STEPANAKERT, YEREVAN (ArmRadio)–The independence of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic cannot be a matter of concession, Karabakh National Assembly Speaker Ashot Gulian said Friday.
Gulian’s remarks came in response to recent statemen’s by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, where he said, "the question of Nagorno-Karabakh’s secession from Azerbaijan does not exist and will never exist."
Aliyev’s commen’s and his comprehension of the conflict resolution process do not correspond to reality, Gulian said.
An objective analysis of the conflict shows that it is in the interests of Azerbaijan to recognize the independence of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, Gulian explained.
Gulian said he hoped that the recent pre-election euphoria in Aliyev’s statemen’s will soon give way to a more reasonable approach. He said this would be to the benefit of Azerbaijan since its current belligerence and unrealistic approach do not receive much practical support.
Meanwhile, US Charge d’Affairs Joseph Penington said Friday that his government is opposed to dissolution of the OSCE Minsk Group because it regards the Group as the only means for achieving a peace deal on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
"The Minsk Group is the only format that will lead to the resolution of the Karabakh issue," Pennington said, commenting on recent attempts by Azerbaijan to circumvent the OSCE Minsk Group.
The Minsk Group, Co-Chaired by the US, Russia and France has been trying for over a decade to help Armenia and Azerbaijan hammer out a compromise peace deal over Nagorno-Karabakh.
Penington refused to comment on media reports that Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev declined a proposal to meet with Armenian President-Elect Serzh Sarkisian on the sidelines of a NATO summit scheduled for early April in Romania’s capital Bucharest.
The US diplomat said he will soon discuss Azerbaijan’s actions with American Minsk Group Co-Chair Mathew Bryza, who will be visiting Armenia’soon.
Earlier this month Azerbaijan applied to the OSCE Secretariat to begin the process of dissolving the Minsk Group. The decision was a response to the Co-Chairs’ countries’ vote against the resolution on Nagorno Karabakh introduced in the UN General Assembly by Azerbaijan.
Armenian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Tigran Balayan also commenting on the recent letter of inquiry Azerbaijan sent to the OSCE Secretariat regarding the procedures for recalling or changing the Minsk Group Co-Chairs.
"The letter that Azerbaijan has sent to the OSCE is directed at dissolving the Minsk Group and it was done before the voting on the draft resolution introduced to the UN General Assembly by Azerbaijan," he explained. "This proves once again that the statemen’s and steps of Azeri officials have nothing in common with their commitment to continue the process of peaceful settlement."
Balayan also said that Azerbaijan had derailed a recent attempt to forge a sideline meeting between the country’s two leaders at the NATO Summit in Bucharest.