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The Issue of Artsakh's Status Cannot Be Separated from Other Conflict Settlement Components

Recently the issue of the final status of Artsakh has started to be actively discussed at different levels. The visions and approaches of the Armenian sides, the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs and the Azerbaijani side on this issue are obviously different. This difference was once more manifested in the statement of the Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan Elmar Mammadyarov, who said that "raising the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh’s status at the first stage undermines the peace process."

In this regard, however, several clarifications should be made.

First, all components of Karabakh conflict settlement are being discussed around the negotiation table, among them the issue of status. This has several times been declared by the Co-Chairs, and the statement of the Azerbaijani FM that raising the issue of Artsakh’s status at the first stage undermines the peace process, is nothing more than violation of the logic of the settlement process.

Second, the OSCE MG Co-Chairs dealing with Karabakh conflict settlement process have many times declared that the negotiations are being held based on three main principles – the right to self-determination, non-use of force or threat of force, territorial integrity. In such case a question raises – what is the aim of Azerbaijan, when it tries to separate the right to self-determination from other two principles?

Third, on December 10, 1991, the people of Artsakh held a referendum and decided its status – to have an independent country. Now agreeing to hold another referendum they make a concession for the sake of peaceful and final settlement of the conflict.

In this context it should be noted that Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, as Aliyev is imagining, can never become a part of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The aggression against Artsakh during the April four-day war, the beheading of Armenian soldiers and the tortures of civilians proved once more that the people of Artsakh, to put it mildly, can have nothing common with Azerbaijan. Moreover, it seems that the Azerbaijani authorities have forgotten that they themselves in 1998 rejected the "Common state" package.

The fact that in Karabakh conflict settlement process Baku can never impose any solution, that the final status of Artsakh should be determined through the free expression of will of Karabakh people, cannot be questioned, putting the peace process under danger.



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