Armenian leadership makes illogical statements, Azerbaijani FM says (UPDATE)
details added (first version posted at 18:43)
Baku, Azerbaijan, April 26
The Armenian leadership's statements are illogical, said Elmar Mammadyarov, Azerbaijani foreign minister.
"On the one hand, the Armenian leadership says that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict can be resolved only peacefully," the minister said. "On the other hand, the Armenian leadership states about leaving the negotiation process."
"Does Armenia choose the military way of the conflict settlement? Mammadyarov said. "It is impossible to understand the logic of the Armenian leadership."
"Azerbaijan has repeatedly stated that the main threat to the region and the negotiation process is the presence of the Armenian armed forces in the occupied Azerbaijani territories," the minister said. "The military must return to barracks, otherwise, a military confrontation may occur at any time."
The minister said that it is necessary to exclude the military element from the conflict settlement process.
"First of all, the Armenian armed forces must be withdrawn from the occupied Azerbaijani territories," the minister said. "Afterwards, peacekeepers can be deployed in the area of the conflict."
"The communications can be opened," the minister said. "The refugees and displaced people can return to their native lands. The confidence-building measures will be taken."
"The negotiations must be continued on the basis of the updated Madrid principles declared by the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs on the level of heads of state at the summits in L'Aquila (Italy) and Muskoka (Canada)," the minister said.
"The first paragraph of the updated Madrid principles envisages the withdrawal of the Armenian armed forces from the occupied Azerbaijani territories," the minister said. "If Armenia is truly interested in resolving the conflict, it should withdraw its troops from the occupied Azerbaijani territories and comprehensive negotiations on the conflict settlement must be initiated."
"The meetings are not planned to be held at the level of foreign ministers," the minister said. "The meetings will be held with the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmen."
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.