Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian has warned Azerbaijan against disregarding a basic principle of the peace plan proposed by international mediators in settling the long-running conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, which enables the people of the disputed region to decide their future status.
Nalbandian’s remarks came in response to Azerbaijani Foreign Minster Elmar Mammadyarov’s statement made on Monday in which he stressed that “Baku sees Nagorno-Karabakh’s future status within Azerbaijan and the main issue is the solution to the problem of occupied territories and return of Azeri refugees to their former homes.”
“What is important is not who sees what, but who decides. And this is up to the people of Nagorno-Karabakh to decide. This is also expressly stated in some provisions of the Madrid document that were published [during last year’s G8 summit in L’Acquila] immediately after the statement by the presidents of Russia, the United States and France,” Nalbandian said in a statement disseminated by his press service on Tuesday.
“If Azerbaijan is against this basic principle, then it in fact obstructs the settlement process. It also obstructs the settlement by opposing Nagorno-Karabakh’s participation in the negotiations, because it is impossible to achieve progress in the settlement without Nagorno-Karabakh’s direct participation,” Nalbandian continued.
“As for the elimination of the consequences of the conflict, then one should bear in mind that the issues of Azerbaijan’s occupation of the territories of the Martakert, Martuni and Shahumian regions and the return of refugees to these areas should also be solved. And, of course, the issue of the elimination of the conflict’s consequences should be solved simultaneously with the elimination of its causes,” he added.
“All these issues should be resolved through negotiations, on the basis of mutual consent and by peaceful means,” Armenia’s top diplomat concluded.