FM: Azerbaijan stands ready to use any means to return territories

FM: Azerbaijan stands ready to use any means to return territories

Azerbaijan, Baku, 4 January /Trend, E.Tariverdiyeva /

Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is the biggest problem of Azerbaijan, said Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov. "Almost 20 percent of our territories have been occupied by Armenia, and in 1992, the Armenian armed forces killed all population of Khojali town. We have worked hard to inform the world community about this and present the issue to the UN General Assembly," Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov said in an interview with Mexican newspaper The News.

The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Armenian armed forces 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 with the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, comprising Russia, France, and the U.S., currently engaged in peace negotiations.

Armenia has yet to implement the U.N. Security Council's 4 resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding regions.

According to Mammadyarov, sometimes there is a problem of double standards in global politics and that is unfair.

"To make your voice heard, you must be a strong country and that is why we are working on strengthening the role of the international community in addressing the problem through our embassies and through the media outlets," the minister said.

"Our number one agenda is to inform the international community about our situation regarding Armenian occupation," the minister said.

"Unfortunately, the international com­munity - and in particular, the United Stat­ed, Russia and France as three major powers that are mediating the peace process and the withdrawal of Armenian troops - are not put­ting very much pressure on Armenia. So we must intensify our negotiations," said the minister.

"Yes, to some extent, we already have the so-called roadmap of principles for the nego­tiation process. And after all this negotiation, Azerbaijan announced that we are ready to start working on a peace agreement," Mammadyarov said.

But at the very last moment, the President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan took an unconstructive position in the talks, Mammadyarov said.

"In the end, it is a question of time, of course I am absolutely certain of that look­ing at the issue from a long-term perspec­tive, I am absolutely sure that Armenia will eventually return our territories because it is a matter of international law. From the point of view of all international treaties, includ­ing the United Nations charter, justice is total­ly on our side," he said.

Azerbaijan is trying now to show the Armenians that time is not working in their favor, because while they are wasting their effort on a futile battle to hold on to ter­ritory that is not theirs, they are wasting away their own future.

"I am my government's foreign minister, and as such, I will always prefer a diplomat­ic solution. We will try to use diplomatic means to re­solve this issue. I do not think that we have yet exhausted all diplomatic options on this issue," the minister said.

However, if military means are used against Azerbaijan - and they already have been - the solution may then be military, Mammadyarov said.

"If diplomatic options should fail, then, yes, we are prepared to use whatever means it takes to reclaim our territory," he concluded.

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