By Rashid Shirinov
Discussion of a specific plan for settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and its implementation should be ensured at a possible meeting of the Azerbaijani and Armenian presidents, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov told RIA Novosti on July 17.
Last week, the minister met with his Armenian counterpart Edward Nalbandian in Brussels. At the meeting, organized by the OSCE Minsk Group, the co-chairs proposed a meeting at the level of presidents later this year.
“Accordingly, the foreign ministers must coordinate this proposal with heads of state. Meetings are an important element in the process of resolving the conflict,” said Mammadyarov.
The minister also noted that “these meetings should not be conducted for the sake of meetings.”
"If a meeting at the presidential level is organized, I think it is necessary to ensure discussion of the plan, proposed by the [OSCE Minsk Group] co-chairs, on the resolution of the conflict and its implementation. That's why we always underline the need for substantive negotiations,” Mammadyarov added.
The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region 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. The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations.
Armenia still controls fifth part of Azerbaijan's territory and rejects implementing four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding districts.
Baku has repeatedly expressed its consent to come to the negotiating table with Yerevan to solve Nagorno-Karabakh the conflict by peaceful means, but Armenia continues to play for time and avoids substantive negotiations in order to preserve the inadmissible status quo in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Rashid Shirinov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @RashidShirinov
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