By Rashid Shirinov
The outgoing year, unfortunately, did not bring serious progress in the resolution of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. However, certain work has been done in this direction.
This year, negotiations between the parties to the conflict resumed. Their effectiveness may be doubted, but the definitely positive fact is that it became possible to return Armenia to the negotiating table. The OSCE Minsk Group, which is working to find a peaceful solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, has become more active this year. Also, the next meeting of the Azerbaijani and Armenian foreign ministers is expected for the beginning of 2018.
Commenting on the outcomes of 2017 in the settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict, the Azerbaijani MP Rasim Musabayov told Day.az that the year was lost in terms of settlement of the conflict.
“This is a minus. And the plus is that the skirmishes and violations of the ceasefire regime on the contact line did not transform into military actions like it was in April 2016,” he said.
Musabayov added that it is also a positive fact that Armenia was forced to sit down at the negotiating table and to start discussing substantive issues of a peaceful settlement of the conflict. “Previously, the Armenian side was shrinking away from substantive negotiations,” he reminded.
The MP believes that 2018 will be a year of intensive negotiations.
“It is difficult to say whether the negotiating round will give concrete results, but in the absence of such negotiations, the war was the only alternative. I suppose that Armenians and intermediaries understand this,” said Musabayov.
Armenia broke out a lengthy war against Azerbaijan by laying territorial claims on the country. Since a war in the early 1990s, 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.
To this day, Armenia has not implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding districts.
Rashid Shirinov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @RashidShirinov
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