Top official: Agreement reached on stage-by-stage settlement of Karabakh conflict (UPDATE 2)
Details added (first version posted on 14:55)
Baku, Azerbaijan, June 22
An agreement on the stage-by-stage settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was reached in St. Petersburg, Novruz Mammadov, deputy head of Azerbaijani presidential administration, chief of the administration's foreign relations department, said in an interview with local TV channels June 22.
St. Petersburg hosted a summit of Azerbaijani, Russian and Armenian presidents, Ilham Aliyev, Vladimir Putin and Serzh Sargsyan with participation of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs June 20.
“During that meeting, the priority was given to the stage-by-stage settlement of the conflict. That’s to say, from now on, it is necessary to act step by step in the settlement process: first, the liberation of Azerbaijan’s five districts, then two more districts and determining the corridor and afterwards, determining the status of Nagorno-Karabakh,” said the top official.
“The parties in principle, reached agreements in this regard,” added Mammadov.
“Such an agreement has been reached for the present,” said the top official.
Mammadov didn’t rule out that as before, Armenia can take provocative steps and refuse from fulfilling its promise.
The top official said that given a very high level of relations between Azerbaijan and Russia, their strategic partnership, good neighborhood relations, shared history, cooperation in cultural, economic, political, security and other spheres and the fact that Russia is one of the co-chairing countries of the OSCE Minsk Group, in terms of possibility and position, this country can play a more decisive role in the fair settlement of the conflict in line with the international law.
“For example, although France and the US are the co-chairing countries of the OSCE Minsk Group, they are relatively far from these processes,” added Mammadov.
Presidents of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia, Vladimir Putin, Ilham Aliyev and Serzh Sargsyan adopted a joint statement following the meeting in St. Petersburg June 20.
Azerbaijani and Armenian presidents confirmed the agreements reached during the Vienna meeting held May 16 on stabilizing the situation in the zone of conflict and creating an atmosphere to push forward the peace process, said the message on the website of Kremlin.
For this purpose, the sides agreed to increase the number of international observers in the zone of 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 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.