Details added (first version posted on 13:16)
Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 16
By Aygun Badalova - Trend:
NATO supports the OSCE Minsk Group's efforts in resolving the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the NATO Secretary General's Special Representative for the South Caucasus and Central Asia James Appathurai told reporters in Baku Feb.16
"We are not directly involved in the process of resolving [the conflict]. But our position is that we support Minsk Group efforts and the peaceful resolution to this conflict," he added.
He said the alliance is concerned about the deterioration of the situation on the contact line of Armenian and Azerbaijani armies.
The special representative said NATO encourages the conflicting parties to work towards a peaceful resolution of the conflict.
"We have two members of Minsk Group that are NATO allies," he said, adding that the official position of the allies is to support the Minsk Group and a peaceful resolution to this conflict.
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 withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.