Armenians are Ready to Give back Azerbaijani Lands Once Their Security is Guaranteed: Political scientist Thomas de Vaal
Azerbaijan, Baku, 12 March / corr. Trend A. Ismayilova/ The deployment of international peacekeepers in the territory of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict can solve this frozen conflict, Thomas de Vaal, the British journalist and author of the book Black Garden, devoted to the conflict, said.
"Armenians are ready to give back the occupied territories of Azerbaijan once their security is guaranteed and Armenians can be made to give back these territories only on the condition of security," Vaal said in an interview with Trend .
The conflict between the two countries of the South Caucasus began in 1988 due to Armenian territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Since 1992, Armenian Armed Forces have occupied 20% of Azerbaijan including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and its seven surrounding districts.
Vaal said that Azerbaijan should begin talks with Karabakh Armenians regarding security.
"I think that we are just wasting our time by not starting talks on security between Azerbaijan and Karabakh Armenians," Vaal said.
Vaal said that it will also lead to the return of half million Azerbaijani IDPs to their lands and will guarantee their security. "The security of Karabakh Azerbaijanis should be guaranteed as well and international forces are the only power that can guarantee this," Vaal said.
He also stated that the conflict in Karabakh must not be solved by war. "I know that Azerbaijani society is already discussing a solution to the conflict is war. War means destruction both for Azerbaijan and important energy projects," Vaal said.
In 1994, Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement at which time active hostilities ended. The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group ( Russia, France, and the US) are currently holding peaceful negotiations.
The ceasefire on the contact line between Azerbaijan and Armenia has frequently been violated since 4 March. Gun fire has left dead and wounded among the military and civilians.
Vaal is sure that Karabakh Armenians think of Azerbaijan as a danger to them. Karabakh Armenians become citizens of Armenian every year. Most of them get Azerbaijani passports. They do not have contact with Azerbaijan and they are de-facto citizens of Armenia, Vaal said.