Self Determination, Territorial Integrity Both Applicable to Karabakh Conflict, Says State Department Official

YEREVAN (News.az)—The Karabakh conflict can be settled on the basis of both territorial integrity and the self determination of people, US First Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg said Monday in an interview with Armenian Public Television, Interfax news agency reported.

“I believe that the simultaneous use of the right of nations to self-determination and territorial integrity is possible,” Steinberg said, adding that the US attaches “special importance” to negotiations between the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan.

“We consider that the process in the Karabakh conflict settlement may promote the welfare of all the peoples in the region. The United States, co-chairing the OSCE Minsk Group, remains loyal to the obligation to assist the parties in searching for solutions. This is not easy, but we believe all parties are willing to find a solution to the issue and we are here to help,” Interfax quoted Steinberg as saying.

The US State Department official, however, declined to give any specifics about the stage of the negotiations process, saying only that it was “too soon to speak about the terms of the conflict settlement because Armenia and Azerbaijan must form an atmosphere of trust.”

When asked what his opinion was on the role of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic in the peace talks, Steinberg said he believed the Minsk Group mediating the conflict had been working within the “correct frameworks at the current stage.” Karabakh is currently not a full-fledged party to the negotiations process. “I think the process of the Minsk Group is effective and it will be right to move this way so far,” he added.

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