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Karabakh > OSCE Minsk Group > 2009 > December

OSCE Minsk Group issues statement on results of Athens meeting

They noted the positive dynamic in the talks, demonstrated through six meetings this year between the Presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia



The Heads of Delegation of the OSCE Minsk Group, Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation Sergei Lavrov, Foreign Minister of France Bernard Kouchner, and Deputy Secretary of State of the United States James Steinberg issued a statement Tuesday following a meeting with the Foreign Ministers Elmar Mammadyarov of Azerbaijan and Edward Nalbandian of Armenia on the sidelines of the 17th OSCE Ministerial Council, Athens (1-2 December).

They noted the positive dynamic in the talks, demonstrated through six meetings this year between the Presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia. They agreed that the increasing frequency of these meetings has significantly contributed to an enhanced dialogue between the parties and forward movement toward finalizing the Basic Principles for the Peaceful Settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, proposed in Madrid on November 29, 2007.

Foreign Ministers Lavrov and Kouchner and Deputy Secretary Steinberg reiterated the commitment of their countries, as expressed in the Joint Statement on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict at the L`Aquila Summit of the Eight on July 10, issued by their three Presidents, to support the leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia as they complete work on the Basic Principles.

The Foreign Ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia reported on progress during the course of this year in achieving common understandings on points of the Basic Principles. They stated the willingness of their countries to complete work on the Basic Principles.

 * * *

Azerbaijan`s foreign minister: The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict still remains a major source of instability and impediment to the economic development

The Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict still remains a major source of instability and impediment to the economic development and integration of the entire region of the South Caucasus into the European and Euro-Atlantic architecture, Azerbaijan`s foreign minister Elmar Mammadyarov said in his remarks in the 17th OSCE Ministerial Council in Athens.

The minister noted “as a result of this conflict almost 20% of the territory of Azerbaijan has been still occupied by Armenia, around 1 million ethnically cleansed Azerbaijani population has become internally displaced and refugees, thousands of Azerbaijani historical-cultural heritage items on the occupied territories devastated and looted”.

According to him, “this year was remarkable in terms of the intensiveness of the meetings between the Presidents of the both sides, and the detailed and in-depth discussions of the most important yet unresolved issues”.

“I should admit that there are the positive dynamics through the latest talks and both sides together with the Minsk Group Co-chairs agreed to intensify negotiations”.

Mammadyarov stressed “Azerbaijan maintains a position of constructiveness and stands for peaceful and cooperative coexistence of Armenian and Azerbaijani communities of Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan.

“This will create basis for normalization of relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan”, he added.

The minister pointed out “providing self-governance for Nagorno-Karabakh within Azerbaijan will be a just and durable solution, as well as it can dramatically reduce tensions and challenges for peace and stability in the region”.

“We in Azerbaijan strongly believe that withdrawal of Armenian troops in a fixed time framework from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan will open a tremendous opportunity for the region, providing different environment of predictability, development and benefit for everyone and for the entire region.”

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Russian foreign minister: “We must develop common principle for the crisis settlement of conflicts”

“It is important to develop common principle for the crisis settlement of conflicts, which could help avoid any kind of military action such as the one we faced in Georgia in August last year,” said Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, addressing the 17th OSCE Ministerial Council in Athens.

He said, “prevention of conflicts is a must for the security within the OSCE".

Sergei Lavrov pointed out the security within the OSCE needs more effective fight against terrorism and drug trafficking. According to Russian FM, the meeting will adopt several declarations with some of them co-authored by Russia.

 * * *

US Deputy Secretary of State: “Washington efforts help considerably strengthen stability in Armenia-Azerbaijan relationship”

The US efforts to solve the Nagorno Karabakh conflict through the OSCE Minsk Group help considerably strengthen the stability of relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia, US Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg said in his address to the 17th OSCE Ministerial Council in Athens.

Mr. Steinberg said as one of OSCE Minsk group co-chairs, the United States intends to facilitate the final solution of the conflict, which will ensure stability and economic growth.

Steinberg said the settlement of the conflict is one of the main issues for the OSCE with the Greece-initiated Corfu process targeting this issue as well. The USA has a number of proposals to elaborate a new mechanism on this issue, Deputy added.



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