Today.Az ics/45378.html
June 3 2008

Day.Az interview with deputy Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan Vagif

- 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.