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Armenia-Azerbaijan: Slovenia talks yield no results on Karabagh

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The talks among foreign ministers of states included in the OSCE, the world's largest security organization, held in the Slovenian capital Ljubljana, concluded without passing a final statement.

Russia rejected the obligation it assumed in 1999 to withdraw its troops from the former Soviet Union republics of Georgia and Moldova. The document was to cover the long-standing Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict over Nagorno Karabakh.

The parties have failed to sign the document at the annual meetings of the Ministerial Council, OSCE's central decision-making and governing body, for three consecutive years.

Azeri Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov speaking at the meeting condemned Armenian officials' frequent statements questioning Azerbaijan's territorial integrity and sovereignty. "The current situation is not getting us anywhere and our patience is running slim. As a result, the number of intimidating statements is increasing," said Mammadyarov.

The Minister called on OSCE to make the resolution of conflicts in the area it covers its key priority.

Mammadyarov termed the ongoing occupation of Azeri land by Armenia as violation of international law, saying the status quo will only increase tensions and drastically reduce opportunities for peace talks.

"The liberation of occupied territories and the return of Azeri population there, promoting the environment of peace and stability, increasing trust between Azerbaijanis and Armenians for their peaceful co-existence, should be the main objectives of the peaceful resolution."

The Minister reiterated his earlier statement that 2006 may be crucial for the conflict settlement. Azerbaijan's intransigent stance is that the process should be carried out in compliance with a relevant United Nations resolution and the Helsinki Final Act, he said.

Touching upon the Karabakh's status, Mammadyarov said: "The status of Nagorno Karabakh can only be established through a legal, democratic and peaceful process free from ethnic cleansing...The issue can be tabled only if equal and fair representation of the Azeri and Armenian communities is ensured. The liberation of the occupied Azerbaijani territories is the main precondition for that. After Armenia's vacates the occupied territories, both Azeris and Armenians have to be able to use the Lachin corridor in both directions. The Azerbaijani government is ready to facilitate the restoration of Upper Garabagh's infrastructure by channeling investment into the development of both communities."

Armenian Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanian addressing the meeting called on its participants to recognize the 'independence' of the self-proclaimed Nagorno Karabakh republic, saying that 14 have passed since Azerbaijan lost control over it. "The Karabakh population have made their choice and announced independence. Therefore, everyone should honor their wish," he claimed.

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