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Azerbaijani Official: Minsk Group Favors Armenia In Karabakh Dispute

Novruz Mammadov (file photo)
Novruz Mammadov (file photo)
BAKU -- Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev's foreign-policy adviser has said he sees double standards and clear evidence of "Christian solidarity" by the Minsk Group members in talks over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Novruz Mammadov told RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service that the Russian, French, and U.S. co-chairs of the Minsk Group might also be manipulating the talks on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict for professional reasons.

"The co-chairs are interested in prolonging the conflict so they can travel to and fro and maintain their positions," Mammadov said.

"Or maybe [U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and Minsk co-Chairman] Matthew Bryza himself is interested in ensuring his career and his job by misinforming [Secretary of State] Hillary Clinton and [President] Barack Obama" by suggesting progress is being made in the talks.

Mammadov said Armenia's position at the meeting between Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian and Aliyev in Prague on May 7 was "not constructive," and accused the Minsk co-chairs of supporting the Armenian position.

He added that the Minsk co-chairs are falsely portraying the talks as positive, but said the Azerbaijanis "are not going to give [their] territory to Armenians. This will never happen. Let the co-chairs, even the whole world support Armenia. [It will not matter], it will never happen."

Bryza has said the Prague meeting was "the most substantive exchange of views" between the two leaders and a "conceptual breakthrough."

The Minsk Group was created in 1992 by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to mediate a peaceful settlement to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Along with Bryza, the current co-chairmen are Bernard Fassier of France and Yury Merzlyakov of Russia.