Armenian and Azeri Foreign Ministers Discuss Karabagh at OSCE Conference

(Combined Sources)–Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian and his Azeri counterpart Elmar Mamedyarov spoke about the Karabagh conflict–at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Ministerial Council meeting in Ljubljana–Slovenia on December 5 and 6.

In his statement–Oskanian pointed to events such as the independence of East Timor and "serious deliberations" about the future of Kosovo–demonstrating how Karabagh’s independence is in line with international norms and principles.

"International developmen’s and self-determination processes in different parts of the world have led to fundamental changes in international thinking on this issue," said Oskanian. "Among political–legal–and academic experts–there is a growing awareness of the possibility and reality of recognizing the right of self-determination in certain circumstances."

Describing the current situation in Karabagh today–he said: "Azerbaijan has no control whatsoever over Karabagh–which has achieved the attributes of complete sovereignty in the last 15 years… the territory in question has never been within the jurisdiction of independent Azerbaijan."

"In perpetrating violence against people that it considered its own citizens–[Azerbaijan] has lost the moral right to custody over those people."

Oskanian concluded his speech by pointing to Karabagh’s "ability to hold elections–govern its people–protect its borders–and conduct international relations" as proof that Karabagh is independent and able to govern itself–according to the Helsinki Final Act.

In his address to the Council’s meeting–Azeri Foreign Minister Elmar Mamedyarov expressed his displeasure at the current status quo in the Karabagh region.

Mamedyarov said: "Azerbaijan considers the occupation of its territories as a violation of international norms and the established status quo will basically loosen the opportunities of the peaceful negotiation."

"The status should be established only taking into consideration the interests of Azerbaijani and Armenian communities," said Mamedyarov noting that "the main condition of establishing status is the liberation of the Azerbaijani occupied territories."

"For the peaceful regulation of the conflict Armenia’should return the occupied territories–must let Azerbaijani refugees return to their settlemen’s–create [a] peaceful and stable atmosphere–and develop trust in Armenia’s and Azerbaijanis," said Mamedyarov.

He called on the OSCE to strengthen its activities towards the regulation of the conflict.

At the meeting–the OSCE Council of Foreign Ministers also made a statement on the Karabagh conflict.

They praised the fact that negotiations were conducted within the framework of the Prague process–particularly the meetings of the Armenian and Azeri presidents in Warsaw and Kazan. They also expressed hope that the sides are now ready to adopt decisions.

The OSCE Council of Ministers encouraged Armenian and Azeri presidents to take advantage of existing promising opportunities–to register real achievement in the regulation process.


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