Baku, Azerbaijan, May 6
By Anakhanum Idayatova - Trend:
As an OSCE Minsk Group co-chair country, the US position remains that the sides of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict should strictly adhere to the ceasefire and engage immediately in negotiations to reach a comprehensive peaceful settlement, the OSCE Minsk Group's US co-chair James Warlick told Trend May 6.
"There is no military settlement to this conflict," 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 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.
Commenting on the statements of some Armenian officials that Yerevan has a nuclear weapon, Warlick said that as the US President Barack Obama and other leaders reaffirmed at this year's Nuclear Security Summit, securing nuclear and radioactive material is an essential element in preventing nuclear terrorism.
Earlier, Armenia's former prime minister, MP Hrant Bagratyan said during a press conference that Armenia has a nuclear weapon. Asked by journalists to clarify his remarks, Bagratyan said Armenia has an opportunity to create a nuclear weapon.
There have also been several reports about the arrests of Armenians in Georgia, who crossed into that country to sell nuclear materials there. Earlier, the Huffington Post reported that the arrests of most of the Armenians have been in sting operations in Georgia, where undercover officers posed as buyers from Islamic extremist groups.
"We are aware of the recent arrests that reportedly took place in Georgia," Warlick said commenting on the issue. "The United States partners with key countries around the world to strengthen capabilities to prevent, detect, and respond to incidents of nuclear smuggling."
It should be noted that Armenia has a nuclear power plant, Metsamor, built in 1970.
The power plant was closed after a devastating earthquake in Spitak in 1988. But despite the international protests, the power plant's operation was resumed in 1995.
Moreover, a second reactor was launched there.
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