Friday, December 17, 2004

Russian Information Agency Novosti

Russian Information Agency Novosti: "AZERBAIJAN'S PRESIDENT ON RELATIONS WITH IRAN, KARABAKH SETTLEMENT


BAKU, December 17 (RIA Novosti) - The dialogue between Azerbaijan and Iran proves that normal relations are possible of the countries do not interfere in each other's affairs, Azerbaijan's President Ilkham Aliyev told journalists on Friday.

In his words, Azerbaijan does not interfere in Iran's domestic affairs. "We adhere to this principle and I am happy that Iranian-Azeri relations are being created on this basis," Mr. Aliyev said. The two countries are building their relations on the basis of mutual understanding and respect, therefore, "Iranian-Azeri dialogue has been recently intensified," the head of state stressed.

Speaking about Iran's position on the Armenian-Azeri conflict, Ilkham Aliyev said that "Iran had often claimed its support for Azerbaijan's territorial integrity and backed Azerbaijan in this conflict, including within international organizations."

According to the president, Iran's relations with Armenia and other states are the sovereign affairs of the Iranian side. However, "we live in a very sensitive region", therefore, such factors as the violation of Azerbaijan's territorial integrity should be taken into account in interstate relations in the South Caucasus, Azerbaijan's leader said. In his opinion, "regional countries and international organizations should express their clear-cut position on this issue".

At all forums Ilkham Aliyev stresses that Armenia is the conflicting side because Baku is conducting negotiations on the Nagorny Karabakh settlement with Yerevan. "If Armenia claims that we should negotiate with Nagorny Karabakh it should step aside, withdraw troops from Azeri territories and stop allocating money to Nagorny Karabakh form its budget. Then will shall settle the conflict by all means in a short while," Mr. Aliyev said at the session of the UN General Assembly in New York in late November which focused on the situation on the occupied Azeri lands on Baku's initiative.

According to President Aliyev, "all discussions of the Armenian-Azeri conflict in the UN, Council of Europe and other international organizations aim to bring to public the occupationist nature of Armenia and, accordingly, to play a role in the conflict settlement.""

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