By Rashid Shirinov
The place and date of the next meeting of the Azerbaijani and Armenian foreign ministers are being specified, Spokesman for the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry Hikmat Hajiyev said at a press conference on July 23.
He noted that the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs will present relevant proposals on the venue and date of the meeting, and the final decision will be made based on these proposals.
Hajiyev also mentioned that Azerbaijan is a supporter of the continuation of substantive negotiations on the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in the existing format.
The last meeting between the Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov and Armenian FM Zohrab Mnatsakanyan was held 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.
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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