By Abdul Kerimkhanov
Presidential aide, Head of Foreign Policy Department of the Presidential Administration of Azerbaijan Hikmet Hajiyev has said that the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairing countries (France, the U.S. Russia) that are negotiating the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabak conflict must exert political and diplomatic pressure on Armenia.
"There should be strong demand, political diplomatic pressure by co-chairing countries and they should demand from Armenia to fulfill its obligations under the international law," Hajiyev told Radio France Internationale (RFI) on January 17.
He reminded that Armenia continues to preserve the status quo based on occupation, keeps Azerbaijani IDPs and refugees out of the occupied territories.
“Azerbaijan has one million refugees and IDPs, who have the right to return back to these territories. Therefore, our appeal to the international community, including the OSCE Minsk Group co-chair countries is that they should redouble their efforts for the soonest resolution of the conflict based on the norms and principles of the international law and also bearing in mind the fundamental principle of justice. Of course, they are doing their work and we appreciate that Minsk Group co-chair countries are engaged in the resolution of the conflict in the status of mediators. However, more needs to be done. We, of course, always support substantive negotiations. What we see is that Armenia always tries to run away from the substance. What is the substance of the conflict? The fundamental root cause is the occupation of Azerbaijani territories,” noted Hajiyev.
He added that to resolve the conflict, first of all, Armenia must de-occupied Azerbaijan's Nagorno-Karabakh region.
“Everything should start from de-occupation. We have relevant UN Security Council resolutions and they must be respected and fulfilled by all countries,” he stressed.
Hajiyev stressed that the international community must redouble its efforts for the soonest resolution of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
“Security and peace in Caucasus region has been undermined by the existence of Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Short history of the conflict is that Armenia - by use of force - occupied sovereign territories of Azerbaijan. First it is illegal and it is violation of international law. UN Security Council adopted four resolutions condemning Armenia’s occupation of Azerbaijani territories and demanding withdrawal of Armenian troops from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan. Other international organizations, including European Parliament, OSCE, European Council and some others have also adopted similar resolutions and documents demanding Armenia to stop this conflict and withdraw its troops. But unfortunately, we don’t see any particular breakthrough in the conflict,” he concluded.
The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding regions.
During the battles, more than 20,000 people were killed and 50,000 more injured. Around one million Azerbaijanis were forced to leave their homes.
Despite the demands expressed in UN Security Council resolutions on the need to recognize the territorial integrity of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the release of the occupied territories of Azerbaijan without preconditions, Armenia continues to pursue its policy of aggression against Azerbaijan.
Abdul Kerimkhanov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AbdulKerim94
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