NATO en­cour­ages Karabakh con­flict sides to con­tinue path to ne­go­ti­ated so­lu­tion

Azer News - - Karabakh Conflict - By Rashid Shiri­nov

N“The un­re­solved NagornoKarabakh con­flict is a mat­ter of con­cern. It is clear that there is no mil­i­tary so­lu­tion to this con­flict,” a NATO of­fi­cial told Trend on May 30.

The of­fi­cial fur­ther noted that NATO is not di­rectly in­volved in the con­flict set­tle­ment process, but it sup­ports the work of the OSCE Minsk Group in this re­gard.

“We also en­cour­age both par­ties to con­tinue the path to a ne­go­ti­ated so­lu­tion and avoid any new es­ca­la­tion,” they added.

Azer­bai­jan and Ar­me­nia fought a lengthy war that ended with sign­ing of a frag­ile cease­fire in 1994. Since the war, Ar­me­nian armed forces have oc­cu­pied 20 per­cent of Azer­bai­jan's ter­ri­tory, in­clud­ing Nagorno-Karabakh and seven sur­round­ing re­gions. More than 20,000 Azer­bai­ja­nis were killed and over 1 mil­lion were dis­placed as a re­sult of the large-scale hos­til­i­ties.

While the OSCE Minsk Group acted as the only me­di­a­tor in res­o­lu­tion of the con­flict, the oc­cu­pa­tion of the ter­ri­tory of the sov­er­eign state with its in­ter­na­tion­ally rec­og­nized bound­aries has been left out of due at­ten­tion of the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity for years.

Un­til now, Ar­me­nia ig­nores four UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil res­o­lu­tions on im­me­di­ate with­drawal from the oc­cu­pied ter­ri­tory of Azer­bai­jan, thus keep­ing ten­sion high in the re­gion.

The min­istry made the re­marks com­ment­ing on the re­cent state­ment of the Ar­me­nian side, which al­leged that di­rect in­volve­ment of the il­le­gal regime es­tab­lished in the oc­cu­pied ter­ri­to­ries of Azer­bai­jan would al­low en­sur­ing a last­ing peace. Ar­me­nia ar­gued that the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs also al­legedly spoke of this.

"Ar­me­nia, just like Azer­bai­jan, is a mem­ber of the OSCE Minsk Group. State­ments on the NagornoKarabakh con­flict's set­tle­ment made by its of­fi­cials are a po­si­tion of one of the par­ties of the ne­go­ti­a­tion process. The Minsk Group co-chair­man­ship has its ap­proaches, which have been re­peat­edly voiced, in­clud­ing by Rus­sian rep­re­sen­ta­tives," the min­istry said.

Azer­bai­jani For­eign Min­istry’s Spokesman Hik­met Ha­jiyev pre­vi­ously told Trend that for the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity, Ar­me­nia's such friv­o­lous and un­rea­son­able state­ments once again prove that Ar­me­nia pur­sues a de­struc­tive pol­icy in the process of the con­flict set­tle­ment, and is en­gaged in pop­ulism and po­lit­i­cal ad­ven­ture.

"Ar­me­nia - which bears in­ter­na­tional le­gal re­spon­si­bil­ity for the use of force against Azer­bai­jan and the mil­i­tary oc­cu­pa­tion of its ter­ri­to­ries - is the party to the con­flict, and the fact that Azer­bai­jan has been ne­go­ti­at­ing with the ag­gres­sor Ar­me­nia for more than 25 years, is the big­gest con­ces­sion to the ag­gres­sor coun­try. Ter­mi­na­tion of the pol­icy of oc­cu­pa­tion and eth­nic cleans­ing and with­drawal of troops from the oc­cu­pied Azer­bai­jani lands in ac­cor­dance with the re­quire­ments of the UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil res­o­lu­tions will en­sure es­tab­lish­ment of peace and se­cu­rity in the re­gion," Ha­jiyev said.

The con­flict be­tween the two South Cau­ca­sus coun­tries be­gan in 1988 when Ar­me­nia made ter­ri­to­rial claims against Azer­bai­jan. As a re­sult of the en­su­ing war, in 1992 Ar­me­nian armed forces oc­cu­pied 20 per­cent of Azer­bai­jan, in­clud­ing the Nagorno-Karabakh re­gion and seven sur­round­ing dis­tricts.

The 1994 cease­fire agree­ment was fol­lowed by peace ne­go­ti­a­tions. Ar­me­nia has not yet im­ple­mented four UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil res­o­lu­tions on with­drawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the sur­round­ing dis­tricts.

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