By Abdul Kerimkhanov
The quicker resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in the interests of Azerbaijan and Armenia is possible with the democratization of Armenia. Resolving this issue should be primary on the Armenian political agenda.
As long as Armenia keeps Azerbaijani lands under occupation, there will be no peace in the region. Peace with neighbors is the only guarantee that Armenia can democratize and move forward.
Addressing the Eastern Partnership (EaP) Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Brussels on May 13, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov expressed hope that the democratic development of Armenia will move it towards substantial talks with Azerbaijan.
This, in turn, will enable Azerbaijanis, who were subject to brutal ethnic cleansing, to return back to the places of their origin, according to the FM.
The minister stressed that Azerbaijan has justified itself as a reliable partner both in the region and in the EU.
"Unfortunately, the EU and Azerbaijan’s neighborhoods have things to get improved. Some regional perspectives such as regional connectivity, trade projects, and few other initiatives remain a hostage to unresolved conflicts," he said, adding that the ongoing occupation by Armenia of the territory of Azerbaijan prevents taking the whole region to another cooperation level.
Mammadyarov also noted that if Azerbaijan and the EU are going to move together with EaP, then in order to achieve the European Neighborhood Policy goals, the issues of resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and ending the occupation must be addressed.
He recalled that one EU partner country cannot occupy the territories of another partner country as is stated in the resolution adopted by the European Parliament in October 2013.
The minister mentioned that therefore, all parties involved in the EaP, including the EU and its members, must fully support and observe the principles of inviolability of internationally recognized borders and territorial integrity.
Mammadyarov stressed that this position should be observed at all levels and in all documents of all formats, adding that this approach should be chosen as the main criterion.
The minister expressed confidence that the future and success of EaP depends on maintaining security and stability in the region.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries arose in 1988 due to the territorial claims of Armenia against Azerbaijan. Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions - 20 percent of the territory of Azerbaijan - are under the occupation of the Armenian armed forces.
From April to November 1993, four resolutions on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict were adopted by the UN Security Council. All of them expressed support for the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and spelled out a requirement for the immediate withdrawal of the Armenian armed forces from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan.
Armenia refuses to comply with these resolutions to this day.
Abdul Kerimkhanov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AbdulKerim94
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