Continuation of Azerbaijani lands’ invasion main threat to peace in region
By Sara Rajabova
Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry official said first of all, the withdrawal of Armenian occupying armed forces from Azerbaijani territories is necessary for preventing incidents on the contact line of Armenian and Azerbaijani troops.
Hikmet Hajiyev, Acting Spokesperson of Foreign Ministry commented on the remarks made by spokesperson for U.S. State Department Jen Psaki on the tense situation on the contact line.
Psaki said the U.S. authorities are worried by reports of ceasefire violations in recent days in Nagorno-Karabakh, according to the U.S. Department of State website. She added that Washington will once again urge the two sides to engage in peace negotiations as an OSCE Minsk Group co-chair country.
“The continuation of the Azerbaijani lands’ occupation by Armenia and the presence of this country’s armed forces in Azerbaijan’s occupied territories is the main threat to peace and stability in the region,” Hajiyev said.
He noted that the sides should hold negotiations on the peace treaty, adding that Psaki also approved this in her remarks.
“However, by staging provocations, Armenia hinders the start of the work on the Great Peace Agreement,” Hajiyev said, adding that the tense situation on the frontline is a bright example for that.
He further said Psaki has also emphasized the necessity of preventing the incidents on the contact line and Armenian-Azerbaijani border.
The Armenian armed forces have recently escalated the tensions on the contact line of Armenian and Azerbaijani troops with frequent ceasefire violations.
They fired at the positions of the Azerbaijani armed forces and frontline settlements by using large-caliber weapons, anti-tank grenade launchers and 60- and 82-millimeter mortars on January 3.
The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said Armenia aggressively targets Azerbaijani civilians and wants to seek revenge for its unsuccessful operations at the contact line.
Armenia occupied over 20 percent of Azerbaijan's internationally recognized territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions, after laying territorial claims against its South Caucasus neighbor that caused a brutal war in the early 1990s.
As a result of the military aggression of Armenia, over 20,000 Azerbaijanis were killed, 4,866 are reported missing and almost 100,000 were injured, and 50,000 were disabled.
The UN Security Council has passed four resolutions on Armenian withdrawal from the Azerbaijani territory, but they 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. However, the negotiations have been largely fruitless so far despite the efforts of the co-chair countries over 20 years.