Azerbaijani FM: Nagorno-Karabakh conflict remains major challenge to international security
Ireland, Dublin, Dec. 6 / Trend special correspondent E. Huseynov /
Despite the efforts of the OSCE, Armenia continues to occupy Azerbaijani territories and does not withdraw its troops, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov said at the 19th Meeting of the OSCE Ministerial Council, which opened today in Dublin.
"The negotiations around the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict yield no result and take a long time," he said.
Azerbaijan is interested in rapid continuation of the negotiations for a peaceful settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Mammadyarov said.
Azerbaijan stands for intensifying the OSCE Minsk Group's activity in support of the co-chairmen's work and beginning to develop a comprehensive peace agreement that will lead to gradual settlement of the conflict.
The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict remains a major challenge to the international security, he said. Armenia strengthens the status quo in the Azerbaijani occupied territories and violates the OSCE charter, using the force to maintain control over the occupied territories. Armenia prevents refugees' return home, trying to remove all signs of Azerbaijani culture in the occupied Azerbaijani lands. No cultural sites left in the occupied territories. Armenia also refuses from the internal dialogue and hinders the economic development of the region.
Baku is also concerned about Armenia's attempts to use the opening of the Khojaly airport. This is a provocative step that undermines the process of conflict settlement and aggravates the situation in the region.
Baku believes that there is no alternative for peace in Nagorno-Karabakh process and hopes for the support of the OSCE countries, he 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 per cent 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 the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.