Basic elements suggested by the OSCE Minsk group co-chairs and discussed during the last negotiations "are acceptable if the basics' essence is preserved that the conflict should be resolved gradually, based on the principles and norms of international law," Day.Az quotes Minister of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan Elmar Mammadyarov to comment on the Minsk group member countries' positions.
According to Mammadyarov, the international community has a clear understanding that "when we speak of international law, the factor of territorial integrity is primary," whereas "the self-determination principle does not imply breaking territorial integrity." He brought in this regard a number of examples of state structures where nations determine themselves in the framework of states' territorial integrity. "I have continually spoken out of the examples of Tatarstan, Bashkiria; there is Trieste and other instances," Mammadyarov said.
As regards the acceptability of the Trieste model in solving the Nagorno Karabakh issue, Mammadyarov was told that the model presumes the existence of many elements that had been at some points offered to the official Baku and were rejected, particularly, the availability of an autonomy's own army, state symbols, passports, currency, etc. Azerbaijani minister said that there is a huge difference between the Trieste in 1950s and in the 21st century.
Mammadyarov said that "thanks to the economic development and normalization of the everyday life, the Trieste society starts to react differently to sensitive issues. In this context, the problem of Nagorno Karabakh was perhaps a problem of the Soviet totalitarian regime under which all the population of the Soviet Union was in a grave state."
Mammadyarov says that in this context, taking into account Azerbaijan's building a law-abiding society, democracy, and market economy, the situation changes drastically, therefore, one should look at the prospect. On the first stage, it is necessary, of course, to solve the issue of displaced persons, for the problem is serious enough, as well as issues of security, economy, and communications.
Azerbaijan, co-chair countries, and EU member countries "explain to the Armenian side that prolonging the destructive policy in the region will make it difficult for them to expect a lively development in the future." "If they in Armenia think that they will be able to preserve control over the occupied territories, this, I suppose, would be equal to a suicide," Mammadyarov claimed.
"We will persist in continuing our policy of developing Azerbaijani economic and political systems, all its institutions, including military ones," Mammadyarov says. "To move forward, one needs to understand the situation in the region, which will come at some point."
Speaking of the possibility of holding in Nagorno Karabakh referendum on its status, the minister said: "We are rather speaking of a poll." He specified that "this will become possible after the life of both Azerbaijani and Armenian communities is normalized in Nagorno Karabakh itself, after the Azerbaijani displaced persons have returned."
What questions are to be asked in the poll, is, in his words, still a matter of negotiations, "for if a question posed disputes territorial integrity, the question can only be solved based on the Constitution of Azerbaijan."
Touching upon the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry position on journalists' visits to Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh, the minister said; "Considering that Nagorno Karabakh is an inseparable part of Azerbaijan, I do not see a problem in the country's representatives' visiting the region. But naturally, this depends on the level of cooperation. If a need arises for citizens to visit journalists, NGO workers, even official representatives we have no objection to it."
"I think we have to overcome the barrier of hatred that exists between Azerbaijan and Armenia on some issues. We are neighbors, and we will have to deal with each other," Elmar Mammadyarov concluded.