by Tatevik Shahunyan
"The statement by U.S. Ambassador to Armenia made me, at least, perplexed", former advisor to the president of Azerbaijan in 1993-99, participant in the negotiations on the Karabakh conflict, political scientist Eldar Namazov says in his interview to Turan.
Turan quotes Namazov as saying, "Any attempts to determine in advance the sequence of implementing these principles are counterproductive, especially if they come not from the parties to the conflict, but from one of the mediators.
Secondly, the position set out by Mr. J. Heffern has always been regarded as unacceptable for Azerbaijan in principle, and that is why is a deadlock. In practice it means that in the case of non reticence the final status of Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan cannot rely on the liberation of the occupied areas outside of Nagorno- Karabakh. Then what is the essence of the peace process and the benefits to Azerbaijan? Open the borders, begin to develop economic and political relations with Armenia, while maintaining the occupation of Nagorno- Karabakh and surrounding areas? It is clear that this approach is not acceptable, and therefore cannot be seriously discussed.
Finally, surprising is the moment chosen for this statement - the possibility of meeting the presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia in Paris is being studied now. As far as can be judged, by itself such a meeting is in question, and American diplomacy in recent days by the mouth of their representatives to the OSCE, and in Washington, is making considerable efforts to implement this initiative. I also think such a meeting is very important".
To note, in an interview to the Armenian mass media, U.S. Ambassador to Armenia John Heffern said that he considers the return of the territories adjacent to Nagorno-Karabakh to be one of the six elements of the conflict settlement. However, he does not mean that these territories must be returned to Azerbaijan right away. "This is assumed within the framework of a final solution to the issue. According to the six agreed elements, Nagorno-Karabakh's final status will be resolved through free expression. Subsequently, the territories contiguous to Nagorno-Karabakh-except for the Lachin Corridor-must be returned. So, there is nothing new in my words," Ambassador Heffern said.