Georgia ready to mediate Karabakh settlement

Wed 26 October 2011 11:20 GMT | 16:20 Local Time

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Grigol Vashadze

Talks in any format are better than conflict, Georgian Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze said after talks with his Azerbaijani counterpart in Baku.

"The South Caucasus is an integral organism and all countries must realize that we are 'in the same boat'. If mediation is needed in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the Georgian side is ready for this," Grigol Vashadze told a press conference in the Azerbaijani capital.

Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov said that Baku supported a state-by-stage resolution of the conflict with Armenia over Karabakh.

"No-one expects the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict to be resolved overnight, so we gave our agreement in Prague to a gradual resolution of the conflict," Mammadyarov told the press conference, referring to talks in the Czech capital in 2004, mediated by the OSCE Minsk Group.

He raised again the idea of moving to talks on a major peace deal, something he put forward to co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, the international body mediating a solution to the conflict, in September.

"The Azerbaijani side thinks that since several principles have yet to be agreed, it would be better to move to a major agreement. This would be a signal that the conflict can be solved peacefully," the minister said.

He minister restated conference Baku's position that Armenian troops should first be withdrawn from Karabakh and the occupied districts before the status of Karabakh could be finally decided.

Аsked whether the Karabakh conflict would be tabled for discussion at the UN Security Council, following Azerbaijan's election as a non-permanent member, Mammadyarov said that this would require the support of all five permanent members of the council.

"Three of the permanent members of the UN Security Council are the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group. We haven't discussed the issue yet but will raise it with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council," he told the press conference.

The minister said that 155 countries had voted for Azerbaijan in election to the UN Security Council, describing the vote as a victory for the Azerbaijani people.

He said that Azerbaijan would chair the Security Council twice - in May next year and September 2013.

Georgian Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze congratulated Azerbaijan on the election.

“I am very glad to be in Baku at such a historic moment. Azerbaijani diplomacy did a great job to win.”

The next round of Azerbaijani-Georgian talks on delimitation of the state border will be held next month in Tbilisi, Elmar Mammadyarov said.

Some 35% of the 480-km border has still to be agreed. Talks have stalled over a 6th-century monastery – the monument is known as David Gareja Monastery in Georgia and Keshish Dag (Priest Mountain) or Keshikchi Dag (Guardian Mountain) in Azerbaijan – through which the state border passes.

APAGun.Az, 1news.az

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