Azeri speaker, Norwegian minister discuss Karabakh settlement

Trend news agency
13 Oct 04

Baku, 13 October: Azerbaijani Speaker Murtuz Alasgarov received the
Norwegian foreign minister and chairman of the Council of Europe
Committee of Ministers, Jan Petersen, on 13 October. Alasgarov said
that the visit is of great importance to Azerbaijan and the talks
will give impetus to the development of Azerbaijan's relations with
Norway and the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers.

He said that Azerbaijan has fulfilled most of its commitments to the
Council of Europe and will soon resolve the issues of alternative
military service, ethnic minorities and others.

Talking about the Nagornyy Karabakh conflict, Alasgarov said that
the settlement of the problem has been delayed due to international
organizations and leading countries' wrong approach to the problem. It
is amazing that visiting experts from the Council of Europe and other
international bodies show interest not in the flagrant violation of
the rights of 1m refugees, but in the fate of three or five people
convicted for the crimes they have committed, Alasgarov said.

He went on to say that Azerbaijan will not cede even an inch of
its land and that the country's policy is aimed at restoring its
territorial integrity within international legal norms. I hope that
the international organizations and leading countries will understand
our position and defend us, he said.

In turn, Petersen said that his visit will contribute to the
development of bilateral relations. He went on to say that Statoil and
other Norwegian companies want to make investments in Azerbaijan and
expressed the hope that Azerbaijan will create conditions for that. As
for the Karabakh conflict, Petersen said that he can empathize with
Azerbaijan over the conflict which has not been resolved so far. We
hope that [the country] will find a fair solution to it in the near
future, he said. Petersen stressed that the basis for this is the
fact that the conflicting sides have sat at the negotiating table.