Azerbaijan urges Armenia to partake in peace talks with political will
The OSCE Minsk Group cochairs, tasked in mediation of the peace talks over the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, have finalized their visit next to the conflict region to get acquainted with the real situation on the ground and draft further actions for resolution of the problem
During the visit, Ambassadors Igor Popov of Russia, Richard Hoagland of the U.S. and Stephane Visconti of France, together with Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Ambassador Andrzej Kasprzyk, traveled to Yerevan, Armenia-occupied Nagorno-Karabakh and then to Baku.
President Ilham Aliyev received the Minsk Group co-chairs on June 19. President noted that Armenia committed another military provocation against Azerbaijan on the line of contact on the eve of the cochairs’ visit to Baku, and killed one Azerbaijani soldier.
Armenian armed forces have intensified their attacks on the Azerbaijani positions over the past few days, thus killing the Azerbaijani soldier on June 15. The Azerbaijani side retaliated the provocations and six soldiers of the Armenian armed forces were eliminated on the line of contact, Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry reported on June 17.
“As usual the Azerbaijani army gave an adequate retaliation, and you are aware of the results,” said the head of state. “This has not come as a surprise to me because as always before some important event or your visit, Armenia commits such provocations.”
The fact that the Armenian militaries intensified frontline provocations ahead of the co-chair’s visit to Baku is the clear evidence that Armenia tries to undermine the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict through substantive negotiations and maintain the status quo in the occupied Azerbaijani lands.
President said Azerbaijan is committed to the ceasefire regime, noting that the Armenian side incites the Azerbaijani side so that later to accuse Azerbaijan of violating the ceasefire.
President Ilham Aliyev said the situation on the line of contact has been relatively calm recently, adding that this is an important factor to speed up the negotiations. “However, the developments have clearly showed that Armenia tries to disrupt the Minsk Group co-chairs' activities at all costs,” he added.
OSCE Minsk Group’s Russian cochair Igor Popov, in turn, noted that this serious ceasefire violation during the visit of the co-chairs to Azerbaijan causes deep disappointment.
Later in the day, the Minsk Group met with Azerbaijan’s Defense Minister, Colonel-General Zakir Hasanov. The sides discussed the operational situation on the contact line between the Azerbaijani and Armenian troops.
The Armenian armed units daily breach the ceasefire regime by firing Azerbaijani positions, even settlements near the frontline. Moreover, Armenian units regularly try to carry out acts of sabotage on the contact line between the troops and by this aggravate the situation. The Armenian militaries use largecaliber machine guns, mortars and grenade launchers while breaching the ceasefire.
The Minsk Group co-chairs also met with Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov in Baku. The minister noted at the meeting that Armenia’s recent provocations on the line of contact between Azerbaijani and Armenian troops are deliberate and aim at escalating the situation and disrupting the negotiations.
The sides emphasized the importance of intensifying the negotiation process, as well as importance of changing the current status-quo, which is unsustainable and unacceptable, through substantive negotiations.
Mammadyarov also noted that the withdrawal of the Armenian armed forces from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan is crucial for achieving progress in the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs also met with the Azerbaijani community of Nagorno-Karabakh in Baku.
Upon completion of their visit to Azerbaijani capital, OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs issued a statement on the results of the visit to the region.
The statement noted that the main purpose of the co-chairs’ visit was to discuss the position of the Azerbaijani and Armenian sides towards the next steps in the NagornoKarabakh peace process and the overall situation in the conflict zone.
“In their talks in Baku, the cochairs expressed deep concern over the recent violations of the ceasefire, resulting in casualties on the line of contact on the eve of their visit to Azerbaijan,” reads the statement.
They encouraged the sides of the Armenia-Azerbaijan NagornoKarabakh conflict to consider measures that would reduce tensions on the line of contact and the international border between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
The co-chairs also called upon the parties to re-engage in substantive negotiations on the settlement of the conflict. “This is the only way to bring a lasting peace to the people of the region, who expect and deserve progress in the settlement of the conflict,” reads the statement.
It was also noted that the cochairs will travel to Vienna to brief the members of the Minsk Group on July 3. They also plan to meet again soon with the Azerbaijani and Armenian foreign ministers to discuss modalities of the forthcoming work.
Foreign Minister Mammadyarov, commenting on the results of the cochairs' visit to Baku, told Trend that Azerbaijan supports the call of the Minsk Group co-chairs to continue substantive negotiations based on good intentions and political will. "The Azerbaijani side has repeatedly stated that it is ready for substantive negotiations on the settlement of the conflict," the minister noted.
Mammadyarov added that the time has come to take serious steps to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
"The status quo based on the occupation must be changed," minister said, adding that Armenia must put an end to lies and various stipulations, and take part in the negotiations with good intentions and political will.
Meanwhile, the fact that there are no breakthrough results so far in the resolution of the NagornoKarabakh conflict is upsetting the Azerbaijani side. State officials periodically make statements aimed at increasing the involvement of the Minsk Group in the settlement of the problem.
Deputy Prime Minister of Azerbaijan Ali Ahmadov has recently noted that the Minsk Group should not consider its mission complete by only visiting the region. “The Minsk Group members have long been operating, but no necessary steps have been taken for fair solution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,” he said.
The main call of the Minsk Group should be such that this problem would be finally solved, said Ahmadov, stressing that the delay of the conflict resolution means continuation of injustice against people.
Today, the Armenian side keeps attacking the Azerbaijani troops on the frontline every day. It means that Armenia, aggressor country that occupied 20 percent of internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan, keeps ignoring the visits of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs to the region and their calls. Baku has repeatedly expressed its consent to come to the negotiating table with Armenia to solve the conflict by peaceful means, but Armenia continues to play for time and avoids substantive negotiations in order to preserve the inadmissible status quo in Nagorno-Karabakh.