TBILISI (Combined Sources)—Georgia’s president, Mikheil Saakashvili Wednesday called for unmediated dialogue between Armenia and Azerbaijan to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, implied his support for Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity, and urged coordination of Armenia-Turkey ties with Azerbaijan.
“There is only one solution to the [Karabakh] problem — direct negotiations between the countries and observance of international law, including guarantees for people to return to their homeland and respect for national sovereignty,” Saakashvili told the Russian-based Echo of Moscow radio.
The Georgian leader said that normalization of Armenia-Turkey relations should be coordinated with Azerbaijan, adding that the Armenia-Turkey process should serve as a blueprint for future Armenia-Azerbaijan talks without international mediators.
To outline his insistence for removal of international mediators from the Karabakh talks, Saakashvili claimed the main problem with the conflict resolution was that Russia is the main “key holder” in the process.
“Let Saakashvili mind his own country’s territorial problems and not meddle in other peoples’ conflicts,” said Armenian parliament member Shirak Torosyan who is the chairman of Javakhk Compatriotic Union in response to Saakashvili’s remarks.
“It would be better for Saakashvili to guarantee rights to the minority population in Georgia in order to avoid ethnic conflict in its own borders,” added Torosyan, saying the Karabakh issue was settled when, through a national referendum, the Nargorno-Karabakh Republic declared independence.
“I would like to emphasize that Karabakh shed blood for its independence and no one has the right to usurp that, said Torosyan who claimed Saakashvili’s support for Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity stemmed from his own inability to address conflicts within his country’s borders.
Giro Manoyan, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation’s political director said Saakashvili did not support normalization of relations between Armenia and Turkey, since it would minimize its role in the region.