By Rashid Shirinov
Azerbaijan is ready for intensive negotiations for an early settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, according to Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov.
He made the remarks on May 15 at a meeting with the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs – Igor Popov of Russia, Stephane Visconti of France, and Andrew Schofer of the U.S. – and Andrzej Kasprzyk, personal representative of the OSCE chairperson-in-office.
The meeting stressed the importance of continuing intensive negotiations given that the electoral process in Azerbaijan and Armenia has been completed.
During the negotiations, the sides discussed the measures to be taken by the Minsk Group co-chairs to advance the negotiation process as well as the situation in the region.
In their statement following the meeting with Mammadyarov, the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs noted that they expect to meet with the new leadership of Armenia in June this year to discuss the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement.
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
Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz