Strategic Studies Center: Azerbaijan supports peace talks, but does not rule out military action
Azerbaijan, Baku, Dec. 18 / Trend, E. Mehdiyev /
A war between Azerbaijan and Armenia can begin at any time, Farhad Mammadov, director of the Center for Strategic Studies under the Azerbaijani President said today.
There is no third party between the belligerents; this ripens conditions for war, he said.
He stressed that Azerbaijani officials stated that Armenia artificially delays negotiations. This time, upcoming presidential elections in Armenia are the excuse.
"Azerbaijan initiated the peace treaty," he added. "Azerbaijan is interested in the peace process and negotiations, but by no means has it taken the military option off of the table.
"This is Azerbaijan's fair right, an attempt was made to change Azerbaijan's borders by force," he said. "In this situation, every sovereign country has a right to its own defense."
He stressed that Azerbaijan does not find excuses for delaying negotiations on Nagorno-Karabakh such as the upcoming 2013 presidential elections because the Azerbaijani people and authorities share common ground in the pursuit to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh problem.
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 regarding the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.