German MP: Withdrawal of Armenian troops from Nagorno-Karabakh long overdue

Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict Materials 31 January 2013 19:31 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, Jan. 31 /Trend, E. Mehdiyev/

"The withdrawal of Armenian troops from Nagorno-Karabakh is long overdue," Bundestag member (CDU/CSU), State Secretary in the Ministry for Environment, Nature Protection and Nuclear Security Katherina Reiche said responding to the European Azerbaijan Society's question on Armenia's illegal plans for Khojaly airport.

The United Nations Security Council has repeatedly demanded this in resolutions, Reiche said.

"Germany and the European Union also agree on this issue. During the so-called presidential elections in Nagorno-Karabakh on July 19th 2012 Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security, declared plainly that the elections were not recognized by the European Union," Reiche said.

She said Germany's position is clear.

"Nagorno-Karabakh is an integral part of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the occupation must end. With the end of occupation new perspectives will arise for the many refugees. We are working closely with Azerbaijan in order to establish stability and security in the South Caucasus," German MP said.

The conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh constitutes the biggest challenge there, she noted. A peaceful resolution would give a positive impetus to the economies and societies of the whole region.

"A peaceful resolution is in the interests of all nations in the region. Cooperation within the international community on the peace process is especially important for Germany. The United Nations, European Union and OSCE have followed the process of search for a peaceful solution for a very long time. Setbacks on the road to peace must be avoided. However, the Armenian Government is doing just the opposite if it plans to reopen Khojaly airport in the occupied region of Nagorno-Karabakh. That would violate the integrity of Azerbaijani airspace," Reiche said.

Earlier, Armenian media reported on the commissioning of the airport in Khojaly in the near future.

Commissioning the airport in Khojaly is an open violation of the Convention on International Civil Aviation [adopted on December 7, 1944 in Chicago], the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry reported earlier.

In this regard, Azerbaijan will strengthen the legal level of the application of the Chicago convention.

Azerbaijan banned the use of the airspace over Nagorno-Karabakh occupied by Armenia, as no one can guarantee a safe air corridor in the area, the head of the Azerbaijani Civil Aviation Administration, Arif Mammadov said earlier.

He said Armenia's steps towards the operation of the airport in Khojaly are attempts to violate international legal norms. This air space belongs to Azerbaijan, so its use by Armenia is illegal.

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the European Civil Aviation Conference (ICAC) also support the position of Azerbaijan on this issue.

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.