Baku. Ramiz Mikayiloglu – APA. Participants in the international conference “Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict: main obstacles and prospects of the settlement. View from Armenia and Azerbaijan,” organized in Baku, have issued a statement addressing the presidents and peoples of Azerbaijan and Armenia, confirming that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict must be settled within Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity.
The statement emphasizes that the April fighting signaled a high risk of war.
“The military expenses could rather be spent on improving people’s well-being. Armenian and Azerbaijani people are tired of this tension. Now we should give up the idea that some outsider will come and help us. As a result of this conference, we have decided to take joint steps,” said the statement.
The participants noted that there are all necessary conditions for a peaceful resolution of the conflict.
“Constructive steps should be taken. A peaceful settlement will give impetus to economic development of both Azerbaijan and Armenia. It will also contribute to the strengthening of peace between the nations. Armenia must withdraw from occupied territories, and Azerbaijani refugees and internally displaced persons should return to their homes,” said the statement.
More than 30,000 Armenians live peacefully in Azerbaijan, the participants said, adding. “There is no obstacle to Armenians living peacefully in Azerbaijan. The idea that Armenians and Azerbaijanis cannot coexist must be deserted. Rather the idea of giving high autonomy to Nagorno-Karabakh within the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan must be considered and preference should be given to dialogue between the Azerbaijani and Armenian communities of Nagorno-Karabakh. In this regard, the UN Security Council resolutions must be implemented. Taking into account the Helsinki Final Act, steps should be taken to ensure the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.”
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.