By Rashid Shirinov
The roar of guns is the sound that strikes fear in the hearts of all people. Unfortunately, civilians living near the Azerbaijani territories occupied by Armenia have to hear this terrible sound daily over the past almost 30 years.
Not a day goes by without Armenia’s ceasefire breaking and provocations with the use of large-caliber machine guns, mortars and other weapons on the frontline. Moreover, the Armenian troops constantly shell Azerbaijani settlements located in the frontline regions, thus threatening the lives of peaceful Azerbaijani citizens living there.
This needless tension in the conflict zone would be long finished if the authorities of Armenia, responsible for the outbreak of the Nagorno-Karabakh war with Azerbaijan, preferred substantive diplomatic talks to guns. But this does not happen, and therefore the conflict is still ongoing.
Today the parties to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict are, unfortunately, still far from solving the existing contradictions, says Georgy Fyodorov, a well-known Russian expert.
But this is the main condition for the settlement of the problem existing between Baku and Yerevan, the expert believes.
Fyodorov, who is the President of the Aspect Center for Social and Political Studies, made the remarks in his interview with Azernews, while commenting on the outcomes of 2017 in terms of solving the prolonged Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
“In 2017, there were provocations and shelling in the Nagorno-Karabakh zone, and as a result, there was a real threat of escalation of tension,” he noted.
Armenia, that occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan's territory, constantly stages provocations on the frontline, frequently targeting civilians. One of the most terrible provocations committed by Armenians on the frontline in 2017 took place in early July. Using mortars and grenade launchers, the Armenian armed forces shelled the Alkhanli village of Azerbaijan’s Fuzuli region. This provocation took lives of two Azerbaijani civilians living in the village – of a woman and of her two-year-old granddaughter.
Fyodorov also shared his expectations from the upcoming meeting of the Azerbaijani and Armenian foreign ministers in connection with the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
“Of course, the very fact of discussing problematic issues in the relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan at a high level should be welcomed. However, this does not mean that the meeting of the two countries’ foreign ministers will produce new points of contact,” said Fyodorov.
Azerbaijan and Armenia fought a lengthy war that ended with 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.
Until now, Armenia ignores four UN Security Council resolutions on immediate withdrawal from the occupied territory of Azerbaijan, thus keeping tension high in the region.
Rashid Shirinov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @RashidShirinov
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