By Abdul Kerimkhanov
Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov has said that elimination of major consequences of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, that is the withdrawal of the occupying troops, must be the first step in resolving the conflict with Armenia.
Mamamdyarov made the remarks during the 26th Ministerial Council of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in Bratislava, Slovakia on December 5.
"Unfortunately, we are still having unresolved issue in front of us. What we discussed with the OSCE Minsk Group is the step by step approach to the settlement of the conflict. Of course, the first step should be elimination of major consequences of the conflict, that’s ensuring immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal of Armenian forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh region and other occupied territories as enshrined in four UN Security Council resolutions," Mammadyarov said while commenting on his December 4 meeting with his Armenian counterpart Zohrab Mnatsakanyan.
Mammadyarov said that the meeting lasted three and half hours and involved “tough negotiations”.
Addressing the OSCE’s Ministerial Council on the same day, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Nagorno-Karabakh conflict must be resolved in accordance with the international law.
“We need to find solutions in accordance with international law and on the basis of territorial integrity. Turkey will soon assume the chairmanship of the Forum for Security Cooperation and we look forward to working in cooperative manner with all member states and organizations,” Cavusoglu stressed.
He emphasized that frozen conflicts, including Nagorno-Karabakh conflict remain unresolved.
“An effective OSCE will help us all feel better in these turbulent times,” he noted.
In addition, Mammadyarov has met with the EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus and the crisis in Georgia Toivo Klaar. During the meeting, the sides exchanged views on the settlement process of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Mammadyarov informed Klaar about the recent meeting with the Armenian Foreign Minister, with the mediation of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-chairs. He stated the importance of resolving the conflict in accordance with the related resolutions of the UN Security Council. In this regard, Mammadyarov emphasized the withdrawal of the occupying forces from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan and the return of the Azerbaijani internally displaced persons to their places of origin.
As for the host of the event, OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and Slovak Foreign and European Affairs Minister, Miroslav Lajčák said in his ‘Bratislava Appeal’ that OSCE’s principles and commitments must remain at the core of the work to prevent conflicts.
The appeal addresses foreign ministers from across the OSCE-member countries ahead of the 26th Ministerial Council.
“People continue to suffer from conflicts and crises. Mistrust and divergent security perceptions serve to exacerbate vulnerabilities and risks. Against this backdrop, violations of international law and failures to implement our commonly agreed principles and commitments represent the most fundamental security challenge of all,” Lajčák said.
Lajčák stressed that the OSCE has stood the test of time as the most inclusive and comprehensive regional security organization in the world, which continues to provide a unique forum for open dialogue, preventing and settling conflicts, building mutual understanding, and fostering co-operation.
He recognized that the organization has at its core a comprehensive set of norms, principles and commitments, and also has practical instruments, tools and mechanisms, which continue to adapt and evolve, at its disposal.
“The OSCE’s principles and commitments are not open for re-negotiation and must remain at the core of our work to prevent conflict and foster stability for people throughout the OSCE area. We must, however, ensure that our rich toolbox, as well as strong commitments, are used towards effective results for all,” he said.
The 26th Ministerial Council of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) took place on December 5-6, 2019 at Incheba Expo Arena in Bratislava, Slovakia.
The event was held at the invitation of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Slovak Minister for Foreign and European Affairs Miroslav Lajčák.
More than 40 foreign ministers of the OSCE member states attended the meeting, which is held under the motto "For people, dialogue and stability".
Azerbaijan represented at the meeting by a delegation led by Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov.
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.
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.
Abdul Kerimkhanov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AbdulKerim94
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