By Aynur Karimova
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation plans to establish a contact group for the settlement of the long-lasting Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
This was announced by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu at a preparatory meeting of the OIC Foreign Ministers on April 12.
He said that a decision on the establishment of a contact group for resolving the conflict was adopted at the level of experts of the organization.
Cavusoglu believes that the OIC should make its contribution to the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Saying that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict should be resolved only within the internationally recognized borders, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, the Turkish top diplomat urged the OIC member states to enter the contact group.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries 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 region and seven surrounding districts.
The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.
Cavusoglu, touching upon the recent aggravation of situation on the line of contact of the Armenian and Azerbaijani Armed Forces, said that these clashes will continue as long as Armenia continues occupation of the Azerbaijani territories.
Turkey's Istanbul city is hosting the 13th Summit of the OIC titled "Unity and Solidarity for Justice and Peace." The summit kicked off on April 10 and will last until April 15.
A delegation led by Azerbaijan's Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov is participating at this meeting. He is expected to deliver a speech during the meeting, as well as have a number of bilateral meetings.
The agenda of the meeting includes the discussion over the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, as well as the fight against terrorism.
On the night of April 2, 2016, all the frontier positions of Azerbaijan were subjected to heavy fire from the Armenian side, which used large-caliber weapons, mortars and grenade launchers. The armed clashes resulted in deaths and injuries among the Azerbaijani population. Azerbaijan responded with a counter-attack, which led to liberation of several strategic heights and settlements.
Military operations were stopped on the line of contact between Azerbaijani and Armenian armies on Apr. 5 at 12:00 (UTC/GMT + 4 hours) with the consent of the sides, Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry earlier said. Ignoring the agreement, the Armenian side again started violating the ceasefire.
Aynur Karimova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Aynur_Karimova
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