Azerbaijan, Baku, 14 January / The Karabakh Liberation Organization (KLO) has condemned the plans of the OSCE Minsk Group's co-chairs to visit occupied Azerbaijani Kankandi region via Armenia.
"The co-chairs are demonstrating their disrespect for Azerbaijan's territorial integrity," KLO reported on 14 January.
On 13 January, the OSCE Minsk Group's co-chairs began their visit to the region. After visiting Azerbaijan they will leave for Armenia and continue to the occupied Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh region. KLO believes the co-chairs' assurance that the visit to Nagorno-Karabakh via Armenia is for security purposes is an excuse.
"The fact that a group of Azerbaijaniscultural persons safely visited the region in the summer proves that their argument is groundless. The co-chairs are taking such steps because Armenia has requested that from them. They are openly demonstrating disrespect for Azerbaijan's territorial integrity. Therefore, Azerbaijan should reject the Minsk Group's Mediation in the settlement process," the report by KLO says.
According to the Spokesman for the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry, Khazar Ibrahim, there is nothing extraordinary in the co-chairs' visiting Nagorno-Karabakh via Armenia. The issue was coordinated between the sides, he said. The co-chairs should visit the occupied territories via both countries.
The conflict between the two countries of the South Caucasus began in 1988, due to the Armenian territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Since 1992, the Armenian Armed Forces have occupied 20% of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and its seven neighbouring districts. In 1994, Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement which ended the active hostilities. The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group ( Russia, France, and the US) are currently holding the peaceful negotiations.
The KLO was established in Baku on 28 January 2000, with the objective of a public struggle for the liberation of Nagorno-Karabakh. The chair of the organization is Doctor of History, docent Akif Naghi. KLO unites representatives of culture figures, refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs), old and young people as well as former military soldiers.