BAKU—Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and his Azerbaijani counterpart Elmar Mammadyarov stated on Wednesday that they are not pleased with the OSCE Minsk Group’s efforts in finding a political solution to the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh involving Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Paying an official visit to Azerbaijan, Davutoglu held a joint press conference with his Azeri counterpart Mammadyarov and evaluated the resolution process of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia.
Stressing that Armenian soldiers should leave Nagorno-Karabakh, Davutoglu reaffirmed his country’s unconditional support for Azerbaijan in the dispute and offered Turkish mediation in its resolution, RFE/RL’s Armenian service reports.
Mammadyarov echoed the criticism of the international mediators. “Azerbaijan is dissatisfied with the work of the OSCE Minsk Group and there are objective reasons for that,” he said. “We see no progress and want the conflict’s resolution to start with the withdrawal of Armenian troops from the occupied territories,” said Mammadyarov, as reported by RFE/RL.
Reminding that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has not been solved for over 20 years and that Azerbaijani lands have still been under occupation, Davutoglu said “it is time for the international community to evaluate it.”
Davutoglu said, “The Minsk Group has made an effort on this issue for over 20 years and we appreciate those efforts, but they have not given any results. Everyone should question the causes of the failure and co-chairs should play more active roles. The members of Minsk Group should take action, too.”
“Turkey is also a member of the Minsk Group, and it is ready to support the peace process,” said Mammadyarov, according to RFE/RL. “It is important that the problem be solved as soon as possible and within the framework of Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity. Ankara is always ready to provide assistance to the co-chairing countries and step up its efforts in this direction.”
Armenia was quick to reject any Turkish involvement in the Karabakh peace process, RFE/RL reports. “If Turkey is really interested in a quick resolution of the Karabakh-Azerbaijan conflict it should take one simple step: not to meddle in the settlement process,” Eduard Sharmazanov, the spokesman for the ruling Republican Party of Armenia, said in a statement.
Armenian leaders have repeatedly said before that Turkey cannot act as an honest broker because it has openly sided with Azerbaijan in the unresolved conflict. They appear to have toughened this stance since the collapse of the 2008-2009 Turkish-Armenian rapprochement.
Pointing out a new deal between Turkish and Azerbaijani diplomats set to start in May, Davutoglu said that a specific number of Turkish and Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry diplomats will be exchanged and will work as though they were working in their own country.
The Minsk Group spearheads the OSCE’s efforts to find a political solution to the conflict in and around Nagorno-Karabakh involving Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov, at a joint briefing with Davutoglu, also expressed that Baku supports the idea of holding a meeting between the Azerbaijani and Armenian presidents, after a previously planned meeting was recently canceled.
As Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian stated earlier, the meeting with Azerbaijan will possibly take place by year’s end, despite prior objections from Baku.