by Ashot Safaryan
"We consider it necessary to note that the position of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic on the prospects of settlement of the Azerbaijani-Karabakh conflict remains unchanged," the NKR Foreign Ministry said in response to the latest statement by of the US Co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group James Warlick.
"Any return to the past is out of question. The fate of Nagorno Karabakh has been determined by its people through a free and legitimate expression of will in the 1991 referendum on independence. NKR independence and security are absolute values that are not subject to any bargaining. We believe that the joint efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group should focus on the development of such settlement mechanisms that stem from current realities and provide conditions for the peaceful coexistence of two independent states - the Nagorno Karabakh Republic and Azerbaijan - emerged as a result of the collapse of the USSR and the war unleashed by Azerbaijan," the Ministry said.
To recall, in his speech at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, James Warlick particularly, said: "In light of Nagorno-Karabakh's complex history, the sides should commit to determining its final legal status through a mutually agreed and legally binding expression of will in the future. This is not optional. Interim status will be temporary. Second, the area within the boundaries of the former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region that is not controlled by Baku should be granted an interim status that, at a minimum, provides guarantees for security and self- governance. Third, the occupied territories surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh should be returned to Azerbaijani control. There can be no settlement without respect for Azerbaijan's sovereignty, and the recognition that its sovereignty over these territories must be restored. Fourth, there should be a corridor linking Armenia to Nagorno-Karabakh.
It must be wide enough to provide secure passage, but it cannot encompass the whole of Lachin district. Fifth, an enduring settlement will have to recognize the right of all IDPs and refugees to return to their former places of residence. Sixth and finally, a settlement must include international security guarantees that would include a peacekeeping operation. There is no scenario in which peace can be assured without a well-designed peacekeeping operation that enjoys the confidence of all sides."