‘Albanian government recognizes Azerbaijan`s territorial integrity’

“Albanian government recognizes Azerbaijan`s territorial integrity, backs the peaceful settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh within international law and Azerbaijan`s territorial integrity, and calls Armenia to withdraw its armed forces from the occupied Azerbaijani territories,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs of Albania Ditmir Bushati responding to question of the European Azerbaijan Society regarding the approach of Albanian government to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
AzerTAc presents the full text of the interview:

- The United Nations Security Council has condemned the continuous occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh as well as seven bordering regions and called for an immediate withdrawal of Armenian troops in a number of resolutions. Do you support these resolutions?
- The Republic of Albania shares the position of the international community that Nagorno-Karabakh is an integral part of the Republic of Azerbaijan. This is a position based on international law and, as such, we subscribe to it in full.
- Almost 20 percent of the Azerbaijani territory has been occupied by foreign troops for the past twenty years. As a result of Armenian occupation policy about 1 million refugees and internally displaced persons (IDP) have not been allowed to return to their homeland. This in turn means that Azerbaijan has the highest IDP population in the world. To what extent do you feel bound by the principle of territorial integrity of one of your partner countries of the Eastern neighborhood and, as such, bound to the rights and fate of the refugees and IDPs?
- As one of the principles in the United Nations Charter, territorial integrity forms one of the cornerstones of today`s international legal order. Following both the spirit and the letter of the Charter, Albania is strongly convinced that the only way to achieve a permanent solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict will be through peaceful and negotiated means, in accordance with international law. Together with our partners and friends in the OSCE and the European Union, we are committed to working towards a quick resolution of this conflict. We are also keenly aware of how a protraction of the conflict will affect the lives of the refugees and IDPs. This makes the necessity of a swift resolution even more prominent, and any steps that hamper the efforts of the parties towards a peaceful solution deserve our condemnation.
- Is the close political and economic partnership between Azerbaijan and Europe and the Western world in a wider sense mirrored in the regional support Azerbaijan receives on the non-impairment of its rights?
- The particular attention that Albania attaches to the region is in large part due to the strategic importance of the South Caucasus. The region is playing an increasing role in meeting Europe`s energy needs, and the new Trans-Adriatic Pipeline is positioning Albania as a future user of Caspian gas. Not only that, but this growing significance of the South Caucasus, thanks in no small measure to its pivotal role in the diversification of Europe`s energy supply, is bound to have an effect on the security and stability of other regions, like the Balkans. That is why we consider that a quick resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, in accordance with international law, is in the interest of all involved.
- Despite repeated negotiation rounds in the context of the OSCE-Minsk Group the process of conflict resolution is stagnating. Now, a greater involvement of European Countries is solicited.
Are you willing to take on an intensified role in the peace process and to generate clear impulses in accordance with European interests in order to resolve the conflict quickly and peacefully and, thus, ensure stability in an important neighboring region?
- Albania has been traveling the long road towards European integration for more than two decades now, which has made us appreciate the significance of looking at international law as the frame of reference for our actions. We believe that only by seriously addressing the demands of the international community, whether in the shape of the United Nations or other forms of international cooperation, will countries be able to prosper. In the case of Nagorno-Karabakh, the UN Security Council has adopted several resolutions where it demands the withdrawal of foreign troops. Albania fully supports this demand and calls for the immediate withdrawal of the military forces of Armenia from Nagorno-Karabakh and the seven surrounding regions.


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