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Estonia respects principle of territorial integrity - president


BAKU, Jan 14, BNS - Commenting on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves underlined one more time that Estonia respected the principle of territorial integrity of countries.

Ilves, now on an official visit to Azerbaijan, gave an interview to Azerbaijan's state television answering to questions about cooperation between the two countries, neighbourhood policy of the European Union, the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, energy security, the situation of the Azeri community in Estonia and other aspects of relations between the two countries.

Ilves described the relations between the two countries as "very good", but added that they would have to be deepened, the Azerbaijani news agency Azertac reported.

Speaking about the EU neighborhood policy, Ilves emphasized the role of Azerbaijan in the region, particularly taking into consideration the present energy security situation.

The Estonian president said that the present gas row between Russia and Ukraine showed one more time that it was dangerous for Europe to depend on one supplier alone. He also underlined the need to more seriously deal with building of the Nabucco gas pipeline.

Ilves credited the role of the Estonian Azeri community in the development of relations between the two coutries. He said that Estonia could be proud of its Azeri community whose members, citizens of Estonia, actively participated in political life.

Speaking about the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Ilves said that Estonia had alwayas respected the principle of territorial integrity, pointing out that war had never solved any problems. Ilves added that the Nagorno-Karabakh issue was not a problem for Azerbaijan alone but to many countries.

Ilves was the first Estonian head of state to visit Azerbaijan and he is in Baku at Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev's invitation from January 12 to 15.

The president is accompanied during the visit by Economic Affairs and Communications Minister Juhan Parts and a nearly 20-strong business delegation.

Azerbaijan and Armenia waged a war over Nagorno-Karabakh from February 1988 until May 1994. Because of the war Azerbaijan lost 9 percent of its territory and more than 800,000 fugitives were forced to return to Azerbaijan.

After the war a mainly Armenian-populated Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh with its capital in Stepanakert was established and only the Republic of Armenia has recognized its independence.



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