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EU voices further support to OSCE Minsk Group on Karabakh issue

15 December 2016 11:48 (UTC+04:00)
EU voices further support to OSCE Minsk Group on Karabakh issue

By Rashid Shirinov

The European Union will continue to support the OSCE Minsk Group on the settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

The remark was made by Malena Mard, head of the EU Delegation to Azerbaijan on December 15 in Baku.

Mard noted that Herbert Salber, the EU special representative for the South Caucasus, met with Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov on the sidelines of the OSCE Ministerial Council meeting in Hamburg.

During the year, Salber visited Azerbaijan five times, said Mard further expressing hope that these visits will also continue in 2017.

During his last visit to Azerbaijan in late October, Salber held talks with President Ilham Aliyev, Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov, Minister of Defense, Colonel-General Zakir Hasanov and Chair of the State Committee for Refugees and IDPs Ali Hasanov.

Salber stated that the conflict should be resolved in peace, and the European Union is ready to support a peaceful resolution of the conflict.

Moreover, Salber met with Azerbaijani IDPs living in Barda region. He inspected the conditions created at the settlement for 558 IDP families there.

“All the necessary conditions have been created here. I understand the conditions of refugees. Their main desire is to return to their homeland," he said after the visit.

Azerbaijan and Armenia fought a lengthy war that ended with the signing of a fragile ceasefire in 1994. Since the war, Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan's territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding regions. More than 20,000 Azerbaijanis were killed and over 1 million were displaced as a result of the large-scale hostilities.

While the OSCE Minsk Group acted as the only mediator in resolution of the conflict, the occupation of the territory of the sovereign State with its internationally recognized boundaries has been left out of due attention of the international community for years.

Armenia ignores four UN Security Council resolutions on immediate withdrawal from the occupied territory of Azerbaijan, thus keeping tension high in the region.

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Rashid Shirinov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @RashidShirinov

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