Karabakh conflict threatens whole region – UK minister (UPDATE)
Details added below second paragraph (first version posted on 15:55)
Baku, Azerbaijan, Nov.5
Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is a threat to the whole region, UK State Minister for Europe David Lidington said on Nov.5.
He made the remarks at a press conference following the negotiations with Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov in Baku.
"UK is considering the ways out of the situation and thinks over how it can contribute to the conflict's solution," Lidington said. "We can neither dictate nor order the parties how to resolve the problem, but we can contribute to the conflict settlement with various proposals and initiatives."
UK minister said the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is a priority for the international organizations, adding that this should motivate Azerbaijan and Armenia to resolve the conflict.
Lidington said it would be better to start the process of definitive settlement of the conflict as soon as possible.
"Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was the main issue discussed during my negotiations in Baku and in the region. The conflict has lasted for over 20 years and it is a human tragedy," he said." I met with refugees and IDPs in Azerbaijan. Living under such conditions is inadmissible."
Azerbaijan's foreign minister, for his part, said he discussed the situation in the region with his UK counterpart.
"The UK minister showed special interest in the process of settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. I briefed him about Azerbaijan's position: the withdrawal of Armenian armed forces from Azerbaijan's occupied territories is necessary for restoring peace in the whole region," Mammadyarov added.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.
The two countries signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Russia, France and the US are currently holding peace negotiations.
Armenia has not yet implemented the UN Security Council's four resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.
Edited by SI