Azerbaijan FM: Serious political process needed for Karabakh conflict’s settlement
Baku, Azerbaijan, Apr.5
It is necessary to start a serious political process for solving the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, said Azerbaijan's Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov.
He made the remarks Apr. 5 during a phone conversation with the EU High Commissioner Federica Mogherini, according to Azerbaijan's Foreign Ministry.
Mammadyarov and Mogherini discussed the situation along the line of contact between Azerbaijani and Armenian armies.
"Aiming their guns at the civilians living near the line of contact and at the civilian property, Armenian armed forces intensively shell Azerbaijani positions," said FM Mammadyarov.
He noted that a number of civilians were killed and injured as a result of the shelling.
"The main reason for escalation of the situation is the presence of Armenian armed forces on Azerbaijan's occupied lands," added Mammadyarov.
The foreign minister also stressed the necessity of withdrawing the Armenian armed forces from Azerbaijan's occupied lands in the shortest possible time.
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 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.
On the night of April 2, 2016, all the frontier positions of Azerbaijan were subjected to heavy fire from the Armenian side, which used large-caliber weapons, mortars and grenade launchers.
The armed clashes resulted in deaths and injuries among the Azerbaijani population.
Azerbaijan responded with a counter-attack, which led to liberation of several strategic heights and settlements. More than 370 Armenian soldiers, 12 tanks, 12 armored vehicles and 15 artillery guns have been destroyed from April 2 until today.
Military operations were stopped on the line of contact between Azerbaijani and Armenian armies on Apr. 5 at 12:00 (UTC/GMT + 4 hours) with the consent of the sides, Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry earlier said.
The ministry added that Azerbaijan's armed units are now carrying out fortification work in the retaken areas.