By Rashid Shirinov
Any constructive contacts should contribute to achieving the main goal of the settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova said at a press conference on July 18.
She was commenting on the results of the recent meeting of Azerbaijani and Armenian foreign ministers in Brussels.
“I would like to emphasize once again that the comments on the results of the meeting, about how fruitful, useful and promising it was, rest with the direct participants of the meeting. We welcome everything that both sides assess as a step towards the full settlement or at least the continuation of the dialogue,” Zakharova said.
Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov and Armenian FM Zohrab Mnatsakanyan met in Brussels on July 11 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.
During the meeting, the ministers exchanged views regarding the situation on the ground and discussed next steps and parameters for re-engaging in substantive negotiations. They agreed to meet again in the near future under the auspices of the co-chairs.
The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region 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. The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations.
Until now, Armenia 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.
Rashid Shirinov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @RashidShirinov
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