TODAY.AZ / Politics

Vagif Sadikhov: "Chances for the peaceful resolution of the Karabakh conflict are reducing but Azerbaijan will be loyal to its commitments till the end"

03 June 2008 [09:45] - TODAY.AZ
Day.Az interview with deputy Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan Vagif Sadikhov.
- Co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, various organizations and countries constantly call on the parties of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict to make mutual concessions for the problem settlement. It is clear for Armenia, but is it reasonable to demand concessions from Azerbaijan, a party, which suffered from occupation?

- Certainly, on the whole, compromises, as a basis of a negotiation process, no matter whether it is Karabakh or any other issue, are a normal event. People come to the negotiation table, when they are ready to sacrifice something, concede in something and finally come to a coordinated decision. Let's admit that otherwise they would not come to the negotiation table. This is a facilitated vision of the issue. Yet in the situation, related to issue of life or death, one should think over how far we ready to go in our concessions, especially when issues are related to basic moments, such as territorial integrity and sovereignty.

Azerbaijan has been within the so-called "Minsk process" since 1992 since the creation of this group. We base on the fact that Azerbaijan has always been open to compromises and we have sacrificed to much for the negotiation process during all achievements and drops, during all changes and problems in the international life around this process both in Armenia and in Azerbaijan.

But Azerbaijan side always undertook steps for not going beyond this line between the principal position and compromises. It is clear to everybody that there are strategic principles backed by strategic interests. But in the framework of this strategy a country has any tactic plans, which is normal, checks it in advance considering its own potential and opportunities of other countries in the predicted situation. Sometimes the development of this situation can not depend on us, when something occurs somewhere and situation may change.

Therefore, we do not make the word "compromise" abstract, but at the same time we study thoroughly what we are proposed and what we are presented in the package of compromises.

I can say that whatever is said by different parties the executive power of Azerbaijan has never forgotten the principal position of the Azerbaijani state and Azerbaijani people and the whole work on the negotiation process has always been carried out on the basis of an exact plan.

Yes, in some moments, we indeed consider the development of international situation and may exaggerate some moments, but at the same time we have never given up our principal position and will never do it in the future. We study the proposals, received from all sides, and we study these appeals for compromises through the prism of our own interests.

- But some people still state that without compromises from Azerbaijani side the resolution of the conflict is impossible, trying to make us accept the situation of the status-quo...

- You know at the recent conference in Baku its speaker also started to speak in this direction, saying that demonstration of a principal position is good, but can this promote an agreement?

We can not forget our principal positions. The constantly voiced appeals for compromises in conditions when we settle this conflict in the framework of international organizations, which has its own principles (in this case, this is the Helsinki final act), as if saying: "Yes, we do have principles, but we do not want to use them in assessment of this situation and just offer you to forget them and come to an agreement independently".

And my answer is: "Don't you think that by this way you recognize the completed situation and if by some reasons you recognize the occupation of our territories by Armenia, you are on a very dangerous path, as tomorrow, when the situation reverse and President and senior commander of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev orders to the Defense Minister to start military actions for restoration of the territorial integrity, the situation will reverse and in this situation you will have to ask Armenia: "Take the situation into account and make compromises"?"

Thus, this is a vicious circle. If once you reject international principles, you step on the way, when you will have to speak about compromises and forget principles depending on the situation in the field of battle. This is a cynic approach.

- Meanwhile, Azerbaijan itself has emtrusted the resolution of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict to OSCE, yet this mediation has not brought any results. Does it create doubts regarding the OSCE ability to settle the problem and how urgent is the proposal to replace the co-chairing countries of the Minsk Group in this connection?

- Despite the complexity of the negotiation process and all the critical statements addressed to the co-chairs and their separate actions, we consider it necessary to go through the peaceful part of the resolution till the end. Yes, chances for the peaceful resolution  of the conflict are reducing but Azerbaijan considers it possible to advance and we want to be loyal to our commitments. Therefore, we will move forward until there is a single chance to settle this conflict peacefully.


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