Baku, Azerbaijan, April 28
By Elchin Mehdiyev- Trend:
The greatest threat to peace and stability in the Caucasus is the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, former Turkish Foreign Minister Hikmet Cetin said during the session on the theme "Open societies as a method of conflict resolution in difficult situations" of the II Global Shared Societies Forum held in Baku.
Cetin noted that the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts were occupied by Armenia, more than one million people lost their homes. He stressed that the OSCE Minsk Group has dealt with resolving this conflict for more than 20 years, but there are no results.
The former minister said that the time has come for concrete steps to resolve the conflict. First of all, Armenia should withdraw its troops from surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh regions, it would be an important step in resolving the conflict, according to Cetin.
Cetin stressed that such a situation can not be maintained for a long.
"Addressing the Armenian leaders, I want to tell them to think again about it, since it is known that the social and economic situation in Armenia is very bad," the former minister said.
Armenia can participate in a number of projects in the region, and it is only just needed to liberate the Azerbaijani lands, according to Cetin.
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 two countries 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 on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.
Translated by S.I.
Edited by C.N.