Details added (first version posted at 11:34)
Baku, Azerbaijan, May 19
By Seba Aghayeva – Trend:
The OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs must in the first place follow the updated Madrid principles they prepared, and demand that Armenia withdraws troops from the Azerbaijani territories it occupied, Hikmat Hajiyev, spokesman of Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry, said May 19 commenting on the recent OSCE Minsk Group statement.
The OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs must also urge Armenia to continue substantive negotiations to find a political solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict based on the UN Security Council’s resolutions, Hajiyev told Trend.
On the day of the 25th anniversary of Armenia’s occupation of the Azerbaijani Lachin district, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan made a speech in the Armenian parliament, where he refuted the updated Madrid principles, Hajiyev said.
Against this background, the standard statement of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs, only touching upon the issues of violation of the ceasefire regime, is very symptomatic, he added.
About 80,000 people of the Lachin district, as well as residents of other occupied Azerbaijani territories, have been living for over 25 years as refugees and IDPs. The fact that the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs didn't mention this in their statement is an unfair and biased approach, said Hajiyev.
The authors of the statement, which contains concern regarding the ceasefire violation, once again turn a blind eye to the illegal presence of the Armenian armed forces’ military equipment and personnel on the sovereign territory of Azerbaijan, he added.
Hajiyev said that the presence of the Armenian armed forces in the occupied Azerbaijani lands is the main reason why escalation and ceasefire violations remain, and everyone knows this.
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.