MOSCOW, May 17 (Itar-Tass)–Azerbaijan’s President on Monday issued a set of conditions he said Armenia must meet before relations between the two countries can be established, the Russian Itar Tass news agency reported.
“If Armenia gives a positive response to the OSCE Minsk group’s proposals and, on this basis, begins to withdraw its armed units from the occupied Azerbaijani territories, Azerbaijan will open its borders with Armenia, resume communications and thus large-scale peace and security measure will be ensured in the region,” President Ilham Aliyev told a news conference following talks with visiting Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
According to the Azeri leader, his country has accepted practically all intermediaries’ peace proposals with “minor exceptions.”
“We expect the Armenian side to show a similar approach,” he said, adding that Armenia has not yet provided a response to proposed changes to the basic principles for peace, forwarded to the two countries six months ago.
“We consider it as Armenia’s attempt to stall, not to take important steps to settle the problem, and thus to have the negotiating process last for years. But we will never agree to it,” he said. “Negotiations must have certain frameworks, including in terms of time limits.”
Aliyev accused Armenia of “breaking the peacekeeping process,” every time the parties reach a crucial moment. Aliyev’s criticism came a week after Armenian Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian blamed Azerbaijan for hampering the peace talks and threatening to destabilize the region with talks of war.
“Regrettably, we see a similar picture now,” Aliyev said. “Either it [Armenia] gives a positive answer to the proposals of Russia, the United State and France and we come closer to the conflict’s settlement. Or it gives a negative answer and the negotiating will be ruined and the relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia will enter a new stage.”