Baku, Azerbaijan, May 12
There is no military solution to the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, James Appathurai, the NATO secretary general's special representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia, said May 12 in an interview with Azernews.
"I hope that the political process will yield results," he said, adding that NATO has no direct role in the political process to find a peaceful settlement of the conflict.
"Instead we support the Minsk process," said Appathurai. "At the same time, we are concerned about the deterioration of the situation on the ground."
He added that the NATO framework can only play a supplementary role, but allows for contacts between politicians, diplomats and military from Azerbaijan and Armenia in the margins of multilateral meetings.
Appathurai also expressed hope that such contacts can have a positive impact, saying he was pleased to see the presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia meet in the margins of last year's NATO Summit in Wales.
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.