Nagorno-Karabakh Communities May Join Talks only After Azerbaijani Lands Returned: Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry
Azerbaijan, Baku, 30 June / corr. Trend S. Agayeva/ The official Baku believes that at the current stage the Azerbaijani and Armenian communities of Nagorno-Karabakh can not join talks on the settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict. The Nagorno-Karabakh communities can join the talks only after the occupied Azerbaijani lands are returned, Khazar Ibrahim, the spokesman for the Foreign Ministry of Azerbaijan said to media in Baku on 30 June.
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. In 1994, Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement at which time the active hostilities ended. The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group ( Russia, France, and the US) are currently holding peaceful negotiations.
The government of the so-called Nagorno-Karabakh Republic recently initiated to take part in the talks.
"Both of the communities can take part in the talks only after our lands are liberated from occupation and refugees and internally displaced persons return to their native lands," Ibrahim said.
Commenting on the last visit of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmen to the region, Ibrahim said that Baku asked the mediators to call on the official Yerevan to take more constructive position in the talks.
The co-chairmen visited Baku, Yerevan and Khankandi on 28 to 29 June and held talks on ways of settlement of the conflict. The co-chairmen will meet in Vienna today to hold consultations on the results of the visit.