Azerbaijan says protracted conflicts threaten peace, co-op in Eastern Partnership
Baku, Azerbaijan, May 23
Protracted conflicts pose persisting challenges to the peace and cooperation in the Eastern Partnership, said Elmar Mammadyarov, the minister of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan.
He made the remarks at the 4th Eastern Partnership Summit in Riga, Latvia.
Mammadyarov reminded that the ongoing occupation of the territories of the Republic of Azerbaijan by Armenia is a serious factor of instability in the region.
"Armenia continues to ignore the relevant four UN SC Resolutions through attempts to ignore them. Azerbaijan has aligned itself with OSCE Minsk Group calls to start drafting a Comprehensive Peace Agreement," he said.
Mammadyarov said Armenia evades from any constructive engagement that envisages change of status-quo in the settlement of the conflict.
"In this case, Armenia will continue to bear the entire responsibility for any escalation in the conflict," he said.
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.
Mammadyarov said establishment of peace and stability as well as good neighbourly relations in the region is contingent upon the restoration of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Azerbaijan within its internationally recognized borders. He said Armenian armed forces must withdraw from the territories which do not belong to them. "The expelled Azerbaijani population should be able to exercise their right to return to their places of origin safely and with dignity."