The statement by the United States co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, Richard Hoagland, has caused serious concern and panic in Armenia's political leadership. There are statements that are contradictory at different levels and one deny another one. Armenian officials state that these principles are not new. In general, what would you say about R. Hoagland's statement and negotiation process?
- The L'Aquile, Muskoka and Los Cabos statements by the Presidents of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair countries reflected the key elements of a step-by-step settlement of the conflict on the basis of the Helsinki Final Act. These elements also constitute the fundamental basis of the updated Madrid principles. The same principles have been also emphasized by the United States co-chair, Richard Hoagland. The very first step in the sequence of principles, which are complementary to one another, is the withdrawal of Armenia’s troops from the occupied territories around the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan. With the elimination of the fact of occupation, return of internally displaced persons to their native lands and implementation of necessary security measures should be ensured. It should also be noted that Armenia does not implement the demands of the relevant UN Security Council resolutions on the conflict.
If the Armenian side admits that these principles are not new and they are accepting them, then substantive negotiations should be started to discuss the details. The Armenian people will be able to benefit from the cooperation opportunities that conflict resolution would create.
The Azerbaijani side has repeatedly stated that it is ready for serious negotiations to change the current status quo, which is considered as an unacceptable by the Heads of State of Minsk Group Co-chair countries and to ensure the soonest settlement of the conflict and the lasting peace in the region.