Azerbaijani minister: Azerbaijan not to cede its lands
Azerbaijan, Baku, April 8 / Trend T. Hajiyev /
Azerbaijan has made every effort to prepare its armed forces and liberate its lands, Azerbaijani Defense Minister Safar Abiyev said at a meeting with Turkish National Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul during a visit to Turkey, Turkish media reported.
"Azerbaijan will not cede its lands," Abiyev said. "All Azerbaijani territories must be returned. The Armenian armed forces must be withdrawn from Azerbaijani territories."
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 U.S. - are currently holding peace negotiations.
Armenia has not yet implemented the U.N. Security Council's four resolutions on the liberation of Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.