By Sara Rajabova
Azerbaijani and Russian military officials discussed bilateral cooperation based on mutual confidence and friendship.
Colonel-General Zakir Hasanov, Azerbaijan`s Minister of Defense, met with Army General Valery Gerasimov, Chief of the General Staff of Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, on April 7.
Referring to the military-political situation in the region, Hasanov said the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict poses a real threat to regional stability, and stressed the importance of finding a solution in compliance with international law.
The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict emerged in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Since a lengthy war in the early 1990s that displaced over one million Azerbaijanis, the Armenian armed forces have occupied over 20 percent of Azerbaijan's internationally recognized territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions. The UN Security Council's four resolutions on Armenian withdrawal have not been enforced to this day.
Peace talks, mediated by Russia, France, and the U.S. through the OSCE Minsk Group, are underway on the basis of a peace outline proposed by the Minsk Group co-chairs and dubbed the Madrid Principles. Negotiations have been largely fruitless so far.
Gerasimov, in turn, said relations between the two countries are based on friendship, adding that Russia is an important partner for Azerbaijan.
The sides also exchanged views on Azerbaijan-Russia military relations, prospects for partnership, and regional issues.
Gerasimov was awarded the medal "For Merits in Military Cooperation" of the Republic of Azerbaijan by the Order of Minister of Defense Hasanov.
Prior to the awarding ceremony, Gerasimov met the country`s Deputy Minister of Defense and Chief of General Staff of the Armed Forces Colonel-General Najmaddin Sadigov.
Sadigov spoke about Armenia`s military aggressions against Azerbaijan, adding that as a result of Armenia's aggression, Azerbaijan`s territories were invaded and over one million Azerbaijanis had become refugees and IDPs.
He expressed confidence that the occupied territories would be liberated.
The sides discussed military cooperation between the two countries and issues concerning military-educational cooperation and regional security.
They also exchanged views on the preparations for a meeting of the Committee of the Chiefs of General Staff of the CIS countries, which is held in Baku on April 8.