Azerbaijan, Baku, September 3 /Trend, E. Mekhtiyev/
Nagorno Karabakh is an integral part of Azerbaijan, former Turkish Foreign Minister Hikmet Chetin said at the panel "Protracted conflicts in the South Caucasus: a way out of a difficult situation" at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy (ADA) within the second forum "South Caucasus in a Changing World" of the Association of Scientists for International Relations, organized by the Center for Strategic Studies under the president of Azerbaijan.
Chetin noted that 20 per cent of Azerbaijani territory is under occupation.
"Over a million of people are IDPs and refugees. All this clearly shows that a fair and final solution to the conflict should be found. The problem should be resolved," he said.
Former Turkish Foreign Minister called the protracted conflicts "poisons hindering the region's economic development".
"Conflicts in the Middle East, Balkans and South Caucasus impose a range of issues before us. Three or four conflicts continue in the South Caucasus which negatively affect the security of this important region, hinder cooperation with neighbors. The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict should be resolved for maintaining stability and security in the region," Chetin stressed.
According to him, despite the fact that the OSCE Minsk Group, which has been engaged in resolving the conflict for a long time, but it haven't achieved concrete results.
OSCE Minsk Group is in need of new ideas, the former Turkish Foreign Minister stressed.
"Azerbaijan can't wait another 20 years. The OSCE Minsk Group should propose new ideas. The urgency of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict creates problems in international security. The occupation of Azerbaijani territories hinders important economic cooperation. The more the conflict protracted, the more difficult it becomes. The solution of Cyprus, Abkhaz, Ossetian conflicts is easier than Nagorno-Karabakh," he said.
"We could start gradual and form a stage-by-stage solution to the conflict, but the main thing is support from the U.S and Russia," Chetin said.
Talking about his vision of conflict resolution, the former Turkish Foreign Minister noted that in the first place, five regions should be liberated, following which the representatives of Azerbaijan, Turkey and Armenia can meet and begin discussions including in connection with the opening of borders.
"It is necessary to liberate five regions in the first stage and withdraw Armenian troops to reclaim the seized regions," he said.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 per cent of Azerbaijan since 1992, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.
Azerbaijan and Armenia 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.
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