Azerbaijan Not Ready for Risks or Responsibilities

YEREVAN (Armenpress/Yerkir)–Karabagh leader Arkady Ghukasian reiterated that the Mountainous Karabagh conflict cannot be resolved unless Stepanakert becomes a full party to negotiations.

"Sooner or later–Azeri leaders will have to agree to negotiate with Karabagh–and I am confident that the international community shares this very viewpoint," said Ghukasian–citing an OSCE Budapest summit resolution identifying Azerbaijan–Armenia–and Mountainous Karabagh as the parties to the conflict.

Citing Azeri "distrust–enmity–and war rhetoric," Ghukasian said that the "package solution" must be sought–rather than the "step-by-step approach."

While the first proposes settling key problems–including status–security guarantees–and troop withdrawal–with a single–comprehensive agreement–the latter calls for Armenia to surrender specific buffer zones to Azerbaijan–in exchange of deployment of international peacekeepers in Mountainous Karabagh.

"We have the resources to resolve the conflict in one to two years–but we should also realize that resolution and peace contain certain risks; Azerbaijan’s leaders do realize this–and are not ready today to take the risks and shoulder responsibilities."

In a reversal of previous opinion on the effectiveness of the Minsk Group–which spearheads the Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe’s (OSCE) efforts to find a political solution to this conflict–Azeri president Ilham Aliyev said earlier this week that the Group’s activity is apparent–and that "the co-chairmen are determined to deal with the problem."

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