By Akbar Mammadov
To prepare the population for peace, Armenia must withdraw the occupying forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding regions of Azerbaijan and not obstruct the return of IDPs to their homes, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Leyla Abdullayeva said in a briefing on July 1.
“It is clear that the root of the tension, rhetoric, confrontation and hostility in the region is Armenia's aggressive policy, the military occupation of internationally recognized territories of Azerbaijan and ethnic cleansing of many local Azerbaijanis in these territories carried out by Armenia,” she said.
Commenting on the information released by the Armenian Foreign Ministry on yesterday’s meeting between the two countries' ministers under the auspices of OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs, Abdullayeva noted: “The statement issued by the Armenian Foreign Ministry on the meeting once again reiterates the completely unfounded position of the occupying country.”
Abdullayeva stressed that it is well known to all, including to Armenia that there is no such notion as the “people” of Karabakh.
“Armenians living in Karabakh form one of two communities living in this region of Azerbaijan; the Azerbaijani community of Karabakh were expelled from their homes as a result of the Armenian aggression and became an IDP,” she said.
The spokesperson emphasized that the purpose of the negotiations on the settlement of the conflict is to restore the violated fundamental rights and freedoms of these people, to ensure the withdrawal of the Armenian armed forces from the territory of Azerbaijan.
“There is no other way to ensure lasting peace, stability and security in the region,” Abdullayev said.
Abdullayeva reminded that during yesterday’s meeting, Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov raised the issue of illegal actions, including infrastructure changes in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan carried out by Armenia. The minister also stressed that Armenia's provocative actions serve to inflame rhetoric, Abdullayeva said.
To note, on June 30, Azerbaijan's Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov held discussions on the current dynamics in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and next steps in the peace process with his Armenian counterpart Zohrab Mnatsakanyan at a video-conference meeting. The meeting took place with the mediation and participation of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs and the Personal Representative of the Chairperson-in-office.
Azerbaijan and Armenia are locked in a conflict over Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh breakaway region, which along with seven adjacent regions was occupied by Armenian forces in a war in the early 1990s. More than 20,000 Azerbaijanis were killed and around one million were displaced as a result of the large-scale hostilities.
The OSCE Minsk Group co-chaired by the United States, Russia and France has been mediating the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict since the signing of the volatile cease-fire agreement in 1994. The Minsk Group’s efforts have resulted in no progress and to this date, Armenia has failed to abide by the UN Security Council resolutions (822, 853, 874 and 884) that demand the withdrawal of Armenian military forces from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan.
Akbar Mammadov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AkbarMammadov97
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