By Abdul Kerimkhanov
Presidential Aide, Head of Foreign Policy Department of the Presidential Administration of Azerbaijan Hikmat Hajiyev has said that Armenia discourages negotiation process on Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
"Armenia poses obstacles to the negotiation process in one form or another. Conflicting statements voiced by the Armenian side seriously damage the negotiations," Hajiyev said on December 12.
He noted that despite the ongoing negotiation process to resolve the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict through the mediation of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs, Yerevan continues to pursue a destructive policy.
Speaking about the recent mutual visits of Azerbaijani and Armenian journalists, Hajiyev stressed that one of the important things is for Armenian journalists to inform the Armenian public about what they saw firsthand during their visit.
"Very serious propaganda is carried out at the state level in Armenia and there is serious distortion with regards to the reasons for the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. In such situation, it was necessary for journalists to inform the Armenian public about Azerbaijan's position on the conflict," he stated.
Hajiyev recalled that mutual visits of journalists were organized upon the initiative of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs.
"This was one of the first initiatives undertaken. Information on initiatives related to the mutual visits of Armenian and Azerbaijani NGOs is not available yet," Hajiyev concluded.
The conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia flared up in the late 1980s due to Armenia's territorial claims against Azerbaijan, which led to the occupation of around 20 percent of Azerbaijan's territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding regions by Armenian armed forces.
More than 20,000 Azerbaijanis were killed and nearly 1 million were displaced as a result of the war.
Large-scale hostilities ended with a Russia-brokered ceasefire in 1994 but Armenia continued the occupation in defiance of four UN Security Council resolutions calling for immediate and unconditional withdrawal of troops. Peace talks mediated by Russia, France and the U.S. within the OSCE Minsk Group have produced no tangible results so far.
Azerbaijan has many times declared its readiness to begin negotiations with Armenia to free the captives and resolve the long-standing Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Abdul Kerimkhanov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AbdulKerim94
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