Azerbaijan, Baku, July 15 / Trend S. Agayeva /
Editor's Note: Details added after first paragraph
Azerbaijan has agreed to an OSCE Minsk Group proposal to return the Kalbajar and Lachin regions in the course of five years, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov said at a press conference in Baku today.
The minister said Armenia proposed to return the Kalbajar and Lachin regions in the course of 10 years during Robert Kocharian's presidency. However, Baku insisted on one year.
"Yerevan reduced the term up to seven years under President Serzh Sargsyan during the initial stages of the negotiations, while Azerbaijan has proposed the withdrawal of Armenian troops from the Kalbajar and Lachin regions in the course of three years," the minister said.
He added that the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs propose liberating the two regions over five years. Azerbaijan agreed to the proposal. Azerbaijan's foreign minister stressed that Russia made several proposals to resolve the conflict during the most recent meeting between the Azerbaijani and Armenian presidents in St. Petersburg. The Kalbajar and Lachin regions were also discussed.
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 seven surrounding districts. Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994.
The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group - Russia, France, and the United States - are currently holding the peace negotiations.
Armenia has not yet implemented the U.N. Security Council's resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh region and the occupied territories.