Baku positively assesses Bern meeting on Nagorno-Karabakh
Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov commented on the meeting between Presidents Ilham Aliyev and Serzh Sargsyan, which was devoted to the peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. According to him, the talks held on December 19 in Bern should be assessed positively. “We welcome the contributions of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs, as well as the Swiss government to the organization of this meeting,” he added.
Mammadyarov noted that Azerbaijan, as a country affected by aggression, is interested in the speediest settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. "Azerbaijan is ready for constructive discussions based on the proposals on the negotiating table. This position was expressed again during the meeting in Bern," APA cited the minister as saying.
He mentioned that the statements adopted following the meeting urge both Azerbaijan and Armenia to continue the discussions held in Sochi, New Port and Paris regarding a comprehensive settlement of the conflict and intensify the dialogue based on the proposals which are on the negotiating table.
The minister noted that Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov presented the proposals on resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict to Baku and Yerevan. “These proposals reflect the agreements reached during the meeting of the presidents in Sochi, Newport and Paris in 2014 and have been worked out based on the renewed Madrid principles,” he said.
A political scientist and MP of the Azerbaijani Majlis, Rasim Musabekov, said in an interview with a correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza that this round of negotiations was needed because its abolition "would mean the fiasco of the Minsk Group and almost a failure of the negotiating process." "Elmar Mammadyarov praised the meeting of the presidents in Bern in this sense. From the standpoint of productivity there are no results, even a statement about the President's instructions to the Foreign Ministers to continue the negotiations," he pointed out.
"The sides remain unconvinced, and their positions are completely opposite at the moment. Azerbaijan proposes solving the conflict through the liberation of the occupied Azerbaijani territories. Armenia is promoting the idea to take such measures which will consolidate the status quo, that is, the occupation of Azerbaijani territories by Armenian forces. It is impossible to negotiate on this basis," Rasim Musabekov stressed.
According to him, the atmosphere for a practical resolution of the conflict is currently unfavorable. "There is a conflict situation in the Middle East and a complication of relations between Russia and Turkey. If none of the co-chairing countries will affect the process of negotiations at the level of presidents or foreign ministers, I do not see how one can bring the sides together," the MP concluded.
The political scientist Rovshan Ibragimov noted that Azerbaijan has always welcomed peace talks, because it wants the participants of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict to develop and sign a comprehensive agreement. "Most likely, this meeting in December was due to a mediator's desire to do anything to show the appearance of activity at least at the end of the year, since the whole year was unsuccessful for them. As a result, both sides have agreed to meet, despite intense exchange of fire on the frontline," he said.
The expert expects it is possible to achieve some progress in peacefully settling the conflict only if "rationality will prevail." "We have to rely on the common sense of the Armenian population. If there will be pressure on the Armenian government and Baku will recognize the fact of the presence of the Armenian population in Nagorno-Karabakh, offering them the status of autonomy within Azerbaijan's territorial integrity, it can have a positive impact not only on the general situation in Nagorno-Karabakh, but also on the relations between Baku and Yerevan," Rovshan Ibrahimov concluded.