By Abdul Kerimkhanov
Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov has said that it is impossible to negotiate the status of Armenian-occupied Nagorno-Karabakh without the return of Azerbaijani population of the region to their homes.
"What status can we talk about without the return of Azerbaijani population to Karabakh? In addition, the security issue is quite important for the Azerbaijani community in the region, just as for the Armenian community, and everyone knows that the use of international peacekeeping mechanisms is necessary," Mammadyarov said.
As for the security and status issues that are constantly being raised by Armenia, Mammadyarov emphasized both issues should be regulated within the framework of the settlement process in accordance with relevant OSCE decisions, as well as UN Security Council resolutions, which have no statute of limitations.
He stressed that Azerbaijan will continue negotiations on the settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, while there are opportunities for a peaceful solution.
"Numerous meetings and specific initiatives put forward during the year demonstrate a certain need to continue the negotiation process. We have always stated that as long as there is an opportunity for a peaceful settlement of the conflict through negotiations, we will use it. Of course, the goal is to advance the process through substantive negotiations on the issue’s essence," he stated.
Mammadyarov recalled that all documents prepared to date clarify the issues of a phased settlement of the conflict, the liberation of the Azerbaijani occupied territories, the return of IDPs and the settlement of the status problem at a subsequent stage.
He stressed Azerbaijan is negotiating for the restoration of violated international law, the restoration of the sovereignty of Azerbaijan in internationally recognized borders.
"We are negotiating in order to free the territories of Azerbaijan from occupation," he added.
Mammadyarov noted that today due to the aggressive policy of Yerevan, there are no diplomatic relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia.
"Negotiations between the parties are carried out through the mediation efforts of the three leading countries of the world, permanent members of the UN Security Council, the main international body responsible for maintaining international peace and security," 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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