By Rashid Shirinov
The Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict may “flare up with renewed vigor”, as it is the result of geopolitical games, Novruz Mammadov, assistant to Azerbaijan’s president for foreign policy issues, told RIA Novosti agency on July 17.
He noted that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has been ongoing for more than 25 years, and 20 percent of the internationally recognized territories of Azerbaijan are under Armenia’s occupation.
"As a result, more than one million people became refugees and IDPs," said Mammadov. "However, for some reason, there are unabated attempts to present this issue as a "frozen conflict."
Armenia captured Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding regions from Azerbaijan in a war that followed the Soviet breakup in 1991. More than 20,000 Azerbaijanis were killed and nearly 1 million were displaced as a result of the war.
Large-scale hostilities ended with a Russia-brokered ceasefire in 1994 but Armenia continued the occupation in defiance of four UN Security Council resolutions calling for immediate and unconditional withdrawal. In addition, peace talks mediated by Russia, France and the U.S. within the OSCE Minsk Group have produced no results so far.
Novruz Mammadov said it can be stated with certainty that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is the result of geopolitical games, and the result won’t change as long as these games continue. "Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine are a vivid confirmation of this," he noted.
Mammadov added that although international mediators advocate the preservation of Azerbaijan's territorial integrity, meanwhile, for some reason, they prefer not to take an unambiguous position.
“We expect concrete steps from the [OSCE Minsk Group] co-chair countries, as well as from the world community, for a fair resolution of the conflict,” he added.
He recalled that the OSCE Minsk Group, which includes precisely those countries that “can, if necessary, have their say on the international arena”, is engaged in the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Azerbaijan has long ago stated it is ready to settle the conflict through direct negotiations with Armenia with mediation of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs. However, the Armenian side is constantly trying to make up reasons to avoid a constructive dialogue and preserve the unacceptable status quo in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Rashid Shirinov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @RashidShirinov
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