Foreign Ministry: Statement made by OSCE Minsk Group on Nagorno-Karabakh conflict reflects Azerbaijani position (UPDATE)

Foreign Ministry: Statement made by OSCE Minsk Group on Nagorno-Karabakh conflict reflects Azerbaijani position (UPDATE)

Details added (First version was published at 13:22)

Azerbaijan, Baku, 19 June / Trend, S.Ahmadova /

The statement made by the heads of the OSCE Minsk Group on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict reflects the position of Azerbaijan, Azerbaijan's Foreign Ministry spokesman Elman Abdullayev said at a news briefing.

According to him, the position of Azerbaijan is characterized by pragmatism. Azerbaijan has repeatedly stressed the need for a just solution to the conflict that respects the country's territorial integrity. The restoration of justice means the return of the occupied territories and the return of refugees to their homeland, Abdullayev said.

"The presidents of the co-chairing countries rightly pointed out that the use of military force is the cause of instability and conflict. To prevent this, Azerbaijani lands should be returned and the Armenian armed forces must withdraw from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan. Armenia has violated the principle of non-use of force, resulting in the occupation of Azerbaijani lands," the spokesman of the Foreign Ministry said.

Due to Armenia's failure to accept the offers of the co-chairs, the updated Madrid principles, it has become impossible to organize meetings at the highest level, Abdullayev said, commenting on the issue of the failure to hold a meeting of presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia.

Abdullayev said that for the peaceful future of the region, Armenia should abandon its expansionist policies.

"The current policy of Armenia puts the security of the region at risk. Azerbaijan has repeatedly demanded a "road map" styled solution, which was reflected in the negotiations. Unfortunately, Armenia rejected the proposal made by Azerbaijan and the co-chairs, and the main indicator of this is the failure of Armenia for a long-time to accept the updated Madrid principles offered by the co-chairs," he said.

Azerbaijan immediately considered the updated Madrid principles proposed by the co-chairs, and accepted them, Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

"Despite the activities of the co-chairs, the conflict has not yet been resolved. In order to solve the conflict, the Minsk Group co-chairs should exert more pressure over Armenia," he said.

The rights of the Azerbaijani people have been violated, nearly a million people became refugees, and as long as Armenia does not stop its aggressive policy, security of the region will be under threat, Abdullayev said.

The Presidents of France, Russia and the United States have recently issued a joint statement on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, expressing deep regret at the fact that the parties were not able to find a solution of the problem in the course of negotiations.

"We are confident that further delay in reaching a balanced framework agreement leading to a comprehensive peace settlement is unacceptable and urge the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan to focus on the issues that are still open with renewed energy," the document says.

Russia, the U.S. and France have expressed confidence that the statements made by them in this regard in the last four years "should lay the foundation of a just and lasting settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict." According to leaders of the three countries, "these provisions need to be considered as a whole, since any attempt to prefer one of them over the other excludes the possibility of adopting a balanced solution."

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.

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