Karabakh conflict

Stepanakert: Azerbaijanis can return to Artsakh only after the settlement of political issues

The return of Azerbaijani refugees to Karabakh is impossible without the return of Armenian refugees to Azerbaijan, said deputy head of Artsakh president's office David Babayan, commenting on the statement by the Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov.

"Such statements again show that it takes a lot of time and a lot of effort to record progress," he said. "Because with such a worldview, such "New Year’s wishes," it is impossible to hope for any steps. Azerbaijan has not reconsidered its positions in any way."

According to him, Mr. Mammadyarov will have to upset the Azerbaijani leadership.

"To think substantively, one must be realistic and follow the letter of the law, especially international law. Because there is no primacy of any principle - territorial integrity over the self-determination of peoples particularly. Azerbaijani leadership should reconsider its vision of state building and approaches to conflict resolution. And not only conflict resolution, but also relations with neighbors. Otherwise, any kind of rearrangement in the Azerbaijani state, any kind of restart of the political system will be just a cosmetic intervention that does not change the essence of the philosophy of its state building, " he said.

Asked to comment on the "return of the Azerbaijani population", Babayan remarked: "Where do they want to return? If they consider Karabakh the territory of Azerbaijan, then they need not return, they are already in the territory of Azerbaijan. If they want to be citizens of the Artsakh Republic, then this is a matter of negotiation."

"We are not against this idea, but to implement it, two basic preconditions must be fulfilled: the settlement of all political issues in advance, before we proceed to discuss humanitarian issues. This is a mutual recognition by Azerbaijan and Artsakh of each other, the borders fixing. Refugees can return only after the settlement of all political issues and on a mutual basis. That is, there can be no return of Azerbaijani refugees without the return of Armenian refugees to Baku and other settlements of Azerbaijan. If this does not happen, no one-way action will have any effect. In this regard, there can be no one-sided steps," he added.