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BAKU, July 07. /ITAR-TASS/. Azerbaijan is using political and economic factors for resolving the Nagorno Karabakh conflict peacefully, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said at a meeting with diplomats on Monday, July 7.
He stressed that Azerbaijan could solve the problem by force, but “we think the potential of negotiations has not been used up yet”.
“Using political, economic and military pressur,e we will try to get the issue solved peacefully. Our economic, political and military potential is quite strong, and this factor will play a positive role at the talks,” the president said, adding that the conflict could not remain frozen.
Aliyev regretted the absence of progress in the resolution of the conflict despite the international mediators’ efforts. “We are of the opinion that the mediators dealing with this (Nagorno Karabakh) issue are more interested in keeping the situation in its present state. Their main interest is in preserving stability and preventing a war in the region. We also want peace. But at the same time we want to see truth and justice restored and international law triumphing,” he said.
The president also believes that the conflict should be settled “completely”. “Half-solutions can only be an interim step. We should not forget the main goal. The people of Azerbaijan should return to the occupied territories,” he said.
He stressed that Nagorno Karabakh’s Armenians could get a high status of autonomy within Azerbaijan. “We proposed this and this approach is based on the most positive experience the world and Europe have had,” he added.
Aliyev said one of the key tasks facing Azerbaijani diplomats was to make real facts related to the Nagorno Karabakh conflict known to the public in other countries.
The president said earlier that the Nagorno Karabakh conflict could be resolved only if the territorial integrity of his country was ensured.
“The conflict can be resolved only within the framework of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. There is no other solution, and I have no doubts that Azerbaijan will restore its territorial integrity,” he said. Aliyev stressed the Nagorno Karabakh conflict was the “biggest threat” in the region. Azerbaijan and its people “will never allow a second Armenian state to be created on their historical land”, he said. He made it clear that Azerbaijan would “never step aside from its position of principle”.
The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict began on February 22, 1988. On November 29, 1989, direct rule in Nagorno-Karabakh was ended, and Azerbaijan regained control of the region. However, a joint session of the Armenian parliament and the top legislative body of Nagorno Karabakh later proclaimed the unification of the region with Armenia.
On December 10, 1991, Armenians in Nagorno Karabakh held a referendum, boycotted by local Azeris, and approved the creation of an independent state.
The struggle over Nagorno Karabakh escalated after both Armenia and Azerbaijan obtained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. By the end of 1993, the conflict had caused thousands of casualties and created hundreds of thousands of refugees on both sides. An unofficial ceasefire was reached on May 12, 1994.
As of August, 2008, the co-chairmen of the OSCE Minsk Group were attempting to negotiate a full settlement of the conflict. On August 2, 2008, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan travelled to Moscow for talks with Dmitry Medvedev, who was Russian president at the time. As a result, the three presidents signed an agreement that calls for talks on a political settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict.