BAKU (Noyan Tapan)–Azeri President Aliyev held meetings with co-chairmen of the OSCE Minsk Group for Nagorno Karabakh–Carey Cavanaugh (USA)–Nokolay Gribkov (Russia) and Jean-Jacques Gaillarde (France) who were visiting Baku on December 11.
Cavanaugh stated the resolution of the Karabakh conflict will have a positive influence on other issues in the region–such as the Abkhazian-Georgian conflict–and Turkish-Armenian relations. He briefed Aliyev on discussions held with Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem on Ankara’s official position on helping Armenia and Azerbaijan reach a solution to the conflict and also bring about economic rehabilitation and stability in the region.
President Aliyev stressed necessity of maintaining the cease-fire in place. However–he claimed Azerbaijan does not fear the Karabakh military and added that the Russian press tends to exaggerate the actual strength of the Karabakh forces.
The mediators visited Kars–Turkey and the Dilijou Turkish base near the Armenian border. Cavanaugh feels the Turkish base can have a critical role in the future economic development of the region. He also added that Armenian President Robert Kocharian finds the resumption of hostilities unacceptable. The co-chairman explained the OSCE’s unusually passive attitude as such to allow constructive dialogue between the Armenian and Azeri governmen’s. He promised more active mediation on the part of the OSCE.
Aliyev stated he was pleased the OSCE delegation noticed the humanitarian intentions of the Turkish government. He expressed regret over the recent tarnishing of Turkey’s image in the West as a result of the Armenian Genocide resolutions being proposed in various countries. The Azeri president went on to say that bringing up events that occurred at the beginning of the twentieth century today is not right. This only weakens efforts at achieving cooperation in the region. Aliyev thanked the delegation for its visit to Nakhijevan.