Azerbaijan, Baku, March 1 / Trend M.Aliyev /
Azerbaijani Presidential Administration head Ali Hasanov told journalists today that the defense minister takes responsibility for his statement on the inevitability of war.
If Armenia does not free Azerbaijani occupied territories, a war in the South Caucasus is inevitable, Azerbaijani Defense Minister Safar Abiyev said today during a meeting with French Ambassador to Azerbaijan Gabriel Keller. He said diplomats have failed to achieve concrete results for 15 years in negotiations.
"Azerbaijan will not be able to wait 15 more years. Now the war is inevitable and the threat is gradually approaching," Abiyev 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 percent of Azerbaijan since 1992, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and 7 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 the peace negotiations.
Armenia has not yet implemented the U.N. Security Council's four resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh region and the occupied territories.
Hasanov noted that President Ilham Aliyev has repeatedly stated that he considers the potential of negotiations on the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement still viable. Therefore, Azerbaijan continues its efforts in this direction. However the president also repeatedly pointed out that as soon as Azerbaijan feels that the potential for negotiations has been exhausted, the country will take steps to restore its territorial integrity, sovereignty and violated rights through all possible means.
He said the talks on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict are continuing within the Prague process and in accordance with the Madrid principles.
"OSCE MG co-chairs' proposal have submitted to both republics and the sides exchanges views on this. However, the negotiating parties have not provided most information. I do not have more extensive data on what will be the follow-up processes or at what stage is expected to agree these proposals," Hasanov added.
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