Armenia denies Azerbaijani community’s right to return to their historic lands (UPDATE)
Details added (first version posted on 11:16)
Baku, Azerbaijan, Dec.22
Armenia impedes the contacts between the Azerbaijani and Armenian communities of Nagorno-Karabakh, spokesperson of Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry Hikmet Hajiyev told Trend Dec.22.
Thereby, Armenia denies the right of the Azerbaijani community to return to their historic lands, he added.
"Baku has repeatedly said that it is necessary to establish contacts between the Azerbaijani and Armenian communities of Azerbaijan's Nagorno-Karabakh region for taking confidence-building measures," he said emphasizing the importance of these contacts for ensuring co-residence of the communities in the future.
After the de-occupation of Azerbaijan's Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts by Armenia, the two communities will again live together within Azerbaijan's internationally recognized borders, said Hajiyev.
Although earlier, there were a number of projects for creating a dialogue between the two communities, Armenia predicted their positive affect on resolving the conflict and started to hinder their implementation, according to the spokesperson.
Hajiyev noted that the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs, the European Union and other international structures should promote contacts between the Azerbaijani and Armenian communities of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Earlier, the US State Department spokesman John Kirby said that Washington supports "proposals to reduce the risk of violence along the line of contact".
"Our Minsk Group co-chair, ambassador James Warlick, together with his Russian and French counterparts, continue to discuss these - all these measures with both sides", he 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