Baku. Malahat Najafova – APA. Raising the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh’s status at the first stage undermines the peace process, said Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov.
Mammadyarov made the remarks at a joint press conference with his counterpart from Bosnia and Herzegovina Igor Crnadak in Baku Dec. 1.
The FM noted that Yerevan has recently begun to make unpleasant statements which have a negative impact in the peace process.
“The course of the negotiations on the settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is not secret for anybody. The document that is under discussion also says that Armenian troops must be withdrawn from the occupied territories in stages,” Mammadyarov said, adding. “The status of Nagorno-Karabakh is also being discussed during the negotiations. Raising the issue of Karabakh’s status at first stage means undermining the peace process. The Azerbaijani community must return to Karabakh as they are also residents of the region.”
The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict entered its modern phase when the Armenian SRR made territorial claims against the Azerbaijani SSR in 1988.
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 OSCE Minsk Group, which was created after the meeting of the CSCE (OSCE after the Budapest summit held in Dec.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.