Discussion of a specific plan for settling the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and implementation of this plan should be ensured at a possible meeting of the Azerbaijani and Armenian presidents, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov said in an interview with RIA Novosti, APA reported.
At the initiative of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs, a meeting of Azerbaijani and Armenian foreign ministers, Elmar Mammadyarov and Edward Nalbandian was held in Brussels, where it was suggested to hold a meeting of the two countries’ presidents.
“Accordingly, the foreign ministers must coordinate this proposal with heads of state. Meetings are an important element in the process of the conflict resolution,” said Mammadyarov.
“If a meeting is organized at the presidential level, I believe it is necessary to ensure discussion of the plan, proposed by the [OSCE Minsk Group] co-chairs, on the conflict resolution and [the plan’s] implementation. This is why we always put emphasis on the need for the negotiations to be substantive,” the Azerbaijani FM added.
He noted that following the presidents’ meeting in St. Petersburg, the Armenian side continues to resort to various excuses and provocations with the aim of preventing the resolution of the conflict through substantive negotiations.
“Even for the continuation of the negotiation process, the Armenian side is trying to put forward conditions,” said Mammadyarov. “If we follow the chronology of events, it becomes clear that since June, Armenia has begun deliberately aggravating the situation before the visit of the [OSCE Minsk Group] co-chairs to the region and the meeting of the foreign ministers in Brussels.”
“A two-year-old girl and her grandmother were killed, another woman was injured as a result of shelling of the Alkhanli village of Azerbaijan’s Fuzuli district by Armenian armed forces on July 4 of this year,” he said.
“Recent events, including the fighting in April last year, once again proved that Armenia’s refusal to withdraw its armed forces from the occupied Azerbaijani territories made the region face serious threats,” the FM added.
He stressed that Armenia seeks by all means to continue the occupation of Azerbaijani territories and maintain the status quo.
“Therefore, various calls such as “this conflict has no military solution, the parties must show political will and respect the ceasefire regime,” must necessarily be accompanied by demands to Armenia on the withdrawal of its troops from the occupied Azerbaijani territories. In this context, it is necessary to exert political and diplomatic pressure on Armenia in a bid to force it to peace,” added Mammadyarov.
The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict entered its modern phase when the Armenian SRR made territorial claims against the Azerbaijani SSR in 1988.
A fierce war broke out between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan. As a result of the war, Armenian armed forces occupied some 20 percent of Azerbaijani territory which includes Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent districts (Lachin, Kalbajar, Aghdam, Fuzuli, Jabrayil, Gubadli and Zangilan), and over a million Azerbaijanis became refugees and internally displaced people.
The military operations finally came to an end when Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in Bishkek in 1994.
Dealing with the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is the OSCE Minsk Group, which was created after the meeting of the CSCE (OSCE after the Budapest summit held in December 1994) Ministerial Council in Helsinki on 24 March 1992. The Group’s members include Azerbaijan, Armenia, Russia, the United States, France, Italy, Germany, Turkey, Belarus, Finland and Sweden.
Besides, the OSCE Minsk Group has a co-chairmanship institution, comprised of Russian, the US and French co-chairs, which began operating in 1996.
Resolutions 822, 853, 874 and 884 of the UN Security Council, which were passed in short intervals in 1993, and other resolutions adopted by the UN General Assembly, PACE, OSCE, OIC, and other organizations require Armenia to unconditionally withdraw its troops from Nagorno-Karabakh.