NATO hopes for Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement
Azerbaijan, Baku, June 7 / Trend, E. Tariverdiyeva /
NATO hopes that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement will soon be settled and intends to strengthen its relations with the countries of the South Caucasus, NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs James Appathurai said during a teleconference Pyatigorsk - Brussels, ITAR-TASS reported.
"Azerbaijan and Armenia are very important area for us and Russia," he said. "These countries want to have good relations with Russia and NATO, especially concerning the peacekeeping activity. We do not see any competition with Russia in peacekeeping activity."
He added that Azerbaijan is more independent from Russia in its foreign policy and we have an extensive program of cooperation.
"This is a clearance of former fields of fighting, energy cooperation," he said. "I think we can do more."
"NATO is interested in the rapid settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict," Appathurai said. The alliance stressed that one must not underestimate the danger of leaving such latent conflicts for a long time and experience shows that this does not lead to anything good.
"If one leaves this situation, the population will disintegrate and continue to be at odds," he said. The tension increases, then decreases. We call this dangerous situation as the "frozen conflicts".
He added that such conflicts have serious consequences for the neighboring countries, in this case, for Russia and Europe.
"These conflicts negatively affect the energy sector, so this problem requires very careful attention of the world community," he said.
The international conference "New challenges to regional security" opened at the State Linguistic University in Pyatigorsk today.
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 comprising 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.