FM: Armenian army presence in Azerbaijani territories major impediment to Karabakh conflict settlement

The unlawful presence of the Armenian armed forces in the territories of Azerbaijan remains the main cause of violence in the conflict zone and is the major impediment to political settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, said Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov.

He made the remarks at the meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Visegrad Group (V4) and the Eastern Partnership countries in Budapest on Aug. 31, the foreign ministry told .

Mammadyarov said today the sovereignty and territorial integrity of four out of six EaP countries continue to be undermined due to the existing conflicts.

“Failure to eliminate consequences of the ongoing violation of the principles of international law, as well as misinterpretation and selective application of these principles in the context of the conflict resolution undermines rules-based European order,” he said.

It is already third decade that Armenia – a member of the EaP has been using force against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of another member of the EAP and continues to keep the one-fifth of Azerbaijan’s internationally recognized territories under military occupation, the foreign minister noted.

He stressed that Armenia carried out notorious ethnic cleansing on all seized lands of Azerbaijan which totally contradicts to the code of conduct adopted in Europe and the world.

“The unlawful presence of the armed forces of Armenia in the territories of Azerbaijan remains the main cause of violence in the conflict zone and is the major impediment to political settlement of the conflict,” added Mammadyarov.

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict entered its modern phase when the Armenian SRR made territorial claims against the Azerbaijani SSR in1988.

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 OSCEMinsk Group, which was created after the meeting of the CSCE (OSCE after the Budapest summit held in December 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. APA