FM: Azerbaijan expects progress in 2019 regarding Armenian troops’ withdrawal from occupied lands

Tue 25 Dec 2018 10:24 GMT | 14:24 Local Time

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Azerbaijan hopes that in the coming 2019, certain progress will be achieved in terms of the withdrawal of the Armenian armed forces from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan and the normalization of relations between the two countries, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov said in an interview with Trend.

The minister noted that Azerbaijan's position regarding the settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has been repeatedly voiced at the highest level within all international platforms.

"The conflict should be resolved on the basis of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Azerbaijan within its internationally recognized borders. As for the legal basis of the settlement, it is necessary to remind that this basis is primarily constituted by the four resolutions of the UN Security Council adopted in 1993, which is responsible for ensuring peace and security throughout the world, numerous resolutions and decisions of other international organizations (including the OSCE, Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Non-Aligned Movement, GUAM, NATO, European Parliament, etc.), as well as joint documents adopted in bilateral and multilateral formats," said Mammadyarov.

He went on to say that unfortunately, the negotiations that have been carried out for many years yielded no result.

"However, the recent developments taking place in Armenia, as well as the talks that took place between the Azerbaijani president and the Armenian prime minister on the sidelines of the CIS summits in Dushanbe and St. Petersburg, as well as my three meetings with the Armenian foreign minister give grounds for certain optimism regarding the progress in the negotiation process. In a joint statement by heads of the delegations of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chair countries and the foreign ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia dated Dec. 6 this year, adopted within the OSCE Ministerial Council in Milan, agreement was reached to continue negotiations on a fair and lasting peaceful settlement of the conflict," he said.

"This means that the format of negotiations remains unchanged," Mammadyarov added. "The document also reflects the call for compliance with the agreement reached in Dushanbe at the level of the leaders of the two states and for taking concrete steps to prepare the people of both countries for peace. Another important point is that the joint statement reflects the idea of ​​the need to conduct intensive results-oriented negotiations in the near future at the level of Azerbaijani and Armenian authorities in order to encourage a fair and lasting settlement. I would like to point out that this approach is fully supported by the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs."

"In general, I consider it appropriate to note that after the election held in December this year, the current authorities, having received a full-fledged mandate from the people of Armenia, should demonstrate the political will to resolve the conflict and, in accordance with good-neighborliness philosophy, act in the name of achieving peace, stability and sustainable development in the region," he said. "I believe that the Armenian people, having given such a mandate, thereby already expressed their position."

"Progress in resolving the conflict, having created conditions for peace, security and stability in the entire region, primarily will open up opportunities for economic growth in Armenia itself," he noted.

"Our country, just like it ensures safety of its citizens-representatives of other ethnic groups, is ready to do the same in accordance with its international obligations regarding citizens of Armenian origin in Nagorno-Karabakh region and to grant them the right of self-governing at the high level within the internationally recognized borders of Azerbaijan," Mammadyarov noted.

"The Azerbaijani community of the Nagorno-Karabakh region of our country is ready to return to their homes, and this aspect was again voiced in the recently released statement of the community," he said. "If you remember, some time ago there were contacts between the Azerbaijani and Armenian communities of the Nagorno-Karabakh region, but, unfortunately, as a result of the actions of the previous authorities of Armenia, these contacts were interrupted. You know, it is impossible to take the land and move with it to another place. After the settlement of the conflict, of course, these two communities will have to live together. That is why it is important to restore contacts between the Azerbaijani and Armenian communities of Nagorno-Karabakh region and encourage these contacts."

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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