Paris meeting focused on issues without progress
By Sara Rajabova
One of the main achievements of Azerbaijani and Armenian presidents' Paris meeting was the call of French President Francois Hollande on two conflicting sides to start working on a comprehensive peace treaty.
Elmar Mammadyarov, Azerbaijan's Foreign Minister told local media commenting on the results of the recent meeting of Azerbaijani and Armenian presidents.
He stressed that Azerbaijan has repeatedly expressed its readiness to start the works.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan held a meeting on October 27 in Paris with the participation of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmen to discuss the settlement process of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The two presidents held a face to face meeting, which was followed by another joint meeting with the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs.
Afterwards, a joint meeting was held attended by President Hollande, President Aliyev, President Sargsyan and the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmen.
Mammadyarov said during the Paris meeting, the negotiations were held in several stages and focused on the issues on which no progress has been achieved so far.
"In general, each presidential meeting is positive. Such meetings allow understanding the mood of the opposing sides to promote the process of settlement of the conflict," Mammadyarov added.
Mammadyarov said President Aliyev reiterated Azerbaijan's principal position during the meeting: First, Armenian armed forces should withdraw from Azerbaijan's occupied territories in order to achieve a peaceful settlement of the conflict.
"As soon as this demand is met - a demand which is clearly supported by the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs and reflected in the resolutions of the UN Security Council- there will be great opportunities to ensure security in the region, to open borders and communications and to agree on issues related to the confidence-building measures," the minister said.
Mammadyarov further added that if there are no Armenian troops on the Azerbaijani territories, the country will no more need snipers and the number of military incidents would decrease significantly.
"Then we will make peace and economic development in the region," he said.
Armenia captured Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding districts from Azerbaijan in a war that followed the Soviet breakup in 1991. More than 20,000 Azerbaijanis were killed and nearly 1 million were displaced as a result of the war.
Large-scale hostilities ended with a Russia-brokered ceasefire in 1994 but Armenia continued the occupation in defiance of four UN Security Council resolutions calling for immediate and unconditional withdrawal.
Peace talks mediated by Russia, France and the U.S. have produced no results so far.