President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has today received French co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group Stephane Visconti.
The co-chair extended French President Francois Hollande's greetings to the head of state. Saying that he paid a visit to Azerbaijan 15 years ago, Visconti said he is deeply impressed by rapid development processes taking place in the country and its accomplishments.
President Aliyev expressed his hope that as a co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group France will continue playing an active role in the settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
The head of state underlined that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has run for many years, and reiterated Azerbaijan's interest in finding a soonest possible solution to the dispute.
Ilham Aliyev thanked for the greetings of the French president, and asked Visconti to extend his greetings to Francois Hollande.
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.