Ladies and Gentlemen,
At the outset, I would like to congratulate H.E. Mr. Enzo Moavero Milanesi, the Chairperson-in-Office of the OSCE for excellent organization of the 25th Meeting of the OSCE Ministerial Council. I also wish every success to our distinguished colleague H.E. Mr. Miroslav Laycak of Slovakia as the incoming OSCE Chairperson-in-Office.
Existing conflicts in the OSCE area remain the most serious threat to peace and security. The principle position of Azerbaijan is running in line with the norms and principles of international law, particularly in respect of states’ territorial integrity, sovereignty within their internationally recognized borders. Since our last meeting of the Ministerial Council in Vienna, so far we still have seen no concrete progress towards resolution of the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict. The fundamental principles of inadmissibility of use of force for the acquisition of territory and ensuing obligation of non-recognition of situation resulting from serious violations of international law and refraining from rendering aid or assistance in maintaining this situation, regretfully, are applied selectively by the mediating countries.
In the meantime, we witnessed consistent attempts of Armenia with active support of their Diaspora continued unlawful practice on altering demographic, cultural and physical character of the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, infringing upon the human rights of hundreds of thousands of forcibly displaced Azerbaijanis, including the right to return to their homes of origin. In flagrant violation of the 1949 Geneva Conventions and their additional Protocols, Armenia has continued illegal resettlement and other activities in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan. The unlawful actions by Armenia, including illegal military and civilian build-up in the occupied territories demonstrate its intention and systematic policy aimed at consolidating the occupation and imposing a fait accompli. These steps undermine trust in the peace process, especially in view of the failure to dispatch an assessment fact-finding mission to the occupied territories of Azerbaijan due to refusal of Armenia.
Relevant UN Security Council resolutions, principles of the Helsinki Final Act and decisions and documents of the OSCE form the basis for conflict resolution and for mandate of the Co-Chairmen of the Minsk Conference. The UNSC resolutions of 1993 demanded immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal of occupying forces from all the occupied territories of Azerbaijan and, as a reciprocal step called for opening up communications and transportation links and urged assisting the return of internally displaced persons to their homes. The underlying concept of this approach is based on removing consequences of the conflict, while deferring remaining political issues for follow up negotiations within the Minsk Conference.
Azerbaijan believes that there is no alternative to peace, stability and mutually beneficial regional cooperation and is the most interested party in the earliest political settlement of the conflict. The resolution of the conflict is possible only on the basis of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan within its internationally recognized borders.
The military occupation of the territory of Azerbaijan does not represent a solution and will never produce a political outcome desired by Armenia.
I am glad to inform you that yesterday we had very important and useful consultations with the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs and Armenian acting Foreign Minister. For the first time within a year we managed to agree the Joint Statement by the OSCE Minsk Group co-chair countries and Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan. One of the major points is of course intensified and result-oriented talks, including the talks on the high level. I believe whenever elections will be over in Armenia and new Government will be formed we must make a breakthrough next year and build up a good opportunity for bringing peace, stability and prosperity to the region.