Angela Merkel: Nagorno-Karabakh conflict should be resolved as soon as possible
The German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan held a joint press conference in Berlin. The head of the German government stressed that the meeting had been planned a long time ago, and the Armenian president presented his vision of the situation in Karabakh.
Merkel noted that Germany, as the OSCE chairman, will play a constructive role in resolving the conflict. However, she acknowledged that "there was very little progress in the negotiations under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group in recent years."
"It is particularly important to settle the conflict as early as possible, since the development of Armenia would be better if it had good relations with its neighbors. At the same time, Germany understands that the conflict has lasted for 21 years and it is extremely difficult to solve it," Angela Merkel said.
As for Armenian-Turkish relations, Angela Merkel acknowledged that "the military conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia is a failed prerequisite to restore contacts between Armenia and Turkey."
The German chancellor also noted that Armenia's wish to join the Eurasian Union is respected by the European side, which does not want to create an 'either-or' situation for Yerevan.
According to her, now Germany is doing what needs to be done to resolve the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh. "As the OSCE chairman for this year, we take on a certain responsibility. We believe the OSCE Minsk Group and the Madrid principles are a reasonable foundation for the ability to quickly restore stability. The events of recent days have shown an urgent need to act to find solutions to the conflict," Merkel stressed.
She noted that the development of the Madrid principles has been an important contribution to the negotiations. "However, as practice shows, there is a contradiction and we must make every effort to overcome it. But I think that these principles should not be changed and we must make every effort to stop further bloodshed. Until then, while the fighting continues, the political process, obviously, will not start," Merkel stressed.
Merkel responded in the affirmative to a question from a German journalist about whether a discussion of the Nagorno-Karabakh events with the Azerbaijani side is planned. "We have already agreed that the Azerbaijani President will visit Germany in June and we will discuss the subject. I regularly meet with President Aliyev. Of course, we try to discuss it with various parties, it cannot be otherwise," Merkel summed up.
Recall, on the night of April 2 all frontier positions of Azerbaijan were exposed to heavy fire from large-caliber weapons, mortars, grenade launchers and guns. In addition, Azerbaijani settlements near the front line, densely populated by civilians, were shelled.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20% of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.
The two countries signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Russia, France and the US, are currently holding peace negotiations.
Armenia has not yet implemented the UN Security Council's four resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.