The statement of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev at the joint press conference held after negotiations with Margaret af Uglas - October 26, 1993

It is a great pleasure that we have apprehended the visit to our republic of representative delegation of the CSCE led by acting chairman of this organization madam Uglas. We have had sufficient negotiations on all issues the subject of interest of the Azerbaijan Republic from the point of view of the CSCE activity. We agree completely with approaches of the CSCE connected to destiny and activity of the independent states, the former republics of the Soviet Union, and, in particular, that this international organization shows a considerable interest in such problems, like transition from planned economy to the market one, development of democracy, protection of human rights, creation of more civilized conditions for development of these states.

In the course of the past negotiations we have declared, and I again want to reiterate, that Azerbaijan won`t have any difficulty on these problems. The Azerbaijan Republic has taken the way of democratic development, transition towards the free market economy, adheres steadily to the principles of human rights observance and freedom of the man. At the same time we, certainly, would be grateful to the CSCE for the assistance and support rendered in realization of these reforms.

The most complicated and of vital importance for our republic is the problem of maintenance of its territorial integrity, inviolability of its frontiers and sovereignty, and in this connection - the suspension of the war still continuing at its territory, and withdrawal of the Armenian military units from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan.

I am greatful to madam Uglas for the statement made in this morning in connection with the last aggressive offensives of the Armenian armed units having occupied new zones in Fizuli and Jabrail districts of Azerbaijan that have resulted in tragic consequences. I hope, that this political statement by the CSCE Chairman will play the role in the immediate withdrawal of occupational armies from the territories recently captured by them.

I confirm once again our aspiration for peaceful solution of the problem, related with the war between Azerbaijan and the Armenian armed units. We remain adherent to the peace process, dialogue, cease-fire and we hope for active support and help on the part of the CSCE. We hope also, that the CSCE and the representative delegation of this organization led by madam Uglas, will take additional measures in order to assure the normal regulation of the process of peaceful settlement. At the same time we demanded and we still demand the immediate withdrawal of occupational armies from the territories seized by them recently, and realization of successive measures for liberation of the Azerbaijan territories. I hope, that our negotiations will be a starting point for the new stage of tireless activity of the CSCE with the purpose of solution of this problem.

Question: Both the United Nations Organization, and the CSCE have repeatedly accepted resolutions in which the Armenian armed forces were required to leave the captured territories of Azerbaijan. However, there is a paradoxical situation: the more statements are made, the more Azerbaijan territories are annexed. Do the CSCE have any lever of influence on an aggressor - political or economic one?

Margaret af Uglas: I think, all of us understand, that one must realize the opportunities of the international organizations. That, incidentally, is relevant not only to this conflict, there are many other examples, other conflicts, where this circumstance plays a role too. Nevertheless, it does not mean at all, that we should not continue our efforts within the framework of the CSCE, and especially that of Minsk group, since it is a very important forum for escalating the political dialogue. I am convinced that it is necessary to continue and strengthen our activity in this sense. I hope, my visit will result in continuation of efforts in this direction. You understand perfectly, that the CSCE doesn`t possess any armed forces, it is a political organization which can promote the strengthening of political dialogue.

Our international organization is strong to the extent as its members want it, and being the chairman of the CSCE, I would like the member-countries of the CSCE would try to make the Minsk process and the Minsk group an effective forum for dialogue.

Question: Nowadays there are one million refugees in Azerbaijan. Has the question on rendering of the help for them been discussed within the framework of the CSCE?

Margaret af Uglas: I am going to meet representatives of refugees. Also the members of the delegation led by me will meet them and amongst these members there is a representative of the Swedish agency on relief action.

Question: As the CSCE member Armenia should respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the member-states of this organization. However it is commonplace, that the Armenian parliament has accepted decisions on joining of Nagorno Karabakh to Armenia, and also on rendering of military help to Garabagh, as well as a number of other documents violating the principle of territorial integrity of the states, mentioned in the Helsinki Act. The CSCE has some obligations on observance of this principle. From this viewpoint how do you see the future of Azerbaijan in the structure of the CSCE?

Margaret af Uglas: With all my respect for the problems of the history, as the CSCE chairman, I have to say, that I am dealing with the problems of today and tomorrow. And I will touch upon the questions related with the Armenian approach to this problem while my being in Yerevan.

