Baku, Azerbaijan, March 23
By Aygun Badalova - Trend:
Azerbaijan is committed to the negotiation process to solve out Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, based on the principles of international law and particularly within the territorial integrity, sovereignty and internationally recognized borders of Azerbaijan, Hikmet Hajiyev, the head of the press service of Azerbaijan's Foreign Ministry, told Trend.
He made the remarks during 'This Week in Focus' program episode.
The official said that the negotiations have been going on for over 20 years, adding that Azerbaijan declared at a meeting of the UN General Assembly that it is engaged in this process, but bears in mind its right under the UN Charter's Article 51 - the right for individual or collective self-defense.
"We still consider that the opportunities for the peaceful resolution of the conflict are not exhausted," Hajiyev said.
He added that Armenia, which is experiencing political, economic, demographic and other kinds of crises, should think about its future.
"And they should think about their future in the isolated situation having the problems and claims with almost all their neighbors," Hajiyev stressed.
The ministry's spokesman said Azerbaijan continues to support the opinion that all the members of the OSCE Minsk Group should contribute to the negotiation process and take and an active part in it.
He said that the issue is not about changing the format of the Minsk Group, however, within the existing format, the co-chairs should double their efforts to push forward and particularly to implement the agreements and arrangements that the sides already have in the negotiation process.
Hajiyev also said the most important and key element is now the comprehensive peace agreement, adding that Azerbaijan started to establish a working group on different aspects of the peace agreement.
But another matter, as Hajiyev said, is that Armenia tries to conduct a destructive policy in the negotiation process.
Therefore, he said, the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs should bring the message to Armenia about the necessity of its taking a constructive stance in negotiations.
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 four UN Security Council resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.
Aygun Badalova is Trend Agency's staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @AygunBadalova