Liberated Territories Should be Reparation to Karabakh Refugees, Says Presidential Aide

YEREVAN (Armenpress)–The liberated territories surrounding the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic must become reparations to Karabakh refugees, said Karabakh presidential advisor Arman Melikian Tuesday in discussing the importance including the refugee problem in the conflict resolution process. During a discussion with former Armenian foreign minister Alexander Arzoumanian, Melikian emphasized the importance of Karabakh’s participation in the peace process. Melikian stressed that first, and foremost, for the success of the talks was the determination of Karabakh status, which currently are part of the negotiations and other issues that stem from that discussion, including territorial concerns and the refugee problem created by the war. Melikian said that the principles discussed at the negotiations were the same both for Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh. Melikian noted that he did not imagine a leadership in Armenia that would agree with anything beyond independence for Karabakh. Speaking about Armenian-Turkish relations, Melikian said that the issue was directly connected with the Karabakh conflict resolution. Melikian echoed Armenia’s position of establishing relations with Turkey, without preconditions. Arzoumanian reminded that since 1992, Turkey has preconditioned its relations with Armenia with the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict resolution, adding that has never been acceptable by Armenia’s leadership. In order to improve relations with Turkey, the two countries must begin a dialogue without precondition, a position the Armenian government has on numerous occasions stressed, said the former foreign minister. He agreed with Melikian that Karabakh’s participation in the negotiation process was necessary and noted that the triumph for Karabakh would be its adherence to democratic norms, which the authorities in Karabakh have always pushed forward. In Paris, Azeri President Ilham Aliyev renewed his calls on Armenia "to end its aggressive policy towards Azerbaijan" during a meeting with French president Jacques Chirac Monday, saying it was key to bringing stability to the South Caucasian region and fostering its economic development. The Azeri state television said ways to settle the Karabakh conflict was high on Chirac-Aliyev meeting agenda. For his part, Chirac said that France, as a member of the OSCE Minsk Group, "is exercising its influence and possibilities for the establishment of a peace in the region." In an interview with Space TV Aliyev stated Tuesday that "All the states of the world and international organizations recognize the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and we demand that our territories be returned back." Aliyev said that "Armenia’s ‘occupantionalist’ policy impedes the successful development of Azerbaijan and the entire region." At the same time he said that France, as OSCE Minsk Group co-chairing country, "is actively participating in the negotiation process over Nagorno Karabakh conflict regulation." In another interview with French newspaper Le Monde on Monday Aliyev said he preferred a peaceful solution to the conflict, but was not ruling out military means. "It’s clear that our political weight one day will give us the means to liberate our lands," Aliyev was quoted as saying. "We’d prefer to do it peacefully, without going to war. But if there are no other means … we’ll see." Diplomats from Russia, France and the United States, who make the OSCE Minsk Group, said in a statement Monday they were encouraged by what they called the "constructive" approach of the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan as they work toward resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

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