By Rashid Shirinov
Another round of talks to find a peaceful solution to the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was held in Brussels on July 11.
Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov met with the Armenian FM Zohrab Mnatsakanyan under the mediation of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs Igor Popov of Russia, Stephane Visconti of France and Andrew Schofer of the U.S.
The meeting was also attended by the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Andrzej Kasprzyk. It is noteworthy that this was Mammadyarov’s first meeting with the new Armenian FM.
“The meeting lasted for about four hours. During the meeting, the negotiation process on the settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict was discussed in detail and the continuation of negotiations in the existing format was noted,” Spokesman for the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry Hikmat Hajiyev informed.
The sides also exchanged views on the next steps to advance the negotiation process and the action plans of the co-chairs.
Prior to the joint meeting with the co-chairs and Kasprzyk, Mammadyarov and Mnatsakanyan met with them separately.
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 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 really join substantive negotiations and Yerevan’s attempts to preserve the unacceptable status quo in Nagorno-Karabakh by any means.
It is noteworthy that Azerbaijan has long ago stated it is ready to settle the conflict through direct negotiations with Armenia through mediation of the OSCE Minsk Group.
Rashid Shirinov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @RashidShirinov
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