Aliyev Wants More Aggressive Karabakh Policy

YEREVAN (Combined Sources)–Azerbaijan must have an aggressive foreign policy regarding the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict, Azeri President Ilham Aliyev said Tuesday during a meeting Azerbaijan’s diplomatic corps.

“The key task of Azerbaijan’s diplomats is to inform the international community about the truth of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict,” he said. “Armenia’s policy of occupation must be condemned at all levels.”

According to Aliyev, Azerbaijan’s diplomats bear a great responsibility in this regard. Its diplomats must closely cooperate with the state bodies of the countries in which they serve and must improve their efforts to protect and promote the political and economic interests of Azerbaijan.

But Azerbaijan’s attempts to use the international community as a forum to advance its position on the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict endangers the future of the current OSCE Minsk Group negotiation process, Armenia’s Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian remarked on Tuesday.

According to Nalbandian, Azerbaijan’s anti-Armenian propaganda is a serious impediment to the resolution of the conflict, which has been mediated by the Minsk Group since 1997.

Earlier in June, the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan held what officials described as "constructive" talks on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in the Russian city of Saint Petersburg. International mediators hoped the meeting would kick start the stalled negotiations process.

Although Azerbaijan has officially declared its support of the Minsk Group negotiation process, it has also been trying to distort the essence of the conflict and remove it from the auspices of the OSCE’s mediation.

In recent months, Azerbaijan has been working to gain international recognition of its territorial integrity by a number of world bodies and organizations, including the United Nations. It has also been raising allegations in the Minsk Group and the Council of Europe against Armenia’s position regarding Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement process, claiming that an “Armenian occupation of Azeri lands” hampers the peace process.

On March 14, the United Nations General Assembly passed a controversial resolution that refers to Karabakh as an internationally recognized part of Azerbaijan. The Azeri drafted resolution, which was denounced by the US, French, and Russian Minsk co-chairs, also demanded an "immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal of Armenian forces" from “occupied Azerbaijani lands.”

The Minsk Group co-chairs’ reaction to Azerbaijan’s attempt to transfer discussion of the conflict into the United Nations General Assembly shows the international community’s attitude toward Baku’s actions, Nalbandian explained.

The US, Russian and French Minsk co-chairs, “the majority of the world’s countries, and all the European Union member states, refused to support the initiative,” he said. “[They] abstained from voting because the resolution was unilateral, and prioritized the territorial integrity doctrine, while ignoring the right of nations for self-determination.”

According to Nalbandian, the negotiations currently proceed on the basis of the OSCE basic documen’s and principles, which include Article 2 of the Helsinki Final Act on the non-application of force; Article 4 on territorial integrity; and Article 8, which supports a people’s right to self-determination.

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