By Rashid Shirinov
Another round of talks to find a peaceful solution to the settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has finalized in Vienna. Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov met with the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs and his Armenian counterpart Edward Nalbandian on December 6 to discuss the ways to move forward the peace process .
First, Mammadyarov had a meeting with the co-chairs – Igor Popov of Russia, Stephane Visconti of France, and Andrew Schofer of the U.S., and then he met with Nalbandian under the co-chairs’ auspices.
During the meeting, the sides held intensive and concrete discussions on the existing proposals in connection with the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
The parties also agreed to hold the next meeting of Azerbaijani and Armenian foreign ministers in the second half of January next year.
“Azerbaijan will continue its efforts together with the OSCE MG Co-Chairs for the soonest resolution of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict via substantial talks,” Hikmat Hajiyev, Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry’s Spokesman tweeted on December 6.
He also noted that Azerbaijani FM said that the meeting in Vienna was positive and constructive.
The long-standing Nagorno-Karabakh conflict began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, Armenian armed forces occupied in 1992 as much as 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the country’s Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding regions.
During the war, more than 20,000 Azerbaijanis were killed and over 1 million were displaced as a result of the large-scale hostilities. Large-scale hostilities ended with a Russia-brokered ceasefire in 1994.
Since then, the OSCE Minsk Group has been working to find a peaceful solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Unfortunately, no major progress has been achieved in the conflict resolution so far. The main reason for this is the unwillingness of the Armenian side to join substantive negotiations and Yerevan’s attempts to preserve the unacceptable status quo in Nagorno-Karabakh by any means.
Until now, the occupier country 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 regions. However, no world powers have yet exerted the due pressure on Armenia in order to make the occupier leave Azerbaijani lands.
Azerbaijan has long ago stated it is ready to settle the conflict through direct negotiations with Armenia through mediation of the Minsk Group. However, the Armenian side is obviously not interested in these talks, therefore it constantly tries to make up reasons to avoid a constructive dialogue and preserve the status quo, thus indefinitely delaying the settlement of the conflict.
Rashid Shirinov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @RashidShirinov
Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz