By Abdul Kerimkhanov
Armenia does not withdraw its armed forces from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, thereby not eliminating the main reason hindering the establishment of peace in the region.
The main reason that the ceasefire failed to turn into a sustainable peace for 25 years is the continuation of the Armenian occupation policy, Hikmet Hajiyev, Head of the Department of Foreign Policy Affairs of the Azerbaijani Presidential Administration told reporters in Baku on May 12.
He was commenting on the statement of the Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in connection with the 25th anniversary of the establishment of ceasefire regime.
Hajiyev said Armenia occupied the territory of Azerbaijan with the use of force.
He noted that more than a million Azerbaijanis in the occupied territories were subject to ethnic cleansing, and for more than 25 years they have to live as refugees and IDPs.
Hajiyev added that the Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan was also accompanied by numerous war crimes against the civilian population.
"Four resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council in connection with the conflict condemned the use of force by Armenia against Azerbaijan, again confirmed the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Azerbaijan, and the fact that Nagorno-Karabakh is an integral part of Azerbaijan, requiring immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal of the invading forces from all the occupied territories of Azerbaijan," he stated.
PA official stressed that the ceasefire is not peace. He noted the Armenian leadership also recognizes that although 25 years have passed, the ceasefire has not turned into sustainable peace.
"The main reason why the ceasefire regime has not brought sustainable peace is the continuation of the aggressive policy of Armenia," Hajiyev added.
He noted that the negotiation process format hasn’t changed and is conducted between the conflict parties, namely Armenia and Azerbaijan.
"If Armenia really wants to ensure sustainable peace in the region, then it should constructively participate in the negotiation process on the basis of the existing format, in accordance with requirements of the UN Security Council resolutions, withdraw its troops from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan and not hinder the return of Azerbaijani internally displaced persons to their native lands," he said.
Only after that sustainable peace can be secured in the region, Hajiyev concluded.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries arose in 1988 due to the territorial claims of Armenia against Azerbaijan. Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions - 20 percent of the territory of Azerbaijan - are under the occupation of the Armenian armed forces.
In May 1994, the parties reached a ceasefire regime, and lauched peace negotiations under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group and with the co-chairmanship of Russia, France and the U.S.
The four resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council on the liberation of the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh and the adjacent territories have not yet been implemented by Armenia.
Abdul Kerimkhanov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AbdulKerim94
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