By Abdul Kerimkhanov
Spokesperson for the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry Leyla Abdullayeva has said that the Azerbaijani community of the Nagorno-Karabakh region is an integral part of any proposed plan to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
"As we have always noted, I want to stress once again that only the return of Azerbaijanis expelled from this region to their homes in Nagorno-Karabakh can open up real possibilities for resolving the conflict,” Abdullayeva said.
Abdullayeva was commenting on Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s statement made in Yerevan on November 11.
She stressed that the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict must be resolved within the borders of Azerbaijan on the basis of high-level self-government status, “which provides for the coexistence of both communities in the region - Azerbaijani and Armenian, in peace and security.”
"First of all, substantive negotiations should be held to resolve the conflict, and the Armenian occupying forces should leave Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding regions of Azerbaijan," the Spokesperson said.
Over one million Azerbaijanis were expelled from Nagorno-Karabakh seven other Azerbaijani regions that were occupied by Armenian forces during the war in early 1990s. The negotiation process mediated by the OSCE Minsk Group co-chaired by Russia, U.S and France have yielded no results to this dates and Armenia continues to abide by the UN resolutions on the withdrawal of its troops from occupied Azerbaijani territories.
Russia has played an active role in the peace negotiations between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Along with the U.S. and France, Russia is a co-chair country of the OSCE Minsk Group, which spearheads the OSCE’s efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict. Russia has influence due to the fact that it is not only an intermediary in the regulation of Karabakh conflict. Kremlin has significant potential to provide substantial impact on the course of events in the Caucasus. It should be noted that Russia has a military base in Armenia, which is the only Russian military base in the South Caucasus. However, in strategic terms, Azerbaijan is undoubtedly more significant than Armenia for Moscow.
While the OSCE Minsk Group acted as the only mediator in resolution of the conflict, the occupation of Azerbaijan’s internationally-recognized territories have been ignored by international community for over two decades now.
Abdul Kerimkhanov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AbdulKerim94
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