Negotiation process at an impasse - President

Wed 12 September 2012 11:29 GMT | 16:29 Local Time

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Ilham Aliyev

"The main issue of concern not only for us, but the whole world, is the continuation of the occupation of Azerbaijani lands.

I would not want to go into details of the conflict, the reasons that led to its beginning. You are well aware of that. But I would like to draw your attention to two issues. Azerbaijan is a victim of Armenian aggression. It is an undeniable fact. Armenia continues occupation of 20 percent of the internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan.

According to the APA, the statement came from President Ilham Aliyev at the meeting with the ambassadors of the OSCE member-states in Gabala.

On the issue of extradition and clemency of Ramil Safarov, the head of state stressed that Azerbaijan did not take steps contrary to international experience and commitment:

"We know that Armenia created stir over Ramil Safarov’s extradition and clemency. I have already expressed my attitude about it. I state it again: everything from extradition to Safarov and his pardon was made in accordance with the European Convention and the Constitution of Azerbaijan. He served almost nine years in prison. Therefore, Armenia should not use this situation as an excuse to thwart peace talks.

As I mentioned in my opening statement, following a meeting in June 2011 in Kazan the talks are stagnating. The OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs have traveled to the region but  now the main topic of our discussion concerns not the essence of the negotiation process, but aims  to reduce the tension, the potential threat. For the first time since the creation of the OSCE Minsk Group, we are witnessing that the negotiation process has stalled. Over the past years several stages of the negotiation process, a number of proposals have been unsuccessful.

The last set of proposals from the Prague from the Prague process to Madrid principles which Azerbaijan would accept - despite the fact that some Armenians say the opposite - I would say was probably the last proposal, and the last chance for a settlement. Armenia currently uses this episode as a pretext. They are trying to maintain the status quo as long as they can. They always say that they want a peaceful solution. We also want to solve the problem peacefully. Our 20-year cooperation with the OSCE Minsk Group clearly shows that we stand for peaceful solution. In addition to a peaceful solution, we want to free our lands. However, Armenia wants only peaceful solution, they want only peace. We want peace and our lands.

These lands are ours historically, from a political standpoint and in terms of the legal framework. So they try to thrust out Safarov’s issue. They raise unnecessary hype in the country. I understand the internal problems of the President of Armenia in connection with my order of pardon. But that's his problem, not a problem of the region. Each president may have internal problems in the country. However, this is not a reason for unethical conduct and frustration of the peace process. Therefore, they should be a little restrained and perceive reality as it is.

Without drawing parallels, I would simply remind one historical fact. In 2001, the Armenian president pardoned terrorist named Karapetyan, who committed a terrorist attack in the French airport of Orley, which killed several people . if I am not mistaken among them was an American, four French and eight Turks among the killed and 50 people among the injured. Karapetyan was not a citizen of Armenia, but after serving several years in prison, he was extradited to Armenia, and predecessor and close ally of Sargsyan - Kocharyan immediately pardoned him.

Then we did not see any statements of international organizations and politicians on this issue. I do not draw parallels between the terrorist who killed 8 and injured 50, and our officer. But it's true. Simply now Armenians have no right to present themselves as victims. I think that from every point of view it was the right decision. Now we have to send a message of Armenia itself, do not use it as an excuse for the failure of the negotiation process, do not use it to whip up tension. Azerbaijan does not create tension, it is rather them who do it. They need to calm down, go back to the negotiating table as soon as possible to try to find a solution to the conflict".

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