By Abdul Kerimkhanov
Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov has said substantive negotiations are needed on the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, ahead of his meeting with Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan to be held in Bratislava on December 4.
"We turned to the [OSCE Minsk Group] co-chairs to prepare a report on the assessment of the situation and resolving the security issue. Serious substantive negotiations are needed for this. I think that we will hold these negotiations tomorrow. The expectations from the meeting with the Armenian counterpart in Bratislava tomorrow are that we should move forward," Mammadyarov said during a joint press conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Baku on December 3.
He noted that Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan intends to raise the issue of security.
"How do we understand security and how does Armenia understand it? There is an understanding that the armed forces must first return to the barracks," Mammadyarov emphasized.
Mammadyarov noted that security is important both for Azerbaijan and its population in Karabakh.
In turn, commenting on the recent exchange of visits by journalists from Azerbaijan and Armenia, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov expressed support for contacts between the communities of Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh region.
"Russia was one of the authors of this initiative. I think it is very important. Any decision must be made by people who live on this land. I support resumption of contacts between the communities. As a result, the whole Karabakh population will have to decide how they will live," Lavrov said.
He further added that Russia, as an OSCE Minsk Group co-chairing country, will contribute to the settlement of the conflict.
Lavrov underlined the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is one of the most protracted conflicts in the post-Soviet space.
"We have an understanding that a compromise is taking place. We, as co-chairs, will contribute to the conflict’s settlement. We hope that there will be results," he concluded.
Nagorno-Karabakh is Azerbaijan’s breakaway region that along with seven surrounding regions was occupied by Armenian armed forces during the war in the early 1990s that killed hundreds of thousands of people. Around one million Azerbaijanis were displaced as a result of the occupation.
The OSCE Minsk group co-chaired by Russia, the U.S. and France has been negotiating the peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict for over two decades now. However, their efforts have not yielded any results to this date.
Abdul Kerimkhanov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AbdulKerim94
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