Question: Madam Uglas, the people of Azerbaijan are interested in a single question - why the world community cannot settle the Garabagh problem over such a long period? What is this - the weakness of the world powers in front of tiny Armenia or unwillingness to acknowledge the fact of aggression against Azerbaijan on the part of the Republic of Armenia?

Margaret af Uglas: I think, that the main problem lies in the absence of sufficient will of both parties to put an end to this war. It seems to me, that finally the most important responsibility rests on those who directly conducts the war and who holds the gun in hands.

Question: Madam Uglas, you are not the first representative of the CSCE who visits the zone of the conflict, pledging to settle this problem, but any concrete step toward this is not taken in the result. You have made a statement condemning violence today. What do you think; is it possible in the future to undertake any effective step for stabilization of situation and settlement of the conflict, using your statement as a starting point? In fact people and mostly the children and women are suffering; it, probably, clear for you... and worries you.

Margaret af Uglas: I understand your feelings, feeling of irritation of Azerbaijan people and I share sufferings of the civilian population. You do not see yet any results of efforts of the CSCE within the framework of the Minsk process. Nevertheless, I think that if the world community turns its back to the conflict and ignores it completely, it would not change the state of affairs in the better way. I think that CSCE should further be engaged in this problem and undertake some responsibility even if our capacity is limited. But I would like to stress once again: for this purpose it is necessary, that the both parties have shown the will for participation in political negotiating process.

Question: Madam Uglas, do you think it is possible to hold the Minsk conference in the near future after new escalation of military actions? What do you think personally about the updated schedule suggested by Mr. Raffaelli, in which as you, contrary to 822 and 853 resolutions of the Security Council of the United Nations, the withdrawal of the Armenian military units from the occupied territories is connected with unblocking of railway lines?

Margaret af Uglas: I would like to note, that in my delegation there are ambassadors Sica, Moseberg and Kazimirov, i.e. persons directly dealing with the issues of the Minsk process. I am sure that they are not going to abandon their efforts in order to come to concrete results finally. 

As to the second part of this question, I would like to ask the Secretary General of the CSCE, ambassador Holk to speak.

Ambassador Holk: As you may know, this schedule has appeared after a very complicated process of negotiations. Within the framework of this schedule it was necessary to take into account many important and intricate elements. For this reason it is impossible to take simply one component of this schedule, but it is necessary to consider them in aggregate, as a uniform package. Unfortunately, we don`t have enough time to go into details now.

Question: Heydar Aliyev, what do you think, is the new escalation of military actions a well-thought and planned action in order to force Azerbaijan to accept the updated schedule of the Minsk group rejected earlier and thus to compel the Azerbaijani leadership to agree with the Russian military presence on the Azerbaijani-Iranian frontier?

Heydar Aliyev: I do not rule out such a version, otherwise nothing can explain the escalation of military actions when we had a very sustainable cease-fire, on the basis of the agreement which has been achieved between Azerbaijan and Nagorno Karabakh through the mediation of the Russian Federation. 

Question: Haydar Aliyev, is the Azerbaijani government ready to accept any initiative of the Islamic Republic of Iran for the settlement of the Garabagh conflict?

Heydar Aliyev: We have not received any initiative on behalf of the Islamic Republic of Iran so far. Now the President of Iran Mr. Hashemi-Rafsanjani is about to visit our country, and we will see what suggestions he will make. It is impossible to answer this question now.

Question: Madam Uglas, what in your opinion, is the role of the Russian Federation in the settlement of this conflict?

Margaret af Uglas: I see the Russian Federation as a very important member of the CSCE, and I hope, I even know, that the Russian Federation wants very much to work effectively and constructively within the framework of the CSCE in order to settle this conflict.

Question: Madam Uglas, it is possible to consider the acceptance by Security Council of the United Nations of the resolution 874 as a method of pressure upon Azerbaijan with the purpose to compel it to accept the proposals of Mario Rafaelli, which are unacceptable for Azerbaijan in many respects?

Margaret af Uglas: No.

Question: Mr. Aliyev, do you suppose a probability that sometime you will have to address yourself to such foreign countries like Russia and Iran, for the military help to protect your territories, to keep the integrity of the country?

Haydar Aliyev: Today we still pin enormous hopes on international organizations - the United Nations, Security Council, the CSCE, the Minsk group and, certainly, we count on forces and capacities of our republic. But if all this does not give any results, the Azerbaijan Republic reserves the right to itself to make necessary decisions in order to protect its territorial integrity, and to provide safety of its citizens.