The existence of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict undermines peace, security, stability and comprehensive economic development of the South Caucasus region, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov said.
He made the remarks Feb. 22 in Ankara at the international conference “Khojaly Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity and Terrorism,” the Foreign Ministry told APA.
Mammadyarov noted that as a result of Armenian aggression the internationally recognized borders of the Republic of Azerbaijan remain violated for decades.
He recalled that as a result of Armenian ethnic cleansing policy more than one million Azerbaijanis became refugees and IDPs.
“The norms and principles of international law were flagrantly violated. The position of international organizations is well known. The UN Security Council adopted 4 resolutions demanding immediate, full and unconditional withdrawal of Armenian occupying forces from occupied territories of Azerbaijan. Unfortunately, none of them was implemented,” said Mammadyarov.
The minister said Azerbaijan supports peace and willing to resolve the conflict by peaceful means.
“Our position remains unchanged. The conflict must be resolved on the basis of sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of internationally recognized borders of Azerbaijan,” he said. “The soonest and just resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict on the basis of mentioned principles will end injustice and at the same time will contribute to peace and security in the region.”
The FM underlined Azerbaijan’s efforts aimed at ensuring peace and stability in the region.
“Our country supports the efforts of international community in fight against terrorism and makes contributions to this end. Unfortunately, recent terror acts committed in brotherly Turkey lead to death and injury of dozens of innocent people. In this regard, I would like to state that as a victim of terrorism, Azerbaijan strongly condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and stays side by side with Turkey,” said Mammadyarov.
The Azerbaijani FM continued: “It is regretful that in today’s world some politicians and so-called researchers blame Islam in “serving” terrorism. I would like to express our deepest concern over the increased cases of religious intolerance, in particular Islamophobia and attempts to associate religions with terrorism It is miserable that in some countries basic rights and freedoms of Muslims are objects of violation; radicals treat Muslims as potential terrorists. In this context, I would like to proudly state that Azerbaijan is a tolerant country, where all people with different religious and confessional affiliations live and exercise their religious rites without any restrictions, discrimination or prejudice. Our people proudly hold this salient feature and live side by side with religious, confessional and national minorities. The Azerbaijani government attaches great importance to this issue.”
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 Dec.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.