An International Dialogue-Forum, “South Caucasus: political challenges and development prospects of the region”, organized by the International Advance and Development Association Ltd and supported by German Government and the Federal Economic Cooperation and Development Ministry, was conducted in Berlin on 12-13 November.

The delegations led by the foreign ministers of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia were invited to the Forum to analyze the ways of increasing the regional and international efforts in the field of elimination of the unsolved conflicts in the South Caucasus, restoration of political stability, economic development, conduct a critical and constructive dialogue basing on mutual confidence.

Also were participating at the Forum, representatives of the European Union, European Commission, PACE, OSCE, CIS countries, international finance and humanitarian assistance organizations, NGOs, donor countries.

In his opening remarks, state secretary of Mr. Erich Schdather said that beginning from 2001, the government of Germany has been implementing assistance initiative for development of the South Caucasus countries. The assistance was rendered in the field of legal-judicial system, development of energy sector and entrepreneurship, prevention of tuberculosis, regional cooperation within the environmental projects. The government of Azerbaijan is to continue these efforts in coming years as well. However, to reach complete establishment of economic development and tranquility in the region, the existent problems in the South Caucasus should be resolved. Dissolution of the Georgian-Abkhaz, especially, the Armenian-Azerbaijani, Nagorno Karabakh conflicts hinder development of the region. Should the South Caucasus not become the arena of conflicts, we could meet another view of the development and life.

Secretary General of OSCE, Mr. Yan Kubish recalled that all the three South Caucasian states have stated on integration to Europe and have elected OSCE members. President elections in Armenia and Azerbaijan, parliamentary elections in Georgia rounded. Beginning from December, the OSCE Minsk Group will continue its visits to the region, and make new proposals for conflict settlement.

Then, foreign ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia Vilayat Guliyev and Vardan Oskanyan gave a comprehensive analysis of the existent situation of the conflict.

In his emotional remarks, foreign minister of Armenia Oskanyan made harsh statements. The Berlin walls once divided this city and the people of Germany, while now, territorial integrity of Germany has been restored and the nation unified. Destiny of Karabakh resembles the destiny of Berlin, he said. Nagorno Karabakh has never been of Azerbaijan, and its population and culture belongs to Armenia. The history shows it clearly. Europe is seeking now new prospects to solve the Nagorno Karabakh conflict. It is the wrong way. Nagorno Karabakh has destroyed the “Azerbaijan walls”, defined its borders, the Armenian people assumed its historical lands, the nation unified. Armenia currently is thinking for economic development of Nagorno Karabakh, and requests for assistance for the development of Nagorno Karabakh. All the regional states should assist Armenia. Karabakh should be either of Armenia or of Azerbaijan.

Foreign minister of Azerbaijan Vilayat Guliyev, responding to the obsessive claims of the Armenian minister, brought comprehensive and undeniable evidences, saying that it does not need to turn the pages of history to make sure that Nagorno Karabakh is Azerbaijan’s territory. Karabakh has been of Azerbaijan and it will be. He stated that Armenia has been obsessed with false and aggressive ideas, with the help of which wants to enlarge its lands, which is impossible, and it demands to give independence to Nagorno Karabakh and annex this territory to Armenia. On this purpose, Armenia has also occupied six surrounding regions and made enclave. It has conducted an ethnic purge in this area, and currently there are one million refugees and IDPs in Azerbaijan.

The Four Resolutions of the United Nations Security Council on Nagorno Karabakh, basing on the requirements of the Helsinki Final Act, confirming sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Azerbaijan, proves that territorial claims of the Republic of Armenia on Nagorno Karabakh has no international ground, stressed Mr. Vilayat Guliyev. The Minister said though Azerbaijan adheres peace way and fair settlement of the conflict, the world community should know that Azerbaijan would never agree on loss of a single inch of its lands. Patience of the people is not limited and nobody should abuse it. It has to be reminded that once Azerbaijan lost its lands, while now it can return them. Reason of the delay of settlement of the conflict is destructive and aggressive position of Armenia. Should the Nagorno Karabakh conflict be not settled, and ensured territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, the country cannot integrate to Europe.

Speaking at the discussions, Member of Azerbaijan Parliament, member of the Azerbaijan Parliament delegation at PACE, Mr. Asim Mollazade reminded that the life for thousands of refugees has turned to an unbearable ordeal. The Azerbaijanis living in the tent camps have been undergoing a hard psychological shock for over ten years. The conflict should find its solution, the area needs housing, education, medical, and social development and progress, the international humanitarian assistance should be provided with workable mechanisms. He called on the United Nations and donor countries, as well as NGOs to increase attention to the plight of Azerbaijani refuges and IDPs.

Representatives of Azerbaijan also took place in the sittings of the sections “Human rights and efficient governing management”, “Cooperation in the energy sector”, “Trade, economy and finance”, made their proposals, exchanged views.

Foreign minister of Azerbaijan Vilayat Guliyev had a number of bilateral meetings in Berlin. In the meeting with the minister of federal economic cooperation and development of Germany Hide-Mary Vichorek, the parties focused issues of economic cooperation. Mr. Guliyev updated on development of democracy, economy in the country, human rights protection, on the works carried out for settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno Karabakh conflict, plight of the refugees.

In the meeting with the foreign minister of Germany Joska Fischer, the parties focused the current socio-political situation in the South Caucasus, prospects of peaceful resolution to the Nagorno Karabakh problem. Mr. Guliyev highlighted his counterpart on the October 15 Presidential elections in Azerbaijan. He stated that the elections passed in a free, transparent, fair atmosphere and in conformity with international standards. The election process was observed by the OSCE, the Council of Europe and other international organizations’ representatives. The German-Azerbaijani bilateral relations would expand and deepen during the Presidency of the new President Ilham Aliyev, foreign minister of Azerbaijan emphasized.

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