Minsk Group’s Basic Principles ‘A Good Basis,’ Says Russian Foreign Minister

MOSCOW (Combined Sources)–Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told a session of the Russian Duma Wednesday that the document on the basic principles of the Karabakh conflict resolution is a good basis for continuing negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
The document, adopted by the OSCE Minks Group Co-Chairs in November, calls for a gradual resolution of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict, beginning with the return of at least six of the seven Armenian-controlled Azerbaijani districts around Karabakh. The final stage is a referendum of self-determination on Karabakh’s future status.
"The negotiations on Nagorno-Karabakh have never stopped and will continue," Lavrov underlined.
Meanwhile, Azeri Deputy Foreign Minister Araz Azimov again cast doubt over the usefulness of the way the negotiations have been conducted by the Minsk Group. Azimov Tuesday accused the Minsk Group of violating the principle of neutrality in the negotiations process by voting against an Azeri drafted UN General Assembly resolution in March, which called for the withdrawal of Armenian forces from Karabakh.
The resolution adopted in UN General Assembly and official Baku’s request to replace the current Minsk Group co-chairs should be a serious warning for the organization, Azimov told reporters.
"The assurances by the Co-Chairs that by voting against the adoption of the resolution they tried to be unbiased, does not correspond to reality," he said.
He said official Baku does not think the Minsk Group has exhausted its potential, but stopped short of accepting the groups recent decision to vote against the UN resolution. Recent developmen’s show that the co-chairs have monopolized the peace talks, Azimov averred.
Azerbaijan will not accept the loss of a part of its territory and will ensure its territorial integrity by any means, he said, adding, that the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan was an important point among settlement proposals put forward four years ago.
Azimov also spoke about the future of the Lachin corridor. Noting that the corridor is important both for Azerbaijan and Armenia, Azimov noted that official Baku proposes the possible use of the corridor by both parties provided that it remains part of Azerbaijan. He said that the OSCE Minsk Group co-Chairs are aware of it and this issue may become a subject of discussions in the further talks.
Accusations against the co-chairs for taking a biased position against Azerbaijan in the Karabakh talks come against the backdrop of statemen’s made Tuesday by US Ambassador to Azerbaijan Anne Derse that the US supports the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and does not recognize the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh.
The US, Derse said, is calling for a quick and peaceful resolution of the conflict.

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