Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov met with the Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group Stephane Visconti, Igor Popov, Richard Hoagland and Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Andrzej Kasprzyk on Monday.
The importance of changing the current status-quo, which is unsustainable and unacceptable, via substantive negotiations was emphasized at the meeting.
Minister Mammadyarov stressed that based on the proposals on the table, the withdrawal of the armed forces of Armenia from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan is a crucial element for achieving progress in conflict settlement process.
The Azerbaijani minister drew attention to the latest provocations by Armenia on the front line, and noted that Armenia, by escalating the situation at the front in a deliberate manner, pursues the goal of undermining the conflict resolution process via such provocations and escalation of situation.
The foreign minister also mentioned the illegal activities, including establishment of settlements, destruction of cultural heritage, organization of illegal flights and other illegal economic actions conducted by Armenia in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan. He added that such illegal activities by Armenia cause serious impediment to the conflict negotiation process.
Mammadyarov and the co-chairs also underscored the need to intensify the negotiation process.
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.