NATO encourages Karabakh conflict sides to continue path to negotiated solution
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.