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Azerbaijan urges explanation for EU envoy's planned Karabakh visit

19 December 2012 16:16 (UTC+04:00)
Azerbaijan urges explanation for EU envoy's planned Karabakh visit

EU Special Representative for South Caucasus Philippe Lefort must explain the purpose of his planned visit to Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijani Deputy Foreign Minister Araz Azimov said on Wednesday, Trend news agency reported.

"Nagorno-Karabakh is under occupation and one can visit these areas only after obtaining Azerbaijan's permission," the deputy minister told the media.

"Azerbaijan is not against OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmen's visit to these areas, as it is their job. Regarding the intentions of various political forces to visit these areas for some political reasons we do not in principle give them permission as there is no reason for this. As for Lefort's visit to Nagorno-Karabakh, one must think about the purpose of the trip."

He said that the EU is not involved in the conflict settlement, but only supports the efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group. In future, the EU may be involved in resolving any issues related to the conflict, deputy minister said.

The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 per cent of Azerbaijan since 1992, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.

Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group - Russia, France and the U.S. are currently holding peace negotiations.

Armenia has not yet implemented the U.N. Security Council's four resolutions regarding the liberation of Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.

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