TODAY.AZ / Politics

Azeri FM at UN: "Armenian occupying forces have to withdraw from the occupied territories"

26 September 2006 [14:00] - TODAY.AZ
Speaking at the General Assembly of the United Nations on September 25 in New York Elmar Mammadyarov, Foreign Affairs Minister of Azerbaijan, informed about the UN GA resolution on arsons commited in Azerbaijani territories occupied by Armenians.

Mr. Mammadyarov said the resolution passed without voting considers prevention of the fires, protection of environment in neighboring territories and rehabilitation of areas damaged by the fire.

The situation in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan recently has become a subject of urgent consideration by the General Assembly due to the massive fires registered in those territories.

The Assembly adopted without a vote resolution stressing the necessity to conduct an urgent environmental operation with a view to suppressing the fires, overcoming their detrimental impact and rehabilitating the affected territories.

The resolution has a two-fold purpose. On one hand, it envisages a number of practical steps, including the assessment of the short- and long-term impact of the fires on the environment as a step in preparation for the environmental operation, counteraction to the environmental degradation of the region and rehabilitation of the fire-affected part of the occupied territories of Azerbaijan.

On the other, it serves as an unprecedented example for engaging parties to the conflict, Armenia and Azerbaijan, into a joint environmental operation to be carried out directly in the fire-affected zone.

Implementation of the resolution will contribute into establishment of atmosphere of trust and confidence and will give positive impetus to the negotiation process.

Sadly, this is the only positive development so far, and cannot be attributed to the overall situation around the settlement process.

Although no substantial progress has been witnessed so far, the parties and mediators accepted the stage-by-stage approach in the settlement process as the only possible option. Basically, there are two main issues on which parties disagree – definition of status of self-rule for the population of the occupied Nagorno Karabakh region and withdrawal of the Armenian forces from all the occupied territories of Azerbaijan.

There are a common understanding that the status cannot be defined today. It should be elaborated through peaceful, democratic and legal process with direct participation and consent of both Azerbaijani and Armenian communities of the Nagorno Karabakh region.

To that end, the Armenian occupying forces have to withdraw from the occupied territories and necessary conditions have to be in place to allow secure and dignified return of the indigenous Azerbaijani displaced persons to the Nagorno Karabakh region and surrounding territories of Azerbaijan.

Such a logical chain of events will lay down necessary conditions for the next stage of the settlement which is normalizing life in the conflict-affected area, restoring inter-communal relations, launching social-economic development and considering appropriate models of self-rule for the entire population of the region within Azerbaijan.

Our position based on relevant resolutions of the Security Council and OSCE decisions, which unequivocally demand unconditional withdrawal of the occupying forces from all occupied territories of the Republic of Azerbaijan, restoration of its sovereignty and territorial integrity, creation of favorable conditions for safe return of civilian population and restoration of inter-communal relations and elaboration of the status of self-government within democratic and legal process based on the agreement of both communities of the region.

It is difficult to hope for a breakthrough in the negotiations when Armenia rejects face-to-face meetings and refuses to take a constructive approach to solve existing problems.

What is more worrisome is that Armenia attempts to propagate by all means the separatist regime established under its control in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan and to spreads myths and legends about the historical past and alleged democratic and economic achievements of the regime.

As a matter of fact, the reality on the ground proves the opposite. The Armenian community, which is the only remaining part of the entire population of the Nagorno Karabakh region of Azerbaijan, is increasingly inclined to leave the unrecognized quasientity due to the worsening living conditions and lack of any perspectives of economic and social development.

Dynamics of development of Azerbaijan is strikingly evident and in five or ten-year period an economic growth of the entire region vis-a-vis Armenia will be much more substantial. Armenia could be given a chance to join the on-going regional and transnational projects, but prior to that Yerevan has to take a number of steps for establishing normal relations with its neighbors, stated Mr. Mammadyarov.



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