Baku, Azerbaijan, May 26
Azerbaijan is ready for comprehensive and substantive talks on resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Hikmet Hajiyev, spokesman for Azerbaijan's Foreign Ministry, told Trend May 26.
Azerbaijan's Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov is expected to meet with the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs in late May, he added.
"Armenia's foreign minister is again distorting the essence of the [May 16] Vienna meeting. The time is over for wordplays," said Hajiyev. "The proposals put forward as a result of the Vienna meeting are interrelated."
"The purpose of the ceasefire regime is to create grounds for the start of comprehensive and substantive talks," said the spokesperson. "The main part of the comprehensive political settlement to the conflict is changing the inadmissible and inconsistent status quo and withdrawal of Armenian armed forces from the occupied Azerbaijani lands."
Hajiyev noted that if Armenia wants a ceasefire regime, it is necessary to put an end to the occupation of Azerbaijani lands and to the presence of Armenian troops on Azerbaijani territories.
"The basic principles of resolving the conflict have long been known. Armenia's foreign minister should make his people ready for peace and provide accurate information about the process of the conflict's settlement," he said. "Unfortunately, we see the opposite in reality."
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.