes in the negotiating process."

It should be noted that the Azeri "Zerkalo" paper published "the Armenian variant of the Parisian principles"–which consists in the following:

"1. The Lachin corridor passes to the sovereign control of Armenia.

2. For ensuring the security of the transport communication between Azerbaijan and Nakhichevan before the establishment of an atmosphere of mutual trust the Meghri corridor passes to the joint control of international peacekeeping forces and Armenia–and after the establishment of the atmosphere of mutual trust the Meghri corridor fully passes to the control of Armenia. The reason for the difference in the status of the corridors is that the Armenian side is concerned over Azerbaijan’s possibility of closing the Lachin road of life any minute–meanwhile–if Armenia blocks the Meghri corridor–Nakhichevan will find itself in today’s situation.

3. Nagorno Karabakh gets the status that is stipulated by the proposal about a common state–but this name will not be used. Karabakh will get the right to conduct independent foreign and domestic policies and keep self-defenses forces. The status of Shoushi and conditions of return of refugees will be coordinated separately.

4. After the signing of a political agreement regarding the Karabakh settlement–a stage-by-stage withdrawal of Armenian troops from the occupied Azeri regions will begin."

Meanwhile in Baku–Azeri Foreign Minister Vilayat Quliyev told reporters at a press conference that there were no concrete decisions made during the Paris talks.

"I still believe that there were no Paris principles at all. There was an exchange of views in Paris between the heads of the two countries while discussing the resolution of the conflict. The same happened in Geneva–Moscow and other places–too." We could talk about principles–the minister said–when there are final resolutions of the conflict. "Such resolutions have not yet been worked out."

As for the president’s sensational statemen’s about the alleged exchange of corridors between Armenia and Azerbaijan–the minister said that this was probably one of the options for the settlement of the conflict which had been discussed by the sides during the negotiations.

"Throughout the history of the negotiation process–there were many options like that," Quliyev stated. Asked about his own view about this issue–the minister said that as a member of the ruling team he could not have a view different from that of the president.

Speaking about the forthcoming visit by the OSCE Minsk Group cochairmen in September–Quliyev noted that we should not expect any fresh proposals from the mediators." There can be one or two proposals–all others will be the modified versions of them.

Our position is to settle the conflict in line with the norms of international law in the context of Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity and the mediators’ proposals must reflect these deman’s," the minister noted. He said that Azerbaijan is in favor of the stage-by-stage settlement as this will help create an atmosphere of trust.

At the same time–Quliyev did not rule out the option of settling the conflict by territorial exchange. "However–this is a constitutional issue and not only the high-ranking officials but also the entire nation should express their attitude towards this," the minister said.

Commenting on the political situation in Armenia and the attack on the country’s leadership–Quliyev said that he was not surprised as Armenian President Robert Kocharian promised to resolve the Karabakh problem during his election campaign–but failed to do so.

Speaking about reports that foreign companies–including a Swiss company–are operating on Azerbaijan’s occupied territories–the minister noted that this issue had been discussed with the newly-appointed Swiss envoy to Azerbaijan. "He told me that no Swiss company operated in Nagorno Karabakh," Quliyev said. Moreover–the minister said that the envoy apologized on behalf of his government for the unofficial visit to Karabakh by a representative of a canton of the Swiss Confederation.

Quliyev also noted the protest by the Azeri side to Argentine’s government last year concerning the plans of an Argentinean businessman of Armenian origin to start a business in Karabakh.

"We have always expressed our decisive protest against these facts," the minister said. He also said that a group of experts form the Foreign Ministry is currently in Iran discussing the legal status of the Caspian Sea.

